By Louise Chester of www.mindfulnessatwork.com
If we have a tendency to “miss the moments” in our everyday life because we’re not operating in a state of mindfulness, imagine how much more intentional we have to be about the practice of mindfulness during wedding planning and on one of the biggest days of our lives.
Robust research reveals that we are not present in our own lives or with those around us for nearly 50% of our day. We are constantly revisiting events, trying to work out how they could have gone better or imagining future scenarios in an effort to mitigate disasters that are probably never going to happen. This propensity is shown to significantly erode our happiness and wellbeing.
When we are present, we often wish events or people were different, wanting life to conform to our will, to be just how we imagined it to be. In other words, we rarely ‘hang out’ in the kind of neighbourhood where we are content with things just as they are.
This is not our fault, however. We haven’t evolved to be hard-wired for happiness, but for survival. This neurological wiring has kept us safe for millennia. Our brains are Teflon for the good things, but Velcro for the ‘bad’. And in the run-up to what is supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives, it is important we know this.
So, to hardwire your brain for greater happiness before, during and after your wedding day, here are some helpful hints, tips, and techniques for you to train yourself to become more present.
This will increase your physiological and mental wellbeing as well as deepen your relationship both with yourself and with others:
- Do one thing at a time—Do not multitask by being on a device while simultaneously conducting a conversation with someone. Give them your 100% presence.
- When you exercise, just run / walk / cycle / swim— And every time your mind wanders, bring it back to the sensations of your body and awareness of your surroundings.
- Take short breaks to practice bringing a warm presence to yourself, your body, thoughts and emotions without immediately reaching for a distraction—Choose to do this for just 5 minutes at a time, maybe with a guided mindfulness practice such as our Potential Project Apps or Insight Timer (all are free).
- Notice if there’s a constant, vigilant voice in your head—This voice may be rehearsing the ‘what ifs…’of your event. This will distract you from what you’re supposed to be focused on and you will do both things less well. When you need to plan, allocate time for this and focus fully. This is efficient and the decisions you make will be of the highest quality.
- Remember, Suffering = Pain x Resistance—Nothing goes 100% according to plan, but this only needs to cause suffering when we resist ‘what is’. Notice how often you use the word ‘should’. I joke that this word should be banned. Acknowledgment of life’s small or large curve-balls allows us to take an audit of ‘what is’ in each moment and then respond in a calm and value-creating way.
- Work at re-wiring your brain to notice the things that do go well— At the beginning and end of your day, count your blessings on your 10 fingers and thumbs. They can be anything from clean air and beautiful buttons to friendships and good health.
- Choose to bring some kindness to yourself every day—Starting with yourself isn’t selfish. To be of service, to be kind and loving to others, we need to put our own oxygen mask on first. Modelling this gives others the permission to do the same. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
These practices will all build your ability to enjoy the run-up to your wedding. They’ll help you let go of needing things to be 100% as you planned. They will enable you to be fully present with loved ones and remember the day with joy, knowing that you showed up as your ‘best self’ to begin your life in 100% presence with the one you have chosen to accompany you on the next leg of this wild and crazy journey known as life.
May you have a mindful wedding planning experience and be in 100% presence on your wedding day.