Mindfulness is the state of being conscious or aware of something. It’s the ability to actively live in the present moment, being able to accept and acknowledge one’s own feelings, thoughts, and body in such a way that it induces relaxation and creates awareness without being overwhelmed.
And while this therapeutic technique is self-focused, it can be used to navigate, enhance, and better one’s relationships with others—be it romantic, platonic, sexual, or other.
Truthfully, we could all benefit from using mindfulness on a daily basis, as it brings about a sense of peace, calm, and rationality to our lives and relationships.
Are You Currently in a Romantic Relationship? Do You Aspire to Be in One?
Today, we’re going to dive into how mindfulness can strengthen romantic relationships, as well as different ways that you can practice mindfulness in order to improve and enjoy the very best connection with your partner.
Whether you’re currently in a relationship, or you’re aspiring to be in one, these tips will help you to be your very best self while co-existing with another human being. This technique is sometimes known as MBRE (Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement).
It’s a way in which to help prevent escalated arguments and to use calming reactions to talk through and solve disagreements.
Mindfulness-Based Relationship Enhancement
To take this technique on-board, you’ll be aware of, and practice, four different elements:
- Mindfulness: Accepting and addressing all situations, good and bad, in the present without over-reacting.
- Acceptance: Accepting the situation in the present in a compassionate and empathetic manner.
- Relaxation: Using relaxation to reduce anxiety, anger, and stress in order to experience feelings of well being and calm.
- Self-Broadening: Implementing a feeling of trust, connection and love for those around you.
In this way, you should be able to recognize negative reactions and attitudes that you may be practicing within your relationship, and learn how to change these responses.
You should also be able to prevent making a mountain out of a molehole, and to face bigger challenges without being completely overwhelmed. The goal is to see things in an objective and proactive manner, and to avoid reactive behaviour.
How to Use Mindfulness to Strengthen Your Relationship
Practicing MBRE is not solely focused on how to be better with your partner. It’s also a way in which to be better, more empathetic, less anxious, and more open and present with yourself. This will then automatically add constructive elements and behaviours to your relationship.
Here are nine techniques you could start practicing today that’ll make a big difference in the quality of your relationship…
Phones, while exceedingly useful and entertaining, actually have the ability to disconnect us from the people in our lives. Try to cut down on phone time when you’re with your partner to increase togetherness and to be in the moment. Talk to each other.
In a world saturated with selfies, ‘likes’, and follows, there’s no better time than to actually listen. Instead of sitting down with racing thoughts while your partner speaks, try to forget about what you want to say next and simply listen. Engage, ask questions, be present.
3. Be Grateful
If you make a choice to actively notice how your partner (and the universe) is spoiling you, big or small, you’ll be able to feel gratefulness and happiness more often.
For example, If your partner cooks you a lovely meal or initiates a date night, these are the things that are being kindly gifted to you. Appreciate them and show your appreciation.
4. Silence and Reflection
Being together, in-person or apart, doesn’t mean that you need to engage in constant conversation. Sometimes, merely having time to be silent and reflect is a great way in which to recharge and to bring about calmness and relaxation as an individual.
It will also bring about the closeness between the two of you in that you need not fill every bit of silence in the room but can enjoy each other’s company simply by being together.
5. Rational Responding
It’s easy to lash out, scream, feel overwhelmed, or sport racing thoughts when challenges or arguments come about. Instead, take a moment to take a deep breath and take the time that you need in order to collect your thoughts and respond in a way that’s rational.
So often people speak without thinking or out of pure emotion, and this often leads to regret, shame, or embarrassment. Talking or arguing whilst full of strong emotions is rarely the best way to go about solving an issue.
Take your time, and when you’ve rationalized your thoughts and feelings, come back and talk about the issues at hand.
Create a two-way street of love and care by finding out what your partner loves or what makes them feel good.
Use these ideas to spoil them every once in a while to make them feel appreciated. Both partners should commit to doing these acts of love.
7. Verbal Appreciation
Some may find it difficult to express themselves verbally, in which case even a text message could suffice. On a daily basis, try to say something kind to your partner.
It could be something as small as thanking them for doing the dishes the night before, or something more sexy, like how they pleased you in bed.
8. Reverse Roles
Being able to think about or see things from other people’s perspectives is a great tool in which to be objective and empathetic. When you find yourself in a situation that bothers you, think about how your partner must be feeling.
Maybe they’ve gotten a new job in a new city which they’re very excited about, yet you feel as though your world is crashing down. A relationship is about give and take, and it’s important to realize that this is something exciting yet also conflicting for them.
Together, compromise and a different point of view can help you to solve an issue.
Did you know that when you look into someone’s eyes, your body releases the hormone oxytocin? This is essentially the ‘love’ hormone which increases the feeling of closeness. Try to spend a few minutes a day, or as often as you can, looking into the eyes of your partner as a tool to strengthen your bond.
At the end of the day, relationships take work. And when the honeymoon phase is over, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the importance of communication and compromise.
By choosing to make mindfulness a priority in your relationship, you’ll not only find things to be better with your partner, but also with yourself and your loved ones.