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Mindful : February 2014
Love...Actually Okay, so you’re not into the whole Valentine’s Day thing. But with $18 billion spent every February on flowers, chocolates, gifts, and restaurants in the United States, somebody is. So why not use the occasion to really celebrate love? Here are a few ways to say “I love you” during this heart-stamped month that don’t require a credit card. Listen—really listen—to your par tner. That means giving them your open- minded, genuinely interested attention, according to mindful communication experts Hope Mar tin and David Rome. Take the time to fully absorb what they’re saying. Body language, word choice, tone of voice—you’ll be amazed at what you may have been missing. Offer your full presence when you’re together. Don’t look at your phone. Resist the usual complaining about work. Slipping onto autopilot—a you-do- this/I-do-that dynamic—is no fun and can erode any relationship, says Marsha Lucas, a neuropsychologist and the author of Rewire Your Brain for Love. Value the little things your partner does for you—and do some in return. Rela- tionship coach Josh Wise suggests that couples take it a step further: discuss the kindnesses you receive and how that makes you feel. Empathy. It’s a necessary ingredient for healthier relationships of all kinds. According to psychologist Ronald Siegel in The Mindfulness Solution, “When we can actually be with someone and empathize with his or her experience, even when it’s painful, the relationship deepens.” ● Good Goes Viral Doing good is catching. So says the documentary film Good Virus, narrated by Pay It Forward author Catherine Ryan Hyde. The film— which includes interviews with James Fowler, the author of Connected, and Har vard researcher David Rand, the coauthor of SuperCoopera- tors—explores how kindness is our default condition and examines how it gets passed around. ● February 2014 mindful 15 Before Good Virus hits the festival circuit, watch a clip at mindful.org/ goodvirus. Illustration by Gavin Potenza