In order to find genuine happiness and lead empowered lives, we must first begin to live in the moment, which can be challenging. Mindfulness practices can help you cultivate this lifestyle by encouraging you to bring your awareness back to the present moment and focus your attention on one thing at a time. This column aims to open a space for readers to ask questions and receive answers from a mindful perspective.
Q: Lately, my husband and I seem to repeat the same argument over and over. We struggle to find a way to talk to each other that doesn’t just instigate and provoke an even bigger fight. Do you have any recommendations?
A: Imagine yourself talking with your partner, or with a co-worker, boss or friend. As he is talking to you about a heated subject, you notice that you are thinking about what you want to say rather than actually listening to him, just waiting for a chance to cut in and make your point. Have you ever noticed this about yourself? It is one of the most common communication pitfalls. Your mind makes assumptions, judgments and decisions before the other person has expressed a complete thought. Assumptions and judgments lead to distortions that result in misinterpretation. They become the lenses that shape your perception of the circumstance. Using a few mindfulness practices can help correct and soften the lens so that you see more clearly.
Listening from the heart is a noble practice that reinforces the active awareness of your heart’s intelligence system. When someone is talking to you, listen to what the other person is saying and occasionally notice what you feel in your body. Let go of the judging mind. Gently focus your attention on your heart center as you actively listen to what the other is saying. Let go of the temptation to form any thoughts and simply listen. Being mindful of your heart or focusing your attention on your body brings you out of your mind and more in connection with your body. For optimum health and happiness, you need to have good communication flowing between the mind and body.
Natalie Garvey D., M.Psych., is a California native and an eight-year resident of Costa Rica. Recognized by the Costa Rican Professional Psychologists Association (4496), she dedicates her professional time to accompanying others on their path of self-discovery and healing. Send your questions to [email protected].