G.R.E.A.T D.R.E.A.M – Awareness
The very definition of the word awareness is to have ‘knowledge or perception of a situation or fact’. To be aware of one’s situation requires one to be present, obviously, but being present is more than being physically situated somewhere. Awareness, at any given moment, is to be cognisant of your physical surrounds (buildings, bush, mountains, ocean, etc.), to be perceptive to the sensory information coming from those surrounds (cool air, hot sun, noise, etc.), to be conscious of your thoughts and emotions as a result of those surrounds in the precise moment in which they occur. This might seem obvious and you might take it for granted that you are present all of the time but you might be very surprised by how much of what is around you at any given moment that you don’t notice.
Being aware, or mindful as it’s more commonly referred to, is not a natural state for most of us running on the work/life wheel. Whilst our lives may be productive, running at break-neck speed most of the time has counter-productive ramifications for health, both physical and mental, and is the reason why health authorities loudly extoll the benefits of mindfulness to all. The very act of becoming more aware, of being mindful, demands that we slow down and take stock of where we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking and how we are feeling in any given moment. If you’re thinking ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’ then perhaps the following list of the numerous benefits of this simple but effective exercise might change your mind: mindfulness relieves stress which positively impacts blood pressure, sleep quality, heart health, immunity, and perception of physical pain but, more importantly, it helps us to appreciate what we have in life. A heightened sense of awareness means we are more ‘tuned in’ to what makes us happy, who makes us happy and what it is that brings us a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. So next time you rush into your local NU café to grab a coffee or a shake on the run, rather than mindlessly scrolling through your emails or Facebook on your phone, look up and take in your surroundings, you might be surprised by what you become aware of that you had never noticed until now.
Until next time, always remember true wealth is your own health.