Mindfulness Resources from Benefits Providers
mind·ful·ness | \ ˈmīn(d)-fəl-nəs \
1: the quality or state of being mindful
2: the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one's thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis
also : such a state of awareness
Mindfulness can change your life. Though the word is often associated to meditation and spirituality, the practice of being mindful can be used by anyone, anywhere and need not be tied to any type of worship practice.
When you make an effort to become more consciously aware of your thoughts, actions, and how you relate to your environment, you put yourself in a state of proactive action instead of reaction. Mindfulness is simply paying attention, and as you evolve as an individual, your awareness practices can evolve with you. Though paying attention may seem easy, in a fast-paced world with increasing levels of distraction, it often isn't. Our thoughts regularly wander away from our present moments, actions, and locations.
In a study where participants were asked to observe their thoughts while doing activities ranging from walking and eating to shopping and watching television, subjects reported that their minds wandered 46.9 percent of the time. This study reflects that for nearly half of our lives, we are typically not paying attention to what we are doing. The study also concluded that mind-wandering generally makes a person unhappy. Not paying attention to our present moment can also affect a number of aspects in our lives beyond happiness, including our relationships, safety and productivity.
This is where a mindfulness practice comes in.
Though meditation is often associated with mindfulness, mindfulness is a choice we make throughout our daily lives, not only in the act of meditation. Though a meditation practice can help facilitate mindfulness, it is not a necessary component to living mindfully. Being mindful can mean taking a moment to pause and observe your surroundings without judgment or emotions attached. Being mindful can mean walking consciously and intentionally feeling your body move. It can mean truly listening while someone else is speaking and not attempting to formulate your response until the person is finished speaking. The more a person practices mindfulness, the easier it becomes.
Mindfulness can take a number of forms, and the benefits are broad. Practicing mindfulness regularly can help you:
- reduce stress
- improve relationships
- support greater overall health
- increase your ability to focus
Pacific University has a number of resources available for employees who would like to incorporate mindfulness into their lives or strengthen an existing practice. In addition to the listings here, employees can also access the free, confidential WholeLife Directions app, an on-the-go wellness tool with resources based on mindfulness practices and cognitive behavioral therapy.