Mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”.
We often fall into the trap of being on autopilot, especially in this city. We wake up, go to work, take care of our families, come home, and do it all over again. We get stuck in doing the routine and this leads to disconnecting. To bring mindfulness back into your life and your relationship brings you back to the present and allows you to connect with your day to day and those around you.
How to start to bring mindfulness into your life:
Bring awareness to your day.
- Start to notice what you see, hear, smell, and touch. This can be as simple as putting your phone away and looking around on your commute to work. Are you noticing your surroundings? Do you notice the Christmas lights on the street, the sounds of the subway, how massive the buildings are around you?
- Start to notice how you are feeling throughout the day. Remember that feelings are fluid and you can have many throughout the day and many at the same time. Be aware of how you feel and give it a name. Learn to tell yourself “I am feeling happy, sad, excited, nervous, bored, etc.” in the moment that you are feeling it.
- Focus in on your surroundings. We often have a mental checklist we are running through our heads all day. This consumes us of worries, reminders, and responsibilities that is taking away from the present moment. As we continue to live in our heads we become more disconnected from the loved ones around us.
- Make a point to connect with each loved one when you come home from the day. This is as simple as giving your spouse a meaningful kiss hello or having a special snack time with your child.
Use your breath.
- When emotions become overwhelming or “take over” you are often unable to express yourself and connect to your partner. Learn breathing techniques to give yourself moments to get back to being mindful and present.
- Check out this 5-minute mindful breathing exercise.
Communicate with your partner.
- As you become more mindful of your emotions and are able to have a handle on them, allow your partner to know about them in detail. Blanket statements such as “I’m just so frustrated” or “I can’t stand you right now” relay a feeling but not one your partner can connect to. Work on explaining to your partner when your feeling began, how it got more powerful, and how you are feeling presently. Slowing it down and explaining in detail allows your partner to understand and connect to your journey.
- Be present to your partner when they are talking to you. This allows your partner to feel that they matter to you and that you are interested in connecting with them.
- Use mirroring, validation, and empathy.
- Check out this step by step description of the Couples Dialogue founded by Harville Hendrix of Imago Therapy: https://www.antelopespringscounseling.com/documents/articles/ListeningSkillsIntentionalDialogue.pdf
Remember that mindfulness is a practice so be kind to yourself as you build up your practice. It may be frustrating if you are not able to achieve the level of mindfulness you want right away but continue to work at it daily and you will begin to notice the benefits.