How Practicing Mindfulness Can Heal Our Troubled Relationships

Mindfulness and relationships by Mindvalley

How Practicing Mindfulness Can Heal Our Troubled Relationships

 

No one ever said long-term relationships were easy.

Relationship often begin as so many happy courtship’s do – filled with blissful mornings, lazy afternoons, and exhilarating evenings?

Then, after the first flush begins to fade, you settle into something a little more stable, a little more secure. You connect with your partner more deeply, more substantially, sharing intimate dreams and desires, hopes for the future, fears you’ve never given voice to. And it’s wonderful.

But, the more you get to know your partner, the more time you spend in each other’s presence, the more you get to know your partner’s habits, quirks, and idiosyncrasies, the more you begin to fight.

Arguments are an entirely natural (and entirely healthy!) part of every relationship. When you spend a lot of time with someone, you’re bound to disagree, likely on quite a few things. And that’s okay! What’s not okay is when those disagreements turn into verbal battles – ones which exhaust and distress you.

If your relationship has been more pain than pleasure lately, perhaps it’s time for a new approach.

 

How Mindfulness Can Help

Mindfulness is a form of meditation that emphasizes present moment awareness. That’s really all it is. Sound simple? It is. But it’s not without its challenges.

Practicing mindfulness can be as simple as taking a few mindful breaths before you step out the door for work in the morning. Mindfulness can be taking a walk around the block and paying attention to all the sounds you hear. Mindfulness can be cooking a meal and staying rooted in the present moment as you dice garlic and chop vegetables.

But how can being more mindful possibly help your relationship?

 

Mindfulness Reduces Reactivity

Imagine the following: you’re in the middle of an argument. You feel the frustration and anger bubbling to the surface, manifesting as a tightening in your throat, your vision hazy with the tears you’re trying desperately to hold back.

Many of us, when faced with accusations, a raised voice, and inflammatory insults, react in much the same way. We get angry. We get defensive. We raise our voice to match that of our accuser. We fling scorn and ridicule, we sneer and we taunt.

It’s a natural reaction. But that same reactivity we reach for under these circumstances to protect ourselves can also be the culprit preventing us from actually sorting out the problem. Practicing mindfulness helps us take a cognitive and emotional step back. Mindfulness not only helps nourish and foster present moment awareness, it also helps us see things more objectively.

How?

Well, mindfulness isn’t just about present moment awareness. It’s about non-judgmental present moment awareness.

Being more mindful means being less reactive. Being less reactive means healthier, safer communication between you and your partner.

 

Mindfulness Increases Empathy

When you’ve had a long and stress-laden day at work, you want to be able to come home, get changed into your comfies, and indulge in some serious down time.

But this could prove challenging when your partner has left you a sink full of unwashed dishes, ate the last of the Thai food leftovers, and forgot to let the dog out who has now done its business on your new bath mat.

Granted, coming home to this scenario would likely be irritating under even the best of circumstances. But on a scale of ‘1 to Definitely,’ how likely would you be to unleash a fury-laden storm of indignation on your partner here? One that would likely incite a rage-infused battle that could eat up another hour and a half of your evening.

Now, while mindfulness can’t turn your partner’s irritating habits into charming quirks, it can alter the way you approach the things that frustrate you about your partner.

The bottom line? It’s all about empathy.

Mindfulness meditation has been proven to structurally enhance the part of the brain associated with empathy: the insula. This increase in brain power helps us better understand our partner’s feelings, and their perspective.

We become naturally more open, more patient, more tolerant. We can more easily focus on what we love about our partners. Like when they had dinner ready for you when you came home a few days ago. Or when they brought home flowers when you were sick with the flu last week.

Mindfulness encourages us to treat our partners with patience and empathy.

 

How to Begin Practicing Mindfulness

So, you’re interested in learning to incorporate some mindfulness into your life? Why not practice awareness of the breath, find a mindfulness based yoga class, or try a guided meditation?

Mindfulness is a versatile skill, one you can practice virtually anytime, anyplace. The key to the cultivation of mindful awareness is consistency. Once you find a method of practicing mindfulness that you enjoy, see how long you can stick with it. Remember, you don’t need much time. Even just 5 minutes a day will do! And the long term benefits of such a practice are well worth the invested effort.

Do you have any experience with mindfulness meditation? Is it something you’d be interested in trying? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 

mindfulness by MindvalleyGuest Authored for Thoughts.Stories.Life.

 By: Mindvalley Academy

Founded in 2003 by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley Academy is an online school for all the things regular schooling forget to teach you.

We bring you world-class courses from the world’s top personal growth authors and brands to allow you to create remarkable transformations in all areas of your life. We know that you are so much more extraordinary than you were made to believe.

Go beyond just having a good career – lead a life that is extraordinary in all dimensions of being human, and beyond. 

 

 

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