Improving Your Relationships through Mindful Living
Being Mindful About Improving Family Relationships
When you practice mindfulness, you can improve your family relationships – whether those relationships are with your children, your spouse, his or her family, or with your own immediate family.
What mindfulness does is help you be present within whatever relationships that you currently have. It enables you to engage with the people that you love in a better way.
How mindfulness does this helps you to be able to control the mindset and the emotions that often act as positive or negative triggers for engaging with others on a personal level.
By practicing mindfulness, you’ll learn how to communicate more easily.
You’ll be able to interact in a healthy way rather than responding or reacting in a way that you may have reacted in the past.
One of the key things that practicing mindfulness can offer you is the ability to effectively communicate with the people that you care about. Too often, when we interact with loved ones, we do it with a slate that’s already full of baggage.
There can be past resentments clinging onto our thought processes. These unresolved emotions can cause us to interact with loved ones with negativity and even resentment.
Mindfulness can help you learn how to engage with your family relationships through positive means.
It can stop the flow of negativity that may be at the core of your relationships.
When you learn how to use mindfulness, you’ll be able to take your focus off the negative issue within any relationship. Instead, you’ll learn how to harness what’s good and positive about the relationship and build on that.
Another way that mindfulness can help you improve family relationships is by showing you how to become aware of the other person. More often than not, when we’re in any relationship, we don’t focus on the other person’s thoughts and ideas.
We can get caught up in our own thoughts, beliefs, and expectations of a relationship. Mindfulness teaches us how to show a deep understanding or empathy for the other person in the relationship.
When we become more aware of how the other person is thinking or feeling, we then have a tendency to interact with more kindness and gentleness. Whenever there are two people together, it’s bound to happen that at one point or another, the two of them will disagree.
Tension and arguments can develop when these clashing opinions are viewed by the person holding them as being the absolute right thought, idea, or action – opposite of what the other person believes.
Mindfulness teaches us to be considerate of the other person and to engage with them in a manner that shows respectfulness.
It enables us to let go of having to be the one who has to have the last word or whose opinion must be held up as the right one.
Be a Better Parent by Being Mindful with Your Kids
Mindfulness will not only benefit you, but it will benefit your children as well. When you’re practicing mindfulness, it allows you to be present at the moment without focusing on results you want to see in your children.
It allows you to be more attentive, easier going and less likely to concentrate on the performance of a child – whether it’s in the grades he receives in school or how he keeps his room.
Not that those aren’t important, but those won’t be your focus and you won’t give in to emotion and get upset when your child doesn’t reach certain milestones. With mindfulness, you’ll learn not to judge your child’s emotions or behaviors.
You’ll be able to be more compassionate and more understanding when your child does something that he shouldn’t – or doesn’t do what he should do.
Mindfulness will allow you to keep a healthy emotional balance with you and your children.
This means that you’re less likely to get angry or frustrated when your child starts to act against what you’ve taught him. You’ll be able to see past whatever the situation or problem is to the emotion that your child is experiencing because mindfulness will help you concentrate on the root issue.
Through techniques in mindfulness, you’ll learn how to respond to situations involving your child rather than reacting. Your child won’t always understand everything that you do, but he will know how you react.
If you react in anger and then walk away, refusing to speak with him, he’ll learn that anger is an acceptable response and that it’s okay not to communicate. Mindfulness can help you communicate more effectively with your children.
A lot of parents spend time with their children without really interacting with them or without really being aware of their children because their minds are millions of miles away.
When you’re mindful with your child, it will help you enjoy being fully present with them – not just physically but emotionally.
Mindfulness can help you establish a connection with your child and build bridges where there may have been relationship damage caused by hurt feelings.
You’ll be able to define the emotion involved when you interact with your child. You’ll learn to separate whether your emotion is based on what actually is best for them and your family as a whole or if it’s based on what you thought was best.
When you practice being mindful with your kids, you’ll be less anxious, calmer, more thankful and more accepting of yourself both as a parent and as a person, and your bond with your child will grow.
Mindful Birthing for Parents to Be
Mindfulness is a tool that can be used in all areas of your life. One of the areas where it can be useful is in preparing to give birth and going through the birthing process.
This practice can be done by the birth mother along with her birth coach, spouse or family members, and friends. Regardless of whether or not you’ve had good experiences with prior birthing, mindfulness can be a soothing and relaxing way to introduce your newest family member into the world.
Pregnancy is not without its ups and downs – including some stressful moments.
For women who’ve gone through pregnancy before, they have the experience to recognize that the physical side, as well as the emotional side of pregnancy, can fluctuate.
They also understand what’s involved in the actual giving birth part. But women who are pregnant for the first time will feel anxious. Being anxious is normal during pregnancy but you do want to eliminate stress.
Mindfulness can help pregnant women to experience peace and calmness through pregnancy and birth.
They’ll develop a reassurance within themselves that they can handle the birth.
This mindful way of experiencing a birth helps to relieve the negative thoughts some women associate with birth and can change them into positive ones. What most women and their partners fear with giving birth is the worry that something is going to go wrong.
They also fear the unknown if they’ve never given birth before as well as being afraid of the type of pain associated with childbirth. Some teachings on birthing suggest trying not to focus on the pain but this isn’t as helpful.
What mindfulness can do during the birthing process is it can help focus awareness on the pain by acknowledging it. The pain will still be felt within the body but it won’t be an all-consuming, anxiety-riddled pain.
Instead, mindfulness will allow you to go with the flow of the pain rather than fighting it. When mindfulness is used during the birthing process, both the mother and the partner will become more confident in their abilities not only to handle the birth but as parents as well.
The mother to be will be able to release her fear of giving birth as anxiety and worries will be controlled through mindful techniques. The mother to be will be able to concentrate on an inner support system for minimizing the pain of labor.
Going through mindfulness teaching prior to giving birth will open up a deeper level of intimacy for the parents to be. It will also teach them how to connect with each other as parents.
Teaching Your Kids the Act of Mindfulness
It’s important that you teach your children about mindfulness because it can benefit them all the way into their adult life. You’ll want to teach them to focus on being aware of their presence.
Kids can understand new things better when you engage their senses, so the teaching method that you use for helping them to learn about mindfulness should use some or all of the five senses.
You’ll also want to make sure that they understand the concept of practicing non-judgmental thoughts. This helps them to learn how to understand that thoughts and feelings can be seen through a lens of calmness.
Be sure that your teaching method shows them how they can learn to practice mindfulness even if they can’t sit still to do a session.
Mindfulness should never be isolated from its intended purpose. It is taught as a behavioral concept such as a way to get a child to sit quietly.
Depending on the age of the child, it can help to have set up a specific moment during the day for practicing mindfulness. This can help your child get into the daily habit of mindfulness.
The time limit for practicing mindfulness should be set according to the age of the child. The younger the child, the shorter the attention span. Explain mindfulness to your child and practice with him or her until the child gets the hang of it.
Teach your child how they can use mindfulness in their lives to help them handle things such as calming anxiety.
There are several things you can do to help teach your kids’ mindfulness.
The first is through the use of sounds. You can use bells or chimes, music notes or any object that can make a sound that will trail off. Instruct your child that the object you have is going to make a noise.
Share with them that they need to concentrate on the noise until the noise has completely faded. Teach them to breathe slowly in and out and to pay attention to their breathing.
Another way that you can teach mindfulness to children is exactly what adults do. That’s through the focus on mindful breathing. Teach them to pay attention to the breath as they exhale and inhale.
The child can count the breaths as they exhale. This practice should be done to the count of five. Teach your child that when they’re feeling upset. Breathing helps calm emotions such as feeling angry or sad.
Mindfulness can be taught to children as they play.
Mindful play can be done through any kind of hands-on exercises such as drawing or painting. Help the child to begin the activity by breathing in and out slowly.
Have them share with you what they’re experiencing through the five senses such as what they can hear as they’re playing. Stop the exercise when the child is no longer interested.
Sometimes this might be for just a few seconds but other days, it’ll be for a longer time period. Don’t make a child continue on with a mindful exercise if he shows disinterest. You want mindfulness to be something that they look forward to. Not something they feel as if they have to do.
Choosing Your Friends Based on a Mindful Approach
Friends can enrich our lives. They can help us be better people. But having the wrong kind of friends can be detrimental to your emotional well-being. If you choose friends who treat others unkindly, that can create a negative space in your life.
The old saying that birds of a feather flock together means that you will become like the company that you keep. What you want to have is the kind of friends who will be there for you.
They’ll be happy for you when you have something to celebrate. It will hurt them as well if you are hurt. They’ll be there for you through the ups as well as the downs of life.
You want friends who enrich or add to your life rather than ones who make it worse and cause a drain on your emotions.
By using mindfulness, you can choose the kind of friends that are healthy to have in your life.
These will be people who will be open and honest with communication. There will be freedom between the two of you to speak truthfully. You’ll find that when you choose friends mindfully. You will have people in your life that you can engage with and even when you disagree. It will be a positive experience.
Mindfulness can help you attract the right people into your life that can become lifelong friends.
It all begins with your focus. Mindfulness teaches you to keep your focus on the positive aspects of other people rather than on their faults.
When you focus on the positive thoughts you can have toward others, you get back positive responses from other people. By keeping your mind on what’s good about other people, it affects how you feel about them, you perceive them in a different way and it shows in your attitude toward them.
Mindfulness teaches you to reject the negative thoughts about others and to keep your mind focused on what you like about the person.
Even in the best of friendships, there can be disagreements and hurt feelings.
Mindfulness can help you choose friends wisely and then nurture the relationships once they’re in your life. You’re never going to find a perfect circle of friends. Each person in your friendship circle is going to have traits that will bother you.
They may not react to things in the way that you would. Mindfulness teaches you to release the judgmental thoughts toward others. Instead see them just as you are – flawed or imperfect, yet worthy of love and friendship.
Mindfulness can give you the wisdom to help you choose friends that can create a give and take relationship – rather than a one-sided friendship where someone does all of the giving while the other person does all of the taking.
When you practice mindfulness, it makes you become the kind of person who attracts good friends. The kind of person that everyone wants to have. With mindfulness, you can improve your relationships not just with your friends, your family, your parents, your kids, but yourself as well.