We continue a series on how to effectively manage emotions, so that we can engage more thoughtfully in relationship. All of the skills we discuss are designed to support the ultimate goal of wisdom (see post titled, “Emotion Regulation 1.0”).
Today’s skill involves being one-mindful: Being right here right now, doing one thing at a time, letting go of distractions.
Being one-mindful is particularly challenging, with the proliferation of technology. The increase in car accidents due to cell phone usage exemplifies this new reality. We’re willing to risk the lives of others in order to multitask, stay connected, not miss anything, or whatever motivates us to endanger others by our multiple-mindedness.
Try This at Home!
Multi-tasking actually prevents us from doing with excellence any of the tasks we’re engaged in.
Try this. Out loud, count to 26; then recite the alphabet. Now try putting them together. Say a letter then a number, then the next letter, then the next number until you get to the end of both sequences.
Notice how quickly you were able to say the alphabet and how quickly you were able to count to 26 when you were only doing one or the other. Then notice how quickly you got tripped up, and how quickly the process got bogged down when you tried to do them together.
One-mindfulness helps us fully engage in one thing at a time so that we can feel confident that we’ve done our best work. It also helps our loved ones know that they truly matter to us, that we’re willing to give them our full, undivided attention. Do that in your relationships and watch how quickly the dynamics change, although it may not necessarily be comfortable at first.
If your relationship has gotten used to the distance that being distracted, apathetic, over-committed to tasks, etc. has required, you may have to do some repair work before being present will draw the relationship closer. Put your cell phone away for the evening, turn the TV off, shut down the computer, and see what it’s like to have a conversation without any distractions!
Then feel free to post how it goes!