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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

How to Taste the Joy of in Our Relationships

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 3rd 2011


familyThere’s no denying it; it’s the way our minds and relationships evolve over time. What am I talking about? The way our relationships fall into automatic patterns of nonverbal and verbal communication. In many ways this is helpful, we can read our friend’s or partner’s cues pretty quickly, on the other hand, we stop paying intentional attention and can miss out on some very sacred moments that lead to feelings of connection and well-being. Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and internationally acclaimed author Thich Nhat Hanh says:

"Suppose a friend who has come a long way to visit is having a cup of tea with us. Mindfulness helps the time we spend with her to be a time we won't forget. We're not thinking of anything. We're not thinking of our business, our projects. We just focus our attention on this moment when we're with our friend. We're fully aware that she is there and that we can sit with her and enjoy a cup of tea. Mindfulness helps us to taste the joy of each moment very deeply." 

How can we learn to turn off our smart phones, turn down the volume of our minds and reconnect with the people around us? It seems like such a simple idea, but in this day and age where we’ve become accustomed to distraction as a way of life, it’s actually very challenging.

So be relieved if you thought you were crazy because you’re so addicted to distraction, it’s very common. 

It takes more intention nowadays than ever before to do exactly what Thich Nhat Hanh is suggesting, to put the busyness in our minds aside and pay full attention to the people around us. It’s not a call for perfection; it’s a call to simply practice and see what happens. 

What would happen if in the morning, instead of being at breakfast and checking all your emails, tweets, and text messages, you put the smart phone down for a moment and either paid attention to the other people at the table, or to the environment around you? 

I say let’s keep it simple and allow this to be our experiment. Choose a time when you’re sitting for coffee, tea or a meal with another person or persons and set the intention to completely shut down your phone for a period of time and pay full attention to the people as if they truly mattered. 

You might say, “I often spend time with people without my phone, this is no big deal.” Still, doing it intentionally with awareness makes a difference. 

Allow this to be your experiment for the week, let us know what you find.



Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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