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an exercise in mindfullness…

i ran exactly the amount my body told me to this weekend: zero. with the extra time on my hands i went to barnes & noble and found a neat book, which i bought: the wellness book. i love both the content and the format. it teaches you the concept of behavioral medicine, or mind/body connection, through simple explanations enriched with guided activities and personal stories. the workbook format provides structure, a way to keep track of your progress, enhanced ability to focus, and a sense of closure at the end of each chapter. so i decided to try a few exercises from the book, and chose to elicit the relaxation response during my run. i left the ipod at home. i wore my most comfortable running gear. while running i kept my focus on my breathing pattern, which is naturally three in/three out. i tried to maintain this focus throughout the whole run, while at the same time being strongly aware of my surroundings, the smells, sights, sounds, and simple things i don’t usually pay attention to while running. i kept myself in the present, bringing my mind back to the moment when it started to drift into the past or the future. i felt very relaxed and energetic after the run. it won’t be an everyday thing, as it takes a considerable effort to keep my mind from wandering. but i enjoyed the experience. next time i do it i’ll leave the watch home as well.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Darrell September 12, 2006, 7:20 pm

    “i ran exactly the amount my body told me to this weekend: zero.”

    I love that you were able to do this. It’s pretty much killing me mentally to not stick to my pre-arranged schedule. Good for you.

  • ~nattie~ September 13, 2006, 7:57 am

    trust me, this wan’t easy mentally for me, either. like you, i tend to feel like i’ve failed when i don’t stick to my schedule. it happens almost every week, though…

  • Robb September 13, 2006, 12:45 pm

    I wonder about this sometimes. I think if I listened to my body I wouldn’t run at all because I’m a natural slouch! I guess it is like anything we do or strive to become – we need to find a sense of balance through effort. I think there is real value in focusing as you did.

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