Family! Recently, I attended my sister’s beautiful wedding in Wyoming. It was a small, intimate ceremony that consisted of about 30 family members, most of whom traveled from other states. The majority of the two families gathered for meals over a four day period. Bringing families together can create happiness, but can also create stress and anxiety. Family dynamics differ within each family. Mindfulness can calm the chaos within these events. Looking up family dynamics, I came across a great definition from Livstrong.com:
Family dynamics are the interaction between family members as well as the varying relationships that can exist within a family. Every family has its own dynamic, which manifests in its own way. Uncovering these relationships can help you better understand your family as well as others’, including how families function.
Mindfulness as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn is paying attention in the present moment, on purpose, non-judgementally. This is important to remember when attending large family functions. During these times, practicing mindfulness can benefit you and those around you. Here are some take aways from my experience with reuniting with my family and meeting new, extended family.
- PAUSE – Take moments to pause often and pay attention to your breath. Be aware of your body and balance yourself with mind-body connections.
- LISTEN – Listen to others and what they are discussing or expressing. Engage in the conversation without judgement and project positivity when communicating.
- LET GO – Be in the moment and let go of situations you can not control. Don’t stress or ruminate thoughts.
- PATIENCE – Be patient with yourself and others. Remember what you are feeling, others may be feeling as well.
- BE GRATEFUL – Don’t take family gatherings for granted. Appreciate the small things by being present in each moment and enjoying family interactions.
Dr. Seuss quoted, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” This followed me through the weekend. The joining of my family with my brother-in-law’s family was an exciting and joyous time. Overall the environment was friendly and peaceful where many memories and stories were told and new bonds were made.
What are your extended family dynamics like? What benefits do you think mindfulness adds to family engagements?
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