One of the ironies of modern life is that we can spend more time being connected, and yet, sometimes wind up being less present for each other. Maybe you’re in the same room with a group of your friends, but each of you is busy texting or talking on your phones. Maybe you’re sitting down to a family dinner, but your mind is still back at the office or looking ahead to the chores you need to do this weekend.
If you feel like you’re missing out on something, you could be right. Relationships are more fulfilling when you give others your full attention and share the real you.
Try these ideas for becoming more mindful in your personal and professional interactions.
Being More Attentive:
1. Slow down – Take your mind off your to-do list and become more aware of what’s going on around you. Build some downtime into each day to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
2. Stop multitasking – Studies show that our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, for the most part. Let that be the individual you’re talking with.
3. Set priorities – Make your days more manageable. Strike the tasks that give you little in return off of your agenda. Devote your time and energies to the activities that you find meaningful.
4. Turn off your phone – Try to create some technology-free zones. Make it a rule to turn your phone off at meals or at least silence the volume if you’re expecting an urgent call. Stay off the internet for at least an hour before bed.
5. Listen closely – In conversation, show others that you care about what they have to say. Listen actively by nodding and offering appropriate comments and questions.
6. Make eye contact – You communicate with your eyes as well as your words. If you feel awkward, try rotating your gaze between someone’s eyes and mouth every 5 to 10 seconds while you’re talking.
Being More Authentic:
1. Clarify your purpose – If you want others to know you, it’s important to understand yourself. Identify what matters to you and what you want out of life.
2. Trust your intuitions – Listen to your body. Let your inner wisdom guide you towards making decisions that are appropriate for you.
3. Ask for help – Be willing to ask for support and assistance. Tell others what you need, whether it’s encouragement or an extra hand with doing the yard work.
4. Provide validation – Communicate your acceptance and acknowledgment. Even when you disagree, you can show others that their opinions and feelings are valid and worthwhile. Try to see a situation from their perspective.
5. Express gratitude – Remember what you have to be thankful for. Keep a gratitude journal and tell others about the positive impact they have on your life.
6. Extend forgiveness – Let go of past resentments and disappointments. Focus on the positive aspects of your relationships and resolve to move forward. You’ll feel peaceful and happier.
7. Hold deep conversations – Be open to moving beyond small talk. When you reveal personal information about yourself, you give others the opportunity to be more vulnerable too. Find friends who want to explore philosophical and spiritual subjects.
8. Engage in challenging activities – Research with married couples shows that working on new and demanding tasks together tends to increase satisfaction with the relationship. Sign up for cooking classes or learn a new sport.
Discover the rewards of being fully attentive and authentic. When you reduce the distractions that come between you and those around you, you’ll change the dynamics of your relationships so that you feel more centered and loved.