In today’s fast-paced society, many people feel like they thrive on multi-tasking. People text while talking to others in a busy restaurant, clean the house while talking on the phone, and have multiple screens open on their computer so they can pay bills and catch up on social media all at the same time. This fast-paced lifestyle has some consequences that can negatively impact your marriage.
What Is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a skill that allows people to “just be.” It is related to meditation. Mindfulness helps people to pay attention to the present without passing judgment. It takes practice and perseverance to learn and practice this skill. It can be very helpful in improving the quality of your marriage.
Ask yourself how often these following scenarios are true about you:
- When your spouse is talking about something, your mind wanders until you suddenly have no idea what he is talking about.
- When you are having sex, you are thinking about other obligations, problems, or your “to do list.”
- You walk into a room and have no idea what the reason was you entered that room.
- You misplace things such as your car keys and sometimes even look for something that is actually in your hand.
- When your spouse is talking to you, you are so busy planning what you are going to say next that you stop listening.
- When you are reading, watching a movie, or trying to pay attention to something, your mind wanders and you have no idea what you’ve just missed.
- While eating, you tend to be thinking about what is next – the dishes, dessert, or the things you have to do later.
- When you go into a store, you often have no idea where you parked when you exit the store.
If you find that you are often guilty of any of the things on the list, it means that you tend to be mindless. Mindlessness causes people to be paying attention to other parts of their life instead of what is going on right now. Missing out on the here and now can cause people to miss out on the joy of everyday moments. It can also interfere with the quality of your relationship if you are missing out on important parts of communication and intimacy.
Mindfulness requires you to stop and pay attention to what is going on around you right now. It allows you to take notice of your surroundings and the things that people often don’t pay attention to. It allows you to recognize your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.
How To Practice Mindfulness
For one minute, try to stop what you are doing. Pay attention to what you hear. Notice how your body feels. Notice how you feel and what thoughts run through your head. Try to notice things without passing judgement.
Most people aren’t able to sit for a whole minute and just pay attention to their surroundings. Instead, they start thinking about their “to do list,” the past, or the future. It can be difficult at first to stay focused on the present.
People can practice mindfulness by focusing on a single object for a few minutes at a time. Pay attention to the object’s qualities such as how it looks, feels, sounds, and smells. Practicing such exercises can help people to really take notice of things that are happening right now in front of them.
Another way to practice is to put a piece of candy in your mouth. Spend one minute just paying attention to the piece of candy. Notice how it tastes and smells. Also notice how it feels in your mouth. It can be difficult to focus on just one thing at a time.
More Ways To Practice Mindfulness
Other people practice by learning meditation skills. A variety of meditation and mindfulness skills are available on CD. Listening to these CDs can help walk people through various exercises that reinforce mindfulness skills.
A variety of breathing exercises are also available to help increase mindfulness. These help people learn how to simply pay attention to their breath. Self-help books and CDs teach a variety of different breathing exercises.
Improving your ability to stay in the present is likely to improve your relationship. It can help you learn how to regulate your emotions better as you think about how you feel right now. It allows you to stop thinking about what upset you yesterday or what worries you about tomorrow. It can increase your emotional intimacy as you will be better able to provide your partner with your full attention. It can also improve your physical intimacy when you are able to be present in the moment.