Mind-full or Mindful?

Whenever I hear the word “mindfulness”, I immediately think about self-awareness. Being mindful, to me, means that you consciously aware of yourself and are focusing on the present instead of the future. I believe that living in the present can help us take more sustainable actions in our daily lives. Instead of gathering a hoard for the future, we should be focusing on the present. Being a student in college, sometimes it can seem as though the days are just flying by and it can feel like I don’t have very much control. But after this week’s reading, “Mindfulness and Sustainability”, I have learned many new techniques on how to take a moment and find myself. 

One of the new techniques that I have implemented in the past week is mindful meditation. Meditation is mentioned in both the reading “Mindfulness and Sustainability” and the Ted Talk “Wellness, Mindfulness, and Sustainability” by Marc Cohen. While I had heard the benefits of meditation before, I had never taken them seriously. However, with having a stressful week last week, I decided to finally give it a shot. I sat upright on my couch and focused on clearing my mind and on the rhythm of my breathing. After a few minutes I felt my body relax, and it was much easier to focus on my homework. When I started to feel stressed out again, I found myself taking a moment to myself and just focus on my breathing. Nearly instantly, most of my stress melted away. 

I originally didn’t really understand Marc Cohen‘s TED talk on “Wellness, mindfulness, and sustainability” the first time I watched it in class. But after I rewatched it at home, I finally began to understand. What really stuck out to me from his presentation was the idea of illness vs. wellness. I found it interesting that most people don’t notice anything is wrong until they have an illness. If they aren’t sick, then they are content. But, what they don’t realize is that to be truly well, you have to be connected socially. There is an “I” in “illness” and a “we” in “wellness”. After watching Cohen’s TED talk, I decided to take more time out of the week to focus on my social wellbeing, and the results have been surprising. I have had a much better attitude and my mood has greatly improved. Having a strong support system is essistal to battling inevitable stressors.

I was excited to start Activity 2 because that meant researching various wicked problems that applied to our interests. Personally, I find wicked problems in the fashion/textile industry to be very interesting. Because the fashion industry has so many layers in production, from sourcing material to constructing the final garment, there are many ways in which a manufacturer can make a negative impact on the environment. It is important to me, as a fashion designer, to learn methods to manufacture garments more sustainably. I ultimately decided to choose what I feel to be the most pressing issue: fast fashion. Many fashion brands today are producing garments that are not meant to last. The style is in one minute and out the rest, so the garment is bought cheap and thrown away. This attitude discourages recyclable and encourages fabric waste.

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