Step Up Awareness!

Awareness. It is a much-used word in our culture these days. The dictionary says it is “the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.” In the personal and employee health and wellness world it could mean mindfulness of how we are using our body, what we are eating and how we eat, or how we are responding to stress at work.

I like the “knowledge” and “consciousness” words. We need knowledge and training to know about how the body moves, and be able to identify habits of movement that are causing pain/injury. With this knowledge we gain more conscious awareness in what needs our attention at any given time or activity. I know two people who recently had a carpal syndrome operation that could have been avoided with proper training in the use of the body and how to identify the habits of repetition causing the injury.

Learning about what foods our body feels best with, or those that signal discomfort in the gut, or if we feel tired and unmotivated after we eat. These responses give us direct feedback and increase awareness, which leads to making better choices. We could experiment with a different meal the next day, eliminate the bread or rice or have more vegetables and protein, or try to go off sugar for a week and see how we feel.

Also, can we be conscious about how we eat – did we down the food so quickly we really didn’t know we were chewing. Were we “multi-task eating” and not taking conscious time to just eat and relax and actually taste the food!

Then there is the knowledge and awareness of how to bring our emotions and thoughts under control so not to incur stress in the office environment and in life. Meditation is one of these tools and has good studies. Here is one from Harvard