Breathe In. Reflect. Breathe Out.

“BREATHE”

Often times, I receive multiple reminders throughout the day to breathe. Not from other people observing my breathing patterns, obviously, but from my smart-watch which tracks my daily activity, pulse, and breathing patterns. Ironically, I normally receive these notifications when I am in deep-thoughts and actually forget to breathe. Before reading and taking notes over our article of the week, I wouldn’t have considered myself ‘mindful’ in the good sense – more so an ‘overthinker.’ I am constantly observing and thinking to myself, often times contemplating my next move, or the consequences of my actions and how they’ll affect my future. After reading the ‘Mindfulness and Sustainability’ article, my overall definition of mindfulness remained the same, yet it added another layer into the equation. As cleanliness is next to Godliness in religion – mindfulness is attributed with the overall awareness and well-being of a person in sustainability.

In the ‘Mindfulness and Sustainability’ reading article, the author describes mindfulness as being aware of not only your inner thoughts and emotions, but as well as being interconnected with your surrounding environment without “shying away from situations that make us uncomfortable.” During the reading, I could not help but to think of an image used in our lecture of a man walking his dog through a tree line. In the man’s thought-bubble, it’s obvious that he is “mind full” as he is thinking of multiple problems and his emotions, which do not look too pleasant. On the other hand, his dog is considered “mindful” as it is thinking of its surrounding environment with a bright sun shining in the sky and healthy trees they will approach in the distance. In a way, I relate with both sides of the image. As mentioned before, I am an overthinker who overthinks overthinking. I relate more with the man, constantly thinking about meaningless problems that seem bigger than what they actually are. By training myself to think more mindfully and to breathe through my thoughts – almost like a meditation – I feel as though I would be able to develop a more mindful mindset.

Furthermore, Mark Cohen’s TedTalk exemplified the similarities and connections between mindfulness and wellness. During Cohen’s presentation, he preaches that there are always positive and negative situations throughout life that cause corresponding thoughts, but one must learn to be at peace with these personal interactions. I feel that these “negative” situations correlate to your internal thoughts about the external world. These concepts don’t only apply to environmental sustainability, but to our everyday, personal lives as well. Cohen expresses his concept of personal well-being as a harmonious relationship between the inside and outside world in order to fulfill the idea of a “positive” well-being. To relate this back to the personal examples I provided previously, if I am able to alter my “mindfull-ness” to become “mindful” then I feel as though my outlook on the external world would fulfill my hope for a more sustainable, healthier environment, rather than constantly focusing on the negatives.

Finally, the Wildest Thing Activity we conducted during lecture broadened my outlook on solutions to the wicked problems at hand. Ironically, the topic I’ve chosen to research for my investigative report was a problem listed on one of the pages being passed around. Some ideas sparked my interest, and others made me realize that not all people look at sustainability as a serious matter. After thinking about how fitting Activity Two and the Wildest Thing activity go hand-in-hand, I have decided to further my research on deforestation and how the interior design industry could have a significant role in mitigating this wicked problem. Ideas such as proper production waste-management, developing green buildings, utilizing recyclable materials, etc. were all ideas proposed during this activity, which stemmed from a group of people brainstorming different creative solutions to these problems. Now, if I am able to implement this broadened mindset as a singular person, I feel as though conducting my investigative report will proceed smoothly and may even allow me to better understand sustainable practices to implement in my future career as an interior designer.

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