The real difficulty in practicing mindfulness lies in reconciling with the madness of the daily life. "I don't have the time", this is what I often hear from my clients. This can be surely true, but what if I ask you to practice mindfulness even if you are not uncomfortable sitting cross-legged on the floor? Indeed you can also practice in concealed mode without affecting your time at all. It's enough simply to change the way we deal with our activities.
One of my favourite exercises is Mindful Listening not only because you're increasing your ability to reduce stress, but also because you're improving your relationships by creating a deep communication with someone else. Miscommunication may be due to the lack of listening. If you think about it, you may find many examples where you were sure what the other person would say in a particular situation and then when it came down to it, you realise that you were wrong.
Actually, we are not really that good as listeners, we don't like to deeply listen to other people. Usually when we are in a conversation and the other person is speaking we are planning what to say in rebuttal as we anxiously await our opportunity to jump in. Thinking about what to do next if the speaker is boring. Thinking what to answer back when we are arguing. Basically, we very rarely truly listen. And this can be a source of stress.
In order to do this exercise it's important to have two focuses:
1. Your breathing
2. The need of the other person
When you're in contact with your breathing, you're also in contact with your feelings and that's important to prevent reactions that can trigger bad or unhealthy emotions.
Also, if you're focused on the other's needs during a conversation you can understand better how to reach a compromise with them.
How to put into practice Mindful Listening
1. When the other person is speaking, just keep quiet and listen to what they are actually saying; without judgement.
2. If your mind starts wandering just bring it back to your breathing and the words that you're listening to.
3. Make contact with your feelings during the conversation.
When you give them your full attention, they will feel listened to and by staying in contact with your breathing you will be able to respond without reacting.
As you can notice you don't need to sit and take time to meditate, you can do it every time someone is talking to you.