For: Manj Weerasekera
Mindfulness in Dating
You’ve just endured the date from hell. She hated the restaurant, your jokes fell flat, a hasty exit was beat and you were left at the end of the night alone and bewildered. Or perhaps you’ve just come out of a long-term relationship and cannot stop picking over the wreckage of who did what and why.
Whenever a relationship goes wrong, the temptation is to replay the whole thing ad infinitum. To go over every tiny detail until the whole event is so deeply ingrained in your brain it’s like a mini ODEON has set up shop in there.
Reliving this movie doesn’t just cause us pain in the present. It dramatically affects our future, as we drag our past into it. So why do we insist on playing it, over and over again?
We do so because we are addicted to our thoughts.
Not convinced? Try stopping them for a minute.
Mindfulness can help. By focusing solely on what is happening right now, in the present moment, we can stop all those damaging, nuisance thoughts.
It is not as simple as trying not to think them. If someone tells you not to think of a red car what do you immediately do?
Instead you need to acknowledge the thought, then switch your attention. Specifically to what you can see, hear, feel, taste and smell. When you focus hard on all five senses there isn’t enough room inside your head for anything else.
Like all skills mindfulness takes practise. And whilst it’s easy to fit in whenever you find a spare few minutes in your day, it’s better to purposefully dedicate some time to it. Simply focus exclusively on the information coming to you through your five senses and watch your brain slow down, your body relax and that terrible movie disappear.
But getting rid of the old movie is only half the story. If you want to experience true and lasting relationship success you need to create a new one. I call it VAKKOG as it uses all five senses; Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic (physical), Kinaesthetic (emotional), Olfactory and Gustatory.
This is an incredibly powerful way to create the type of future you want. By using the five senses you don’t just see your future, you experience it.
Begin by getting very clear on what you want to happen. What is your goal? It could be anything from getting a potential partner’s phone number at a party to seeing an existing partner walk up the aisle. Do not be vague or negative and do not allow the old movie to take over the new one.
For example, imagining a first date ‘not going wrong’ simply isn’t powerful enough to draw a new future to you, or inspiring enough to get you to make the changes you need to make. All it will do is pull your energy and attention back to negativity. Instead of moving towards ‘great’ you will move towards ‘not wrong’. It’s only once you have a positive, powerful image that really excites you that you’re ready to begin.
Now bring up the image. What do you see? It’s really important that you do this in the first, as opposed to third, person. For example, you wouldn’t see ‘you’ sat at a table in a restaurant. Instead you would see only the things that you could see: the pattern on the table-cloth, your hands on the cutlery, the woman or man opposite you.
Be as specific as you can.
Next, what can you hear? For example, the sound of their voice, your own voice, confident and calm, the restaurant background music.
What do you feel physically? Maybe it’s the cool touch of the wine glass in your hand, the soles of your feet resting on the floor, the feel of your shirt against your skin.
Now what do you feel emotionally? You may be excited that your date is going so well, intrigued to learn more about this person, relaxed because you have complete control of the situation and it all feels so right.
Smell is one of the most underrated but evocative of the senses so really make an effort here. What can you smell? The food in front of you, your own aftershave, perhaps even the candle that has just gone out because you’ve been there for so long…
And finally, what can you taste? Whether that’s the steak in your mouth or even just your own saliva, this final sense check will really help make your experience real.
Now that you have the movie it’s up to you to play it. Make sure that you see, hear, feel, smell and taste your perfect scenario. Don’t be casual about it. You need to make it as intense as you can, really live it every time you do it. And make sure you do it often. Every time you have a chance to quietly sit down and close your eyes for a few minutes, press replay. Then sit back and watch it happen in real life!