What is Mindfulness?
"A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations"
Mindfulness is a practice that has been around for thousands of years, and it has only been introduced in the western cultures in the past hundred years. Throughout the evolution, when we used to be hunters and gatherers, our brains got really good at assessing and protecting you from threat by either running away from it, fighting it, or freezing and pretending "dead." One of the ways our brains got really good at surviving is expecting the worst out of a situation so we can be extra prepared to face a threat. For example, if the bushes were rustling, we would immediately put up our weapons and prepare to fight/flight in case a lion was hiding behind the bushes. This has made our mind to get preoccupied to the threat before we face it. We lose touch with our body, and basically leaves us in a state of a loop of negative, "worst case scenario" thoughts. This might have been helpful for our ancestors, but it's not so helpful now when the threats we are facing are not so life-threatening... like traffic, deadlines at work, completing todo lists, and feeling worried about why your partner hasn't messaged you back in 2 minutes.
Mindfulness is a conscious effort of breaking that negative thought pattern, and being present in the moment with complete acceptance. When you start to notice that you are anxious and tense, but you are just washing the dishes and there are no bears coming at you, you can break away from the negative thought pattern and accept what is happening in the present. You will be able to attune to your partner and your child in the moment, rather than being "stuck" in your anxious thoughts about your "todo" list.
What is a Mindful Relationship?
Attachment and Mindfulness
For mammals and humans, science tells us that our brains are wired for connection and bonding occurs from "cradle to grave." Our brain perceives it as a threat when we don't feel valued and accepted in relationships. When we are able to be mindful in relationships, the more your partners, children, and neighbors feel valued and accepted with your full presence and attention.
Dr. Sue Johnson emphasizes what makes a relationship thrive and creates long-lasting love is emotional responsiveness: "A.R.E. you there for me?"
Are you accessible when I need you?
Responsive when I reach to you?
Engaged and cares about what's important to you?
When we relate to others mindfully and the fight/flight response doesn't take over, you become more accessible, responsive, and engaged. The negative thoughts and judgments doesn't take over your perception of yourself and your loved one. You can completely and fully embrace the connection that is available between you and your loved one that is right in front of you!