Mindful parenting is not about adding something to your routine but rather about consciously choosing what you pay attention to and what you don’t. Mindful parenting will help you connect with your children and partner because they will feel a greater connection to you. Best of all, it can help reduce your stress too.
In today’s society, most of us lead busy, stressful lives trying to balance our careers and personal lives. We are pulled in 100 directions. Our kids want to play with us. Our partners want to talk about their day’s joys and frustrations. Our work requires dependability and promptness with project deadlines. Emails call out to us through the buzz of our phone notifications. Our friends text us about hanging out. Bills lay in a pile begging to be opened. Home projects wait for us to get started. The newest episode of our favorite TV show are a couple of clicks away from us watching it. Dinner still needs to be cooked. Dishes washed. House cleaned. Kids fed. Dogs walked… You get the point.
I don’t need to be a psychologist to know that our brains are being pulled in too many directions. It’s not good for our health and it’s not good for our relationships. If you answer yes to the following questions, mindless stress is affecting you:
- Have you ever noticed that you are thinking about a business meeting while you’re taking a shower?
- Do you ever find yourself checking your email during dinner or while watching a movie?
- Have you ever been told by someone that they had to repeat themselves several times before you acknowledged them?
- Do you ever walk while staring down at your phone screen oblivious to the world around you?
- Are you ever lost in your own thoughts, worries, or ruminations while someone is talking to you?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect and neither is anyone else. That is OK. The beauty of mindfulness is the realization that we get to choose what we pay attention to with kindness rather than with criticism. Here are four mindfulness steps that I personally use and often recommend to my clients to help improve relationships: