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Mindful : December 2014
56 mindful December 2014 Our time gets chopped into so many little bits these days. How do we find the time to really be with our loved ones? At Home Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who conducts a private practice in West Los Angeles, and is author of The Now Effect. Stefanie Goldstein is a clinical psychologist who works with adolescents, adults, couples, and families. They are the parents of two boys, ages 3 and 5. Our world is more connected now than ever, yet paradoxically many of us feel more disconnected tha n ever. How is this possi- ble? Have texts, tweets, FaceTime, Insta- gram posts, and Snapchats replaced actual face-to-face human connection? How do we find the time to really be with our loved ones in such a fast-paced world? We don’t find it. We make it. We ma ke the choice, over and over again, to show up and be present in our interactions, whether brief a nd casua l or for a family meal. Intimate relationships take effort and a deep connection takes the willingness a nd courage to be vulnerable. That said, being vulnerable ca n be scar y and it can feel easier to communicate behind the veil of a smartphone, but all of these electronic modes of communicating give us a distorted sense of connection. Nothing ca n ever replace looking into someone’s eyes and feeling the touch of a loved one. See if you can make the choice, even just once, to put any distractions aside a nd connect with your loved ones. Practice CREATE A FAMILY RITUAL It would be great to find and make the time to connect with your par tner or family once a day. That isn’t always possible, but it is possible to make the time at least once a week. 1. Decide and commit As a family, decide how you would like to spend time together in a meaningful way: a weekly game or movie night, taking a walk in your neighbor- hood after dinner, sharing what each of you are grateful for over a meal, going to the park or for a hike—the possibilities are endless. 2. Unplug and connect What is most impor tant about whatever ritual you choose is that ever yone understands that this is a time to unplug from their devices and connect with each other. It’s not uncommon to get some initial resistance (especially to the unplugging from devices par t) but if you can keep the family time playful and engaging even the strongest dissenters can come around. 3. Be firm but flexible You’re trying to form a new habit, so consistency is impor t- ant. Try to be determined in honoring the ritual at its weekly time. But do take into account that schedules can go awr y, so ifyouhavetopushitadayone week, fine. But don’t let it slip into oblivion. 4. Revise and refresh A ritual may get old or children outgrow it. Find a new one. “It can feel easier to communicate behind the veil of a smartphone, but electronic communication distorts our sense of connection.” Illustrations by Jason Lee getting started: relationships