COLUMN: Find ways to practice mindfulness

Elise Keane, Columnist

We have all seen the importance of practicing mindfulness and being present. Although it is never really discussed how to do it.

There is not just one way to properly practice the art of mindfulness. Usually, it is just with a time of the day devoted to paying attention to you and your own thoughts. This can be through meditation or breathing exercises. That has never worked well for me.

I get so discouraged with mediation because I can never just quiet my mind long enough to continue through the exercises, and breathing is just boring for extended periods of time. I found that I need to be active when I try to be mindful.

So, I leaned into cooking. It was partly out of necessity because I live in an apartment and did not want to live off microwave macaroni and cheese cups for forever. It was also because I really enjoy cooking.

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved cooking. My mom would give me the cans of food that were about to expire, and I would put it in a giant pot together. Most of it was terrible. I mean pineapple and black bean soup can’t exactly be Michelin star rated but it was fun.

As the years went on, I got better at following recipes and making good food. It brought me so much peace. When I was cooking, I was just paying attention to my movements and the next steps.

Over the summer, I discovered that cooking is where I practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is just being fully present and aware of who and what you are. I feel that when I am cooking. The flow from knife to cutting board to pan is peaceful. You have to be fully present when cooking anyway to protect yourself from any potential injury. Most of all, it’s fun and engaging. Even the boring prep work is fun for me. Except mincing garlic, that is my worst enemy.

I learned that nothing must look one way. I don’t practice a typical way of mindfulness. It just doesn’t work for me but practicing it through cooking works for me. I hope you look at the different parts of your life where you feel fully present and devote real time to it. You might find that you feel more at peace when you do.

Elise Keane is a sophomore neuroscience major. They can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]