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The power of mindfulness

Rachel Lightner greeting a sunrise at Lake Aloha

McKenna Bean

Rachel Lightner greeting a sunrise at Lake Aloha

Rachel Lightner, Opinion Editor

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Experiencing life in the present moment can be more difficult than it seems. Our minds tend to wander without restraint towards thoughts of the past and the future, and sometimes irrelevant speculations, like what we’re having for lunch or what might be on our final test. To be constantly aware in the present moment is hard, but it can be obtained through the practice of mindfulness. For Senior Justine Nelson, mindfulness is essential for her well-being, so much so that she revolved her senior project around the concept and brought it to Sierra Nevada College’s Campus through a mindful meditation and movie night.

“Mindfulness to me is conscious awareness of the moment and integrating ever part of yourself into that moment and allowing yourself to be,” said Nelson. “It’s an important integration because it allows you to live in the flow of life and allow yourself to genuinely participate without having the pain of the past or the anxiety of the future and fully allow yourself to live the life you want to live.”

According to EcoWatch, mindfulness is commonly defined as, “Paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Nelson has been conducting research on the topic of mindfulness for her senior project, and she has discovered benefits such as it can reduce stress and anxiety while increasing positive states of mind and self-compassion. Getting your mind to be in the state can be different for everyone, but the most important element of the practice is your breath.

“The best thing you can do when you feel stressed, when you don’t feel like you’re in your body, when you’re not feeling grounded, bring yourself back to your breath,” said Nelson.

Focusing on what makes you happy and feel passion is another way to trigger mindfulness. This can be different for anyone, whether it be skiing, dancing, reading or any given activity.

“Mindfulness to me, means to be here and now,” said Director of Outdoor Leadership Rosie Hackett. “Being present. Aware. All my senses ignited, and ultimately total freedom when you have that awareness.” For Hackett, her key to becoming mindful is getting outside, as for many students at SNC.

“Mindfulness for me is being fully connected to myself and aware of my body and my consciousness,” said Senior Alyx Levine. “I obtain that through rock climbing, being outdoors, playing music, and going to live concerts.”

So with finals approaching and the semester coming to an end, remember to breath and stay mindful. “The biggest thing about mindfulness is to constantly remind yourself

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