experiment

There is a distinction between behavior and mindfulness of that behavior-between “doing” and “experiencing.” Essentially, it’s becoming aware of the process of living, becoming an observer of the self and the self’s experiences, thus, hopefully, enhancing the meaning and experience of behaviors one may do by automatically.
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The experience I would like to promote for this exercise relates to connecting the body to the mind
and the mind to the body, and of focusing your awareness. For example, a person can go for a bike ride and be thinking about his or her “to do list” the entire time, failing to take in the beautiful scenery that passed by while he or she was biking.
One can be immersed in writing, but planning and thinking about the writing’s organization or content,
without being aware of the experience that is unfolding in his or her body at the same time. Imagine,
however, writing without purpose?writing just to write, biking just to bike, walking just to walk, etc.
without an end goal, but rather for the sole purpose of bringing one’s experience fully into the present
moment. That’s what I’d like to have you try to accomplish.

The paper should contain the following information:

1. Description of each activity you picked (two total), why you picked it, and how it differs from
what you have tried before and how you have integrated the “mindfulness” piece
into each activity.

2. Description of your general mood before beginning the week of the activity, attitude toward the
activity, and some basic context of what was going on in your life at the time (e.g.,
“Before I began my week of trying to walk mindfully, I had been feeling anxious as well as
happy because midterms were approaching and I had a lot to study, and I was spending a lot of time with my
friends?I did not want to do the walking or meditation exercise because I didn’t think I had time to
do it, it was just another obligation, I wasn’t sure what to expect (e.g., “Would I look goofy
walking around campus step by step, paying attention to each step?”), although I thought it would
be relatively easy to do.

3. Description of your general mood after completing the week of the activity, attitude toward the
activity, and some basic context of what was going on in your life at this point in time.

4. Typed version of your actual daily journal of practice, including date, time spent on activity, and
brief review of how it went including how easy or difficult it was to focus on the experience and stay in the moment and what thoughts distracted you and interrupted your concentration. Also please note your mood before and after you begin your activity each day.

5. A final summary and comparison on both activities you picked. This should include the following:

What was your overall experience with each activity?
What elements did you like from each?
What elements did you dislike?
Which activity did you like best and why?
How challenging was it to engage in this behavior for twenty minutes per day? How did you motivate and discipline yourself to accomplish this?
How challenging was it for you to focus your attention and be mindful while engaging in each activity?
Were you surprised at how much of the time your body was on automatic pilot while your mind was engaged with other thoughts?
Did engaging in either of these activities influence your daily mood or overall mood during the week?
Did engaging in either of these activities influence your physical sense of well-being (e.g. more energized, more relaxed)?
Are there any elements you think you will incorporate into your life going forward?
How did the experience differ from what you expected?
How was it consistent with your expectations?
What were some of your general thoughts or reflections about the whole project?

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