An ode to mindfulness.

I spent this last weekend doing something really amazing. The majority of last Thursday was a mess- I was wrought with unexplained pain from headaches, and I truly wasn’t looking forward to the program my mother forced me to go to. In all honesty, I would have been happy sleeping through the entire weekend, occasionally checking my laptop for notifications, but I’m really glad I did this.

So what is this? It’s not action sports, or a really cool seminar on Machine Learning. It was a mindfulness course. I know that you’re thinking “she’s crazy, this is another religious thing,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When it comes to meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and spirituality, I’m the first one to be skeptical- how could that possibly affect my health or outlook on life? The truth of the matter is that mindfulness can affect you in the most surprising ways.

The course I took focused on how to handle daily situations, being respectful to others and yourself, and how to express appreciation and gratitude. These are skills that ideally we would have learned to incorporate into our lives much earlier, but I’m part of the large subset of people that generally overlooks these attributes of my life. Our instructors walked us through games that taught us the value of morals, meditation sessions, breathing techniques and many more activities, most of which were incredibly powerful.

In an idealized environment where we meet other people and become friends, it’s easy to reason about the value of morals and how to address responsibilities and personal growth, but I noticed a significant change in my mood and general expression the next day. I walked through campus with a smile, I reached out to people I hadn’t spoken to in a while, and I even cleaned my room (something that doesn’t happen regularly). This course reinstated a lot of my faith in humanity, which sounds extreme, but is accurate. It’s all because of a change in my perspective.

And it’s been only a couple days since I learned these techniques. I’m not one to endorse many things in relation to mindfulness, but this course is definitely one to take. It changes the way you think about a lot of aspects of your life, but I’m not going to tell you much more — you should experience it yourself.