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MIND, BODY & SOUL
Mindful Friendship

by Ashley Hunt

Author- Ashley Hunt

You might know that mindfulness can help improve your health, reduce your stress levels and boost your mood, but did you know that your personal mindfulness practice can affect those around you too?

Meditation teacher Ashley Hunt gives us 3 ways to achieve mindfulness when it comes to your nearest and dearest, and what better time to do it than the summer, with holidays looming and quiet weekends in the garden on the agenda? 

Friendship
  1. BE LESS REACTIVE

When you are mindful, you are aware of how certain people and situations are affecting you, and you learn to look at these circumstances objectively and without attachment. This means that you are able to respond to situations instead of reacting to them, avoiding unnecessarily stresses and strains. When a situation arises that might normally spark a negative emotional reaction, try take a few moments to absorb before responding.

In a relationship this means fewer screaming matches and more calm conversations. You’ll find that this has an enormous impact on the way you’re able to communicate with those around you, and best of all you’ll avoid unnecessary stress and angst.

 

  1. ACCEPT ONE ANOTHER

One of the elemental aspects of mindfulness is acceptance; when we are mindful we learn that many things cannot be changed and we must learn to accept them as they are. A lot of our suffering comes from wanting things to be a certain way and feeling let down when they are not. This rings true in a relationship when you place expectation on one another which can leads to inevitable disappointment.

There is relief to be found in accepting that things (and people) are as they are. Maybe there are certain personality traits in a partner or friend that annoy you, but what do you really get out of feeling annoyed by them? It is likely this aspect of them will never change, so would you not benefit more from accepting them as they are than needing them to change? How bad is this particular personality trait anyway, and does it need to affect your relationship as much as it does?

 

  1. SET BOUNDARIES

By learning to be mindful, you begin to understand yourself better. When you understand yourself you start to learn what you are ok with and what you are not ok with. When we let people do things or get away with things that we are not ok with we become resentful and hateful, and often they don’t even know what they have done.

We are better off respecting ourselves and others enough to set boundaries early on, to let them know what bothers us. It is in everyone’s best interest that we are clear and open about this, even though at first it may come across as not very nice. While you may not be the sweet, people pleaser you once were, you are opening yourself up for more loving relationships and your loved ones will be able to notice the difference.

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