Maintaining a good relationship depends on noticing the other person’s feelings and reactions and then watching the process between you.
Using mindfulness skills we can observe facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and choice of words during a conversation to get a fix on the feelings of the person and the state of the relationship.
Mindful attention means remaining present to what you see, hear and sense emotionally.
When you pay attention you notice trouble coming - before it overwhelms you – and gain time to ask clarifying questions that can help you correct misconceptions.
Mindful attention also involves watching your own experience in relation to others. Do you need something from the other person? Do you have feelings that signal something important about what’s going on?
Noticing your feelings can help you to figure out what might need to change in a relationship before you blow up, shut down or run away.
Clarifying questions that can be asked of the other person (and of yourself) as part of Mindful Attention include:
- How are you feeling? Are you doing okay?
- How are we doing? Are we okay?
- How are things between us?
- I notice ____________________; is this accurate?
- Is everything okay with you? With us?