Mindfulness became a pretty big thing in 2017 and I totally get it. It’s all about living in the moment and savoring it so that you don’t take life for granted or let it pass you by. I’m trying to adopt the practice particularly in my relationships moving forward by doing these things.
- Not using my phone as much when I’m with my friends or BF Quite frankly, we’re too distracted by our phones and we spend way too much time on them that could be better spent on pretty much anything else. By putting my phone away when I’m with my loved ones, I’ve been able to remove a huge distraction and focus on the people and places directly in front of me. As a result, I’m more mindful because I’m not dealing with something happening somewhere else—I’m living in the present.
- Taking fewer photos for social media and taking time to actually savor the moment Along the same lines, I’m trying to cut back on what I share online. We’re constantly inundated with people’s stories and moments. We overshare and overindulge and I truly believe it often hinders our capacity to enjoy life, so these days, I do a little bit less. I may stage a cute group photo or two for social media or snap a photo of ONE of my many meals that day, but I’m not sharing every day all of the time. It’s just too much!
- Looking people in the eye when they speak It’s one important way that I convey a presence of mind as well as common courtesy. More importantly, though, I get so much more information this way! I’ve found that observing facial expressions and body language while listening to the tone of the voice and words reveals vital information that I will almost always miss if I’m just giving my attention with my ears. Practicing this form of mindfulness makes me a better friend, girlfriend, and listener.
- Intentionally making plans Am I the only person who hates when someone makes plans with you and then ultimately flakes? The truth is, we’ve all done it because we have so many options these days and so little time, so we overcommit and then back out of everything with weak excuses. It sucks. One way I’ve tried to combat this habit is by being more intentional about making plans with people. That means I never immediately commit when someone asks me to hang out. I think about it first and I weigh the costs and benefits of committing to an outing. Then, when I affirmatively make a decision to go, I require myself to follow through. But I also affirmatively say no too. Being deliberate about making plans has made me better with my time and more present with my loved ones because I actually want to be there. Plus, I disappoint people less because I’m less of a flake!
- Carving out time for myself Lately, I’ve been a lot more selfish than usual. Simply put, when I take the time that I need to nurture myself doing whatever makes me feel good as an individual, I’m a much more relaxed and mindful around others because I’m not spending time with my loved ones thinking about when I’m going to get to the gym or when I’m going to read my book or when I’m going to get to take a nap. Carving out me time makes more time for everyone else.
- Asking “how are you feeling?” instead of asking “what’s up?” This is simple. Asking someone you love how they’re feeling gives you so much more information about that person than just asking “what’s up?” To me, that’s basically another form of hello. Since implementing this into my everyday conversations, I feel like I’ve been connecting better and faster with my boyfriend and friends. Try it out.
- Using calendar reminders or alarms to check in with people I know this is kind of lame, but it’s one of the examples of what it means to make technology work for you. I don’t know about you, but I can be horrifyingly bad at keeping up with my friends and fam. We’re spread out all over the country leading separate, busy lives. Recently, I started designating time to call and check on my family and friends who I don’t see often. Each special person gets a designated time during my week. For example, my BFF and I check in with each other every Sunday night via phone. I have a repeat alarm in my calendar for it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t communicate with her at any other time during the week, but what it does do is create specific time and space for her to receive all of my attention pretty much no matter what. It’s been working well for us, especially since we’re so busy.
- Generally being more responsive I’m definitely guilty of reading a text or an email and thinking that I’m too busy to answer right away, so I just mini-ghost people. I hate when other people do that to me, so I’ve decided to work on my responsiveness so that I can stop being a hypocrite. Sometimes not every text or email can or should be answered right away, but in those cases, I’ve tried to respond to let the person know I’d get back to them soon. Doing this holds me accountable for responding and kind of forces me to deal with life as it unfolds.
- Looking for something new about my loved one every time we’re together I totally stole this from a guest speaker that I heard talking on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast, but it’s fantastic for mindfulness. Sometimes, we become so familiar and comfortable with our lovers, friends, and family that we forget why they are special to us. We take them for granted. Now, I play this little game and look for something new to love. It could be something physical like noticing a freckle or a beauty mark or a dimple I never noticed before, or it could be something they learned that makes them glow when they talk about it. Ultimately, it’s about paying attention and being present so you don’t miss out!