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Mindful : June 2016
By Lili Powell Illustrations by Asia Pietrzyk S TAY How to keep your composure during difficult conversations. You stare in stunned disbelief. “Did she really just say that? What the hell’s wrong with her? Didn’t she hear what I just said? I’m never going to get through to this person.” All of a sudden, your high-stakes conversa- tion has just taken a sharp left turn. Your good intentions and well-laid plans have flown out the window. You start to feel off balance. Heat rises up the back of your neck. Breathing becomes heavier. Palms sweat. Mouth dries. Thinking scrambles. Focus narrows. Run away or lash out? Now isn’t exactly the time to excuse yourself so you can go down the hall and meditate for 20 minutes. Instead, you’ll need to collect yourself in the moment to practice mindfulness in action. Whether you are what I call “mindful- curious,” new to mindfulness, or an experienced practitioner, chances are you’ve heard a lot about solitude, stillness, and silence. For sure, many solo practices that require these conditions are invaluable for training yourself to become more self-aware in a nonjudgmental way. Yet to practice being mindful in social inter- Conversations, from a simple chat to an in-depth hang, are great opportunities to connect with others. They can also go very wrong, leading to mutual misunderstanding or even a shouting match. In high-stakes conversations, a little attention and a few simple techniques can make all the difference. STEADY 72 mindful June 2016 practices insight