Bridging the Gap from Motivation to Daily Habit: Mindfulness

 

I have had many conversations lately about being present or mindful and how that horrible four-letter word “busy” significantly hinders your ability to be mindful.   Today, I would like to strike up a conversation about how to potentially cut out busyness and focus on mindfulness.  I was speaking with a friend the other day and he said to me that he understands the overall concept of mindfulness; however, he is not really sure he knows how to practice it.  He does understand that it’s not as simple as putting away your phone and being physically present with the person or people you’re with but can’t define further qualities that make someone successfully mindful. 

There are a few points that I would love to share with you based on my own experience of actively practicing mindfulness and from several others who do as well.  I encourage you to share your thoughts with me (and I
sincerely mean that).  I hope that these insights help you bridge the gap from motivation to the daily mindfulness habit.

When communicating with an individual who is practicing mindfulness, some of your words are incredibly important.  Now that I’m reviewing these, they’re very important in mindful communication period.  A couple of common themes that arose from my conversations with others who are practicing mindfulness are:  

MIndfulness

  • When you invite someone to meet, be deliberate and sincere in your request and be sure that you give the recipient reasonable time to respond before moving onto other plans.  Even if you were genuine in your request, it can come off as insincere if you do not allow adequate time to accept a meeting request, particularly when they respond with a 'yes' and you've already closed the door of opportunity for them.  Alternatively, state a deadline for response and indicate that if you do not hear back by a certain date/time you will assume the other party is not interested in meeting/attending.
  • When someone shares a "feeling" or an "emotion" with you, it is detrimental to respond with a disassociation comment such as "No one else said that", "I don't feel the same way" or "I don't know how you could feel that way."
  • The harder you try to adapt, and make it "right the worse the communication gets.  Be open, honest, and sincere.  It's that simple.

If you are interested in practicing mindfulness, I use a five-step approach by way of keeping a journal, to bridge my way into it (rather than leaping right into it).  The five steps are as follows:

  1. Begin by capturing several times a day (4-5x), how you're feeling (this shouldn't be more than one or two words) at a given moment.  Continue with just this practice until you are beginning to recognize how you're feeling at any given moment in time.  I wan you, it is much easier said than done!
  2. The next step is to challenge yourself not to use the same emotion twice in a day.  Telling yourself, "I'm good" five times a day, tells me that you're staying on the surface.  What you tell those around you, about how you're feeling...we'll get to, but in your journal digging deeper is critical to mindfulness.  Remember, I've been through this myself.  As the old adage hoes "you're only fooling yourself".  Once this becomes an "unconscious competence" (Fourth stage of the competence mdoel), move on to step 3.
  3. Once you're mastered really understanding how you feel at any given moment in the day, it's time to be mindful of why you believe you're feeling that way.  Define what the stimulus is or the series of events that spawned that emotion.  Write this dowr, without judging.  Note that this step may take several weekes of discipline on your part to gain comfort.
  4. After you're comfortable with identifying how you're feeling and hwy you're feeling that way, now is the time to add the validation questions into your day.  Questions that you will begin to inject into your day to further understand the intent of the words and actions of others

      ·      "I was hoping to ask you and better understand why you said..."

      ·      "If I understand you correctly..."

  5. The last step is reducing your time in your journal to once a day.  Yet remaining dedicatedly mindful of all your emotions, why, and exercising your validation questions throughout the day and perhaps uncovering the really deep validation questions in your journal time, and asking them upon your next opportunity.

The good news is, that an individual practicing mindfulness recognizes that comments received that pierce the heart, often originate from individuals “too busy” to stop or slow down or be mindful of their word habits.  

I can’t help but wonder if this type of interaction is at the root of dysfunctional relationships that ultimately end as a result from a lack of mindfulness.  What I mean by that, is that when one is constantly on the receiving end of potentially harmful or misinterpreted words without being mindful of monitoring how you feel, why you feel that way, and how to manage it mentally…it is very easy to shut down from hurt, to throw up walls to protect yourself from the next ‘dagger’.  You simply may not recognize and understand what is happening, thus you shut down and protect yourself rather than keeping yourself in that uncomfortable and ‘vulnerable’ place.

On the flip side, when someone is mindful of what is happening in their body and acknowledging that the other person has no understanding or knowledge of their words nor of the impact they are having on the people around them, the mindful individual is less likely to shut down, but rather adapt, and find other manners in which they will understand and forgive the busy mindlessness.

You may be reading this and asking yourself “sheesh, why are you being so sensitive?”  The simple answer is connection, and when you have truly felt what connection is, recognize when it is happening, and begin to replicate it…it is then…that you are truly forming meaningful, respectful relationships.  It is here that you are truly living!  Brene Brown refers to as “connection” as:

“Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement.” – Brene Brown

I look forward to hearing your mindfulness insights and discoveries, so that we all can grow and truly SHINE!

Email Monica your insights.