Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment by calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.
Mindfulness involves far more than your typical cross-legged meditation practice; it’s a way of life. Indeed, incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine can significantly enhance your communication skills in Los Gatos, (the focus of this article) ultimately fortifying your relationships and connections. All it takes is a slight change in perspective, a willingness to practice daily and an open mind to unlock its power.
How to boost your relationship communications skills in Los Gatos: 5 mindful tips
1. Mindfully listen
While in conversation, it’s common to mentally prepare our responses and anticipate our turn. We are not fully listening as we are thinking about our response. However, mindfulness anchors us in the present moment, allowing for a deeper connection. For instance, as your partner shares their perspective, take a moment to pause and dial in. Then, choose your breath, your partner’s voice, or one of your senses to center your focus. Pausing and focusing on your inhale and exhalation can have a great effect. By mindfully listening, you can understand your partner more deeply. Ask questions that come to mind that you are curious about, so you learn new things about your partner. Such mindful listening and inquiring can help you engage better with your partner, have a more meaningful conversation, and improve your communication skills in Los Gatos. It is a great relationship skill to take turns actively listening to your partner rather than getting reactive.
2. Improve your self-awareness
Knowing your triggers and what sets you off allows you to respond vs. react. For example, perhaps your partner asks you to wash the dishes, and something about their tone activates your “fight-or-flight”, causing an unfavorable reaction. You feel like yelling, but you decide to take a tiny break to do some deep breathing. In these moments you might notice what memories float into your mind and perhaps journal about your inner experience. This path can lead you to a deeper understanding of yourself and assist you in Saying What you mean and not just reacting. The more you learn the skills to be an active listener the more you fortify your relationships skills in Los Gatos. You can also take a moment and ask yourself the following questions after an argument or if you feel triggered to engage in an argument:
- What emotions arose during our argument?
- What did I feel angry about and what did I feel hurt about?
- What did I say to my partner that was not good or could have been better?
- Are there any aspects of our conversation that reminded me of a painful memory?
3. Strengthen your mind-body connection
While continuing to build your self-awareness, this tip teaches you how to understand your mind-body connection more profoundly during a conversation. For example, perhaps your partner screams, “Why don’t you ever clean up after yourself?!” Suddenly, you feel your palms sweat, your heart rate increase, and your chest throb. These symptoms are signaling that cortisol, the stress hormone, is rushing through your body, preparing you to react. Yet, even if the statement was painful, it’s not beneficial for your overall well-being to enter your “fight-or-flight”. Instead, take a moment to breathe, rub your palms together, or close your eyes, and self-reflect with the following type of thoughts: “I do not have to get so upset, I can do some yoga to calm down and just focus on my breathing.” When you notice yourself getting hyper aroused, practice mindfulness in the form of breathing, self-soothing and progressive relaxation.
You can also express how their tone hurts your feelings “I know you’re upset with me. But it makes me annoyed and hurt when you speak to me that way—will you please lower your tone as I do want to communicate with you.” Here again you fortify your relationship skills and connections in Los Gatos. You are building a stronger you and enhancing your relationships in the community.
4. Embrace vulnerability
Openly expressing our emotions can often be challenging. Whether from our conditioning, societal norms, or deeply held beliefs, there’s a pervasive fear that revealing our true selves might lead to increased pain. So, we raise the wall higher in disagreements by getting defensive, shutting down or holding back. A helpful thing to do is to stay with the underlying fear and see if there are other feelings connected to it. Again, take a time out if you need to. Aim to share with your partner or friend how you are feeling anxious but aim to continue with the conversation. When you open and label your feelings, you encourage your partner to do the same, creating mutual transparency and openness. You will certainly be enhancing communication skills in Los Gatos if you practice emotional regulation and mindfulness. If discussing your emotions from the get-go feels too intimidating, you may want to take a time out so you can collect yourself or practice necessary self-care. Just remember the one who takes the time-out is responsible for bringing up the conversation again.
5. The difference between intent and impact
Sometimes, we say things that don’t match our intent. For example, perhaps we’re unaware that we’re still upset from work, traffic, or a difficult interaction we experienced with a cashier. So, we may unknowingly transfer this interconnected web of stress to our interactions with loved ones. It may come out as a tone violation, an abrupt comment or something sarcastic. By practicing mindfulness often, you may quickly realize you are in fact stressed and, in that moment, you can focus on the inhale and exhale of your breath. Slow yourself down, nice and slow and after you are calmer go and apologize to your partner, spouse, or significant other.
From active listening to embracing vulnerability, mindfulness is one of the best practices to foster more open, authentic, and loving communication. So, take the first step towards your enhanced communication skills in Los Gatos by weaving mindfulness into your journey. Additionally, if you want to learn this tool, among others, to improve your relationship, please explore my marriage counseling services in Los Gatos and book a session with me. I’m here to help you get back to you. There is hope, there is help and it may be just a phone call away. Dial 408-358-9679.