There’s a whole host of mindfulness practices being shared, most of them relate to your state of mind when performing a task, mindful eating, mindful walking, being there fully and wholly, how can we use this when we are interacting with others? This is the application of mindfulness that is exciting because it’s not just based on an individualistic experience, we actually start to create a ripple effect through our mindful connections as it slowly becomes the fabric of our personality and extends to our wider social circles, creating positive impact to everyone we come in contact with.
Have you ever had a chat with someone and felt that they were really there for you, that they truly cared and that they were genuinely listening to you? The conversation needn’t last all day, it could be a short interaction, but it touched you in some way, it was meaningful. This creates a safe space to share and allows you an opportunity to open up where you’d previously be guarded. The fundamental premise of mindful communication is being fully present. Conversely, have you tried to have a heart to heart with someone and they were distracted, they had standard responses to you and didn’t stop to pay attention to what you were saying? This happens all the time, when we are stuck in our heads, with our thoughts, task lists and worries that there is no space to actively listen. The classic example is when someone is talking and the other person is going through their phone, checking their email or physically motioning to go someplace else. It leaves us feeling dejected, rejected and ignored, it causes tension and a feeling of unworthiness in us and creates walls between you and others in order to protect yourself from feeling this vulnerability, unfortunately with these walls build we lose our sense of connection and belonging and isolation sets in quickly. Defensiveness protects the ego and fragile self esteem, when we feel defensive we block hearing feedback, we are already planning what we are going to say to rebuttal rather than actually listening to what’s being said.
Mindfulness is to pause, come back to our body and notice what’s coming up without judging it. We practice mindfulness day to day to build this muscle so that in times of stress we can call upon it in order to slow down. When we feel threatened a feeling of overwhelm dawns which stops critical thinking, the more stressed we are the more easily we go to overdrive, when you feel overwhelmed ask for a timeout, take a moment and then mindfully engage in the conversation.
Mindfulness trains us to be sensitive to our physical intelligence, emotions are felt in the body. Embodiment is the awareness of the body’s sensations, habits and the beliefs that inform them. Embodiment requires the ability to feel the emotion in the body at the time it’s being stirred, this acknowledgement gives us a window to choose our response rather than reacting impulsively. Disembodiment is unawareness, repression, denial or privileging our thinking over feeling. What we practice most is what feels comfortable, it takes time and commitment, gradually we can catch our emotions and not have them overtake our behaviours, then being calm becomes our nature– we become what we do.
Mindful communication puts the responsibility on us to be present to our emotional state and engage when we are calm and open for the conversation. There is no thinking involved, we aren’t planning our responses or the rest of our day, we are blank and listening to what is being said. We can reflect what is being said, this gives the speaker validation to share more if there is anything they are holding back, creating psychological safety. Further we ask what is needed, is it a solution? An opinion? Time? Just being heard? This permission gives a lot of authentic validation and build trust in their own capacity to problem solve rather than throwing out solutions that can be taken as patronizing if it isn’t heartfully delivered.
Our corporate wellness programs help to address office dynamics so that all stakeholders learn and practice the premise of mindful communication to foster team building, trust and meaningful connection in the workplace.