Using mindfulness to save your life Dr Matt McQuaid Lake Port Podiatrist

Today I will revisit an important topic discussed in prior articles. The subject is mindfulness and its practice can change your life. Mindfulness is a tool you can use to improve your health. Practicing mindfulness is a proven way to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. You watch and observe what is happening in the present moment without any commentary. You try to see what is happening as neutral, not good or bad.

Mindfulness is something that is lacking in our current society. In my recent experience I have become aware of how distracted people are by technology. I was flying out of the airport in Los Angeles and I could not help but notice how many people were using their smart phones. It was very crowded, but no one was interacting.

If I smiled at someone they looked at me as if I was a fool and instantly went back to looking at their phone. No one at the airport was paying attention to one another or the present moment, all distracted by technology. I silently wondered to myself before I boarded the plane, “I sure hope the pilot of this plane doesn’t text and fly”.

Being unmindful can bring unintended consequences. I was driving on Highway 29 to Middletown a few weeks ago when the car in front of me stopped to make a left turn. I looked in my rearview mirror and I saw a truck speeding behind me, the driver was texting and unaware of the stopped traffic.

Luckily, I had fortunately seen this in time to maneuver around the car in front of me. The driver texting finally realized what was going on and did the same as me. Had I not been mindful to look in the rearview mirror I would have been rear-ended.

I have seen recent news headlines which are sad stories for those distracted by technology. A young woman working at a zoo whose job it was to clean the Lion’s den had an unfortunate day. The lion was put into a feeding cell adjacent to his den. The gate to secure him did not fully close and the woman attendant entered his den to clean up.

She did not double check to make sure the gate to the feeding cell was secure. She turned her back to the lion to begin cleaning and then got on her cell phone (No kidding). The lion lifted the gate came up behind her and with one swat across her head, broke her neck. All the while she was unaware and talking on her cell phone. Maybe just a little focus on the present moment could have saved her life.

So what can we do to improve our attention? Practice mindfulness. Here is a simple exercise you can do to experience the simplicity of mindfulness. The next time you take a shower, pay attention to all that is happening. Notice the sensations of the water. Smell the soap and shampoo. Look at the bubbles. Feel the cool tile floor under your feet.

Next, notice how your mind wanders off while you are in the shower. For instance, I will notice if I’m not careful to be mindful, that I start to have thoughts about work. In my mind, I may be having an argument at work before I’m even out of the shower. So if your mind does this too, which it likely will, just be aware of it. It is not good, it is not bad. It is just what the mind does. The remedy is simply to bring your mind back to the shower. You will likely find this to be one of the best showers you have ever taken. Thank goodness we can’t use cell phones in the shower.

Mindfulness is about smelling the roses in your life. Practicing mindfulness will keep you from being distracted by technology so you can enjoy what is happening right here, right now. On mindfulness T.S. Eliot wrote, “A condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything”.

Matthew McQuaid, DPM is a board certified foot surgeon practicing in Lakeport. He has a particular interest in Mind/Body medicine and its impact on healing. He is an award winning author and teacher. Please share this article with a friend. For more information please call 707-263-3727 and visit www.drmcquaid.com

 

 

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