Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds CRAIG HASSED: One of the biggest challenges for being mindful these days has to do with family and relationships. Very often, if things aren’t going well at home, we can take those sort of preoccupations to work. And of course, when things are pretty challenging at work or in our studies, we can take those things home as well. In this sort of modern, fast-paced, distracted kind of world, there are a lot of things that make being mindful in the home and with our relationships with our family most difficult. Firstly, there’s complacency. The people we see every day, we think, oh, well, I know them. And I really, in a sense, don’t need to listen anymore, because I know what they think.
Skip to 0 minutes and 42 seconds I know what they’re going to say. And we sort of very often are most complacent about those relationships that are closest to us. Of course, the technology is getting in the way these days. The smartphones are out at the dinner table. People are multitasking while going about family life. And so that really has an effect on engagement and communication as well. So to foster better emotional health in a home environment means perhaps a more accepting attitude and that people may not always be the way that we’d like them to be, but we can be accepting. We can be open.
Skip to 1 minute and 13 seconds We can be non-judgmental, that we can listen without having to perhaps sometimes impose views, that we can create space for a person to be themselves, and we can be authentic ourselves. So all of these things that are really the building blocks of mindfulness are very, very important in the home, because it is, as it were, emotionally so close to home. So in order to bring mindfulness into the home, the first thing is to take time to engage. We maybe get home, put things down, our bag down, and so on.
Skip to 1 minute and 43 seconds But actually to take time to connect with each other, to actually ask a question about how the day’s been and to actually listen to the response; if we’re going to communicate, to really put away the technology, not to multitask, and really connect properly. If there are, of course, household chores we need to get on with then maybe get on with those chores and then, when we do connect, to really connect– to take the technology away from the meal table, to de-clutter the house and also the family schedule. Sometimes the family schedule is so full, we’re so much under the pump that there’s not the space in the day to feel like we really can connect.
Skip to 2 minutes and 19 seconds So there are a lot of things that we can do to make it easier to be mindful in the relationships that are really important to us. The next part of bringing mindfulness into the home is to create a mindful environment. So the amount of actual physical clutter in the house can have an effect on the state of the mind. The way that we connect with the senses– so having natural light, not too much sound and noise, actually having periods of silence and quiet. So the sensory landscape that we live in can be fostered.
Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds And we create perhaps a beautiful environment– having things in our home, for example, that are either useful or beautiful, things that really enrich us emotionally, enrich us even spiritually, depending on what dispositions are. And the other thing is to take time in their day-to-day life for some mindfulness meditation practise in the home– to actually practise it with other family members, if they’re interested too; to perhaps have a space in a house which is somewhere where you can go and have quiet time. So there is a way that we can make a home environment that is conducive to being mindful and also makes it easier for us to step out into day-to-day life in a more mindful way.
Relationships and the home
Watch Craig provide an overview of some of the challenges to being mindful, and then describe what we can do to foster an environment that makes it easier to be mindful in the relationships that are important to us.
Go to Downloads to access some tips on how you can create an environment in your home that can help you be mindful.
These and other tips can be found in the book, The Mindful Home by Dr Craig and Deirdre Hassed from Exisle Publishing.
© Monash University 2020. CRICOS No. 00008C