Friday, August 10, 2012

Mindful = Peaceful = Good for You.

The Garden at the Gropius House, Lincoln, MA              Copyright Lynn Schweikart
When I began doing the research for my book, Peaceful Places Boston, I noticed that I'd often come away from my excursions feeling calmer, yet more alive. I was so focused on experiencing every place I visited on a deeper level than normal -- paying attention to the sights, sounds, and smells, as well as to the physical sensations I was feeling: the warmth of the sun, the softness of a sea breeze, the taste of salt air, the coolness of the grass beneath my feet. It was like I slipped into a heightened sense of awareness.  Of course, it was a different kind of awareness; it was mindfulness.

I've been reading a great deal about mindfulness recently. How mindful eating can help you with weight control. How mindful meditation can change the structure of your brain and reduce stress and increase well-being. And I've become more convinced than ever of the connection between being mindful and feeling peaceful. So next time you find yourself needing a little calm and tranquility, find a place where you can escape from the hustle/bustle and open yourself to the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feel of the place, even for just 10 minutes or so. (My book can help you find more than 100 of them in the Boston area!) I think you'll find it can be very rewarding.