As the weather gets colder and I prepare for the long winter months ahead, my least favourite months of the year, I am learning to live my life “mindfully.” You might be wondering what it means to live “mindfully.” I can’t imagine a better question.
In 1979 Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn brought eastern spiritual teachings and western psychology into mainstream medicine when he created the first Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachussets Medical School. Since then the program has been studied in several randomized clinical trials and has been found to be effective in reducing stress, preventing depression relapse, pain management and anxiety management to name a few.
This is wonderful – I know – but what does it mean for you and for your relationships? According to Kabat-Zinn, Mindfulness means “paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgementally.” Using this definition I invite you to do a little experiment, the next time you are talking with your spouse, bring your focused attention to the present moment (that is, really be there) and really pay attention to what he/she is saying without judgement. Then notice, is that different than how you normally are with your spouse. Then imagine, what if you were like that more often in your life AND what if your spouse was too? I know, now you are getting excited, right???
Becoming more mindful in your life is as simple as noticing how mindless you normally are. Noticing THIS is a moment of mindfulness. Then becoming more mindful in your life means simply that, paying attention, on purpose, without judgement. When you’re driving, just drive, when you’re eating just eat and when you’re talking to your spouse just talk and then just listen. If you share this with your partner and work on it together I’m confident you will notice some nice changes. Add a log to the fire, maybe a nice glass of wine and a lovely fall evening will soon shape up.
As always send any questions or comments you have about this article to: Email