- Jennifer Stafford
Concern yourself with your ability to remain alert. What does that mean? How do you know what you are paying attention to?
Many people are discussing their fears right now, others may be avoiding them and searching for different realities. Some are numb. There are so many topic tunnels that can suck up our attention, how do you decide which ones you prioritize? Do you realize that you have a choice?
Practicing mindfulness means we slow down and pay full attention to what we are giving our attention to. Being alert means you are watchful of your existence in your environment. Being mindful and watchful are crucial to the maintenance of our sanity when we are in overwhelmingly uncertain circumstances.
Being mindful and watchful can be tools in this life if we learn to use them as such. The term mindfulness has many associations, here it is defined as paying full attention. When discussing being watchful, here it is defined as being alert and vigilant. Experiencing anxiety and paranoia are different. Feeling anxious and paranoid is an unhealthy reaction to experiencing the uncertainty of life. It is us spiraling in our minds over the unknown, often fear-based possibilities. Using mindfulness and watchfulness as tools allows us to harness the only real sense of control that we have when things feel uncertain.
Mindfulness is a practice of slowing ourselves down and really paying attention to what is in our focus. It is when we give our full, uninterrupted attention to something. Not even our thoughts distract us from what we are paying attention to when we are practicing mindfulness.
Watchfulness is just another way of saying to be watchful. When overwhelmed by uncertainty, use the tool of being watchful to ease your angst. Being vigilant and alert keeps us on our toes, but does not exhaust us like being worried and anxious does. When we are watchful we take notice of our environment and who is in it, that is all. We just observe with the intention of paying attention, nothing else.
Being mindful and watchful are healthier ways to navigate the uncertainty of life.
We will not always know in advance what we should do or what we must prepare for, but we can certainly pay attention to ourselves and what is happening around us.