Oscar’s track: Remember to be mindful

Community Columnist

Last weekend, I had plans to meet with friends for a short hike. Unfortunately I missed the group because I was at the wrong trail head, so I went for a walk by myself.

On that walk, I found myself acutely aware of my thoughts, the sights, sounds and scents around me and how my body was feeling.

Afterward, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated.

I decided to look for articles on being mindful of the present moment, and I found this one on the National Institutes of Health website. I’d like to share it with you today:

Mindfulness Matters: Can Living in the Moment Improve Your Health?

At some point in your life, someone probably told you: “Enjoy every moment. Life is short.”

Maybe you’ve smiled and rolled your eyes at this well-intentioned relative or co-worker. But the fact is, there’s something to it. Trying to enjoy each moment may actually be good for your health.

The idea is called mindfulness. This ancient practice is about being completely aware of what’s happening in the present — of all that’s going on inside and all that’s happening around you. It means not living your life on autopilot. Instead, you experience life as it unfolds moment to moment, good and bad, and without judgment or preconceived notions.

“Many of us go through our lives without really being present in the moment,” said Dr. Margaret Chesney of the University of California, San Francisco She’s studying how mindfulness affects health. “What is valuable about mindfulness is that it is accessible and can be helpful to many people.”

Studies suggest that mindfulness practices may help people manage stress, cope better with serious illness and reduce anxiety and depression. Many people who practice mindfulness report an increased ability to relax, a greater enthusiasm for life and improved self-esteem.

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