One Tip for Enhanced Communication: Practicing Present-Moment Awareness
If you talk to someone with a meditation practice, they might refer to the challenge of bringing mindfulness to “off-the-cushion-moments”. This is simply a reference to the fact that meditation often occurs in a quiet, serene space while seated on a comfy cushion.
Well, that does not sound much like the life most of us lead. It is one thing to build the capacity for present-moment awareness in a comfortable, distraction-free environment. It is something else entirely to stay present in the face of our fast-paced world.
But that is the challenge.
This is where you will begin to feel the impact of the work you have been doing with your breath. Being able to recognize that you are “thinking” while a child is telling you a story is a big win when you set a goal of building present-moment awareness. It is unrealistic to think that you will be able to remain in the present moment at all times. It is realistic to train yourself to notice when you are NOT present, and then return your attention to the present moment.
As your practice grows, you can look for moments in your daily routine to purposefully bring your full attention to the work you are doing. These could be tasks that you currently complete in a mindless manner. Examples of tasks that you can bring present-moment awareness to include:
- Brushing your teeth – rather than thinking about everything else you need to accomplish, pay attention to the steps of preparing your brush, the brushing movements, the way your mouth feels as you clean it, the burn of the mouthwash, etc.
- Washing dishes – rather than ruminating about an interaction that did not go as you had planned, bring your attention to the temperature of the water, the feel of the sponge on the dishes, the rhythm of the sounds and movements, the feeling of you pruning skin, etc.
- Eating a snack – rather than watching a video while you eat, appreciate the nourishing food on your plate. Notice the texture and temperature of the food, how the food feels in your mouth, the pleasant taste, how it feels to swallow the food, etc.
With practice, you can bring mindfulness into many different everyday activities. When you notice that your mind has wandered, again, do not judge your practice. Simply return your attention to the present moment and move forward.
You can also use present-moment practice to examine how emotions manifest in your body. How does the experience of joy feel in your chest? How do feelings of excitement and anticipation impact your present-moment awareness? Where in the body do you hold your frustration? Is it in the same place that you feel sadness? What does regret really feel like? What is the reward you get from making judgments of others? Becoming familiar with your emotional reactions means that, just like sitting with your breath, you need to sit with your emotions. Instead of ignoring emotions by distracting yourself with another episode or a snack, fully experiencing your emotions can teach you valuable lessons and help you remain present in your interactions with others.
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For the article Present-Moment Awareness in Communication, CLICK HERE