Extending your mindfulness practice to wedding planning can be a great way to lower your stress levels and help you cope with the ups and downs of this emotional process. If you're looking for ways to incorporate mindfulness into your wedding planning, look no further than the advice of expert Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist based in Mill Valley California and author of The Stress-Proof Brain.
Focus on the Present Moment
"Present-moment focus helps you avoid worrying about what will happen in the future or overthinking and regretting the decisions you made about the wedding," Greenberg says. "Mindfulness can also help you allow and accept the present moment, whatever it contains. To flow with it, rather than fight against the inevitable."
Allow and Accept Your Emotions
Another tenet of mindfulness is allowing and accepting difficult emotions. Greenberg says, "Wedding planning is stressful. It's normal to feel stressed and anxious at times. You don't have to be mad at yourself for being anxious or feel like you have to be happy all the time."
Make Peace with What You Can't Control
There are bound to be hiccups in the planning process, and there may be things that spin out of your control that you'll have to make peace with in order to move on and enjoy the bigger picture. "You can't control everything so that there are no last-minute snafus or unexpected obstacles," Greenberg says, "Learn to accept your lack of control and try to deal with unexpected problems calmly without freaking out."
Learn to Let It Be
"Mindfulness means getting rid of the 'shoulds' and letting things be the way they are," Greenberg says, "Planning a wedding can be joyful at times and stressful or exasperating at other times." Rather than getting roped into the idea of how you're supposed to feel or what things are supposed to be like at your wedding, apply the mindful approach of letting go of these attachments.
Practice Compassion and Patience
"Mindfulness can help you have a more patient and open-hearted attitude to others," Greenberg says, "Repeated practice of mindfulness can strengthen the compassion centers in your brain." Extending compassion to your vendors, guests, family members, and your partner can allow you to connect better with them and navigate the waters of your experience. Greenberg suggests, "One way to find more compassion is to think of the similarities between you and the other person. You both want the wedding to be meaningful and joyous, even if you have different definitions of what that means." This kind of thinking may help you through some of the more difficult conversations or hiccups in the planning process.
Lastly, recognizing when you need to be compassionate toward yourself is a big teaching of mindfulness. "Being compassionate to yourself means realizing you are only human and don't have to be perfect," Greenberg says, "Connecting with your own authentic needs can help you set appropriate boundaries with others."