When we are able to do this, we are no longer at the mercy of our emotions or thoughts, and we’re able to take a step back.
The practice of mindfulness meditation (just being present and observing) has been shown to have all kinds of positive effects on one’s health, both mentally and physically. Mindfulness can keep us whole when the world around us is trying to tear us apart.
In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the most respected Zen masters in the world: “Mindfulness is like that—it is the miracle which can call back in a flash our dispersed mind and restore it to wholeness so that we can live each minute of life.”
But you don’t have to be a Zen master or even meditate to be mindful.
You just need to be able to take a step back and notice what’s going on. Take a deep breath and notice how your body feels. Are you tense? Do you have a knot in your stomach? What are you unaware of that you can find out just by checking in?
How can you be mindful in your relationship?
Stay present with yourself. Ask yourself how you are really feeling, underneath. Be honest with yourself. Check in about anything that you might be afraid of. We tend to run fastest from fear since it can feel like such a threatening emotion. If you are scared, just notice that. Try not to lose yourself in it.
It’s really easier said than done though. When your blood is boiling and you can barely breathe you are so frustrated with your partner, it can feel close to impossible for some people. This is why working with a therapist trained to help you get in touch with the stuff underneath can really help save your relationship.
The heart of Emotionally Focused Therapy is really about helping couples be mindful and present in their true emotions. When we’re honest with ourselves and each other, it’s a lot easier to get along or at the very least be on the same page. (You can read more about Emotionally Focused Therapy here.)
Even so, you may not want or even need to go to therapy to help you with being mindful.
Here is one easy way that you can take action, without having to devote chunks of your day to mindfulness meditation:
Set an alarm on your phone to go off a few times a day and use it as a reminder to just notice what’s going on for you. When the alarm goes off, take a breath and check in with yourself. Make a habit of doing this.