How to Be Mindful Saying Goodbye

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Meditation for Real Life

“In our everyday life we are so busy moving on to the next task or the next interaction with someone that it can feel like we never finish one thing before starting the next. A mindful goodbye allows you to fully absorb your experience so that it can become part of your learning.” — Gretchen Schmelzer, a psychologist and the author of “Journey Through Trauma.”

As you prepare to say goodbye to someone you care about, breathe in and be aware of your body and your emotions. Notice if there is any tightness in your chest, or if you are already thinking about missing the person.

Take a deep breath and instead, just try to be in the present moment with the person you are saying goodbye to. Look the person in the eye and listen to the sound of his or her voice. As you say goodbye, really listen to what the other person says.

Use the goodbye as a moment of gratitude and a moment of reflection. What are you grateful for from your interaction with this person? What are you taking with you? Take a few deep breaths as you reflect on your gratitude.

Goodbyes are also an opportunity to consider impermanence and reflect on the constant state of change in our lives. Saying everyday goodbyes — to friends or family members or colleagues — helps us develop the muscles we need to handle more substantial losses that come with being human — the loss of loved ones, or our own health or jobs.

By staying present for these small, manageable goodbyes, we can learn to be present for the bigger goodbyes.