In last week’s blog we discussed the importance of service to others as a part of your journey toward medical school and a career in healthcare. In order to be effective at serving others, we need to be intentionally aware of ourselves and engaged with others in the present moment. This is called mindfulness.
Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about mindfulness, what that means, how it can benefit us and others, and the importance of eliminating distraction from our daily lives. I will end this series with a challenge…one that will indeed test your ability to focus and engage with what is happening immediately around you.
Defining the Term
But first, mindfulness. What does that mean? Let’s define it this way:
“The intentional awareness of yourself and engagement with your surroundings in the present moment to build meaning from your experiences enabling you to grow personally and impact other positively.”
Being mindful, in part, is about paying attention (or tuning into) by reducing distractions. It means focusing on yourself (how you are feeling, for example) and noticing others (what they are saying or how they are representing their emotions). It is all about purposeful participation in what is happening in the here and now. Not the past. Not the future. But right now.
Avoid the “Zone Out”
How often do our minds wander when walking across campus or even driving home from work (which is horrifying)? It happens all the time, really. We are texting or listening to music. We are worrying about that biochemistry exam next week. Or maybe we are lamenting an argument we had with our roommate yesterday. And in doing so, we miss out on what is happening in the present…right in front of us.
So, let’s try this week to make a concerted effort to “zone in.” To intentionally engage with ourselves and our environment. To notice the people we pass in the hallway or that we sit next to in class. To engage with them in meaningful ways. That’s where impact can occur!
The challenge for this week is to ZONE IN TO THE HERE AND NOW!