Mindfulness is the act of being fully present in your daily life, paying attention to your five senses, and not being overly reactive to things that are happening around you . You are being mindful when you actively notice the sights, scents, tastes, sounds, and sensations around you. You are also being mindful when you bring awareness to your thoughts and emotions . We are all guilty of stressing out about the future, and worrying about our past. However, when we are being mindful, we are actively present in the moment we’re living in. As human beings, we are all capable of mindfulness.
Mindfulness and polyamory, in my opinion, go hand-in-hand. For one, mindfulness can be incredibly helpful when you are anxious about your partner going out with their other partner. It isn’t always easy to be the person left at home when you are in a consensually non-monogamous relationship. However, when you are practicing being mindful, you may be able to focus on what you are doing and be present in your own life, rather than worrying about what your partner is doing. A daily meditation practice can help you become more mindful throughout your life.
In fact, one study suggests that, when individuals practice mindfulness activities, they develop an expanded and non-judgmental state of awareness in the present moment . This meant that these individuals were able to break out of their negative thoughts more easily and see more benefit from the challenges they experienced. Rather than reacting negatively to challenging situations, they were able to see opportunities for growth and self-actualization. Therefore, engaging in a daily meditation practice or other mindfulness activities may be helpful if you are struggling with your partner having other partners, or finding yourself anxious about what your partner is doing when you are not together.
Mindfulness can also be helpful when you are in a polyamorous relationship, simply because you are actively juggling more than one relationship. Being present and mindful when you are with each partner is incredibly important. If you are spending time with one partner, and constantly texting another partner, the partner you are spending time with in person is likely to begin feeling left out, disregarded, and unimportant. Therefore, it can be helpful to let your partners know that you want to be present with other partners, and to extend the same courtesy to them all. Checking in every few hours is different from having a constant stream of texts.
However, when you can truly be present and mindful within your relationships, you will likely feel more fulfilled by each relationship, and your partner(s) will also feel more loved and cherished. Setting aside time for one person, to engage in an activity together, can be helpful for your mental health – especially when you are practicing mindfulness. Too often, we worry about work or the future when we should be focused on our relationships, or even just at home relaxing.
Try challenging yourself to be mindful at least once per day over the next month. Whether this is mindful eating, meditation, or being mindful during a conversation, start to notice when you are getting distracted by invasive thoughts and worries, and refocus on what you are doing in that moment. If you are interested in learning about simple mindfulness activities you can utilize, check out my article on The Family Therapist website: https://www.thefamilytherapist.org/blog/how-to-be-mindful-and-practice-mindfulness-activities
As you practice these mindfulness activities, notice how you feel over time. Are you finding yourself enjoying your time more? Does your anxiety start to decrease? Are your relationships getting closer or feeling more fulfilling? Pay attention, and keep noticing!
 Mindful. (2018). Getting started with mindfulness. Mindful. Retrieved on September 20, 2018 from https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/
 Sullivan, S. M. (2019). How to be mindful and practice mindfulness activities. The Family Therapist. Retrieved on March 2, 2019 from https://www.thefamilytherapist.org/blog/how-to-be-mindful-and-practice-mindfulness-activities
 Garland, E. L., Gaylord, S. A., and Fredrickson, B. L. (2011). Positive reappraisal mediates the stress-reductive effects of mindfulness: An upward spiral process. Mindfulness, 2(1), p. 59-67. doi:10.1007/s12671-011-0043-8
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