Autumn is my favorite season. For many, it is a time of pumpkin spice lattes, warm apple pie, getting cozy on the coach, and prepping for the holiday season ahead. However, I love how the air gets cooler and crisper; that time seems to settle, almost pause for a second, as summer is unwinding and the holidays are still a skip away; and how the scenery around is transformed into a beautiful array of colors and shapes.
Life is busy. No matter who you are or what stage you are in life. We are always on the go. There never seems to be enough time in the day and our to-do lists never get shorter. But that is why I LOVE autumn. Autumn brings me back and reminds me of mindfulness.
Mindfulness means having awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. Mindfulness means we are in tuned to our own thoughts and feelings, and we accept them without judgment or trying to analyze them. We are in the moment and ‘just being’.
It is like when I am walking my dog and notice how my Nike crunches the pale brownish green leaf against the sidewalk and the evening breeze brushes my hair against my forehead. I am not concerned about the traffic or the cars honking, but that leaf- it’s sound and how it feels as my Nike lifts from the ground and back down again and how the wind feels across my face causing a slight chill to radiate down my neck. How the air smells damp and dewy and my nose feels like it is turning a soft pinkish red color and my fingertips become slightly numb. This is only a small & brief example, but with practicing mindfulness, being in the here and now, no matter how tiny it seems, can have great results.
Mindfulness has shown to improve physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. Mindfulness can improve concentration, reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, help with sleep, and relieve physical ailments. Mindfulness is very impactful and can do more than that caffeine fix after lunch or television at 2 am when it’s difficult to stay awake. Mindfulness can be an intervention or a way of life. It does not take long to do or practice and only requires a few minutes a day to reap the benefits.
Mindfulness takes practice, but once you get used to it, it gets easier and easier. Autumn is a great time to start practicing mindfulness because it reminds me how beautiful this world is and how much there is to appreciate. Its a time to take in all the beauty- in the world that surrounds us and in ourselves. I feel I sometimes take for granted all that is available to me or all that I have accomplished and that the negative and stress of life outweigh the positive, and then autumn comes around; it reminds me to be mindful; and being mindful centers me and brings me back.