Now more than ever, we live in a world where mindfulness is incredibly important. In our fast paced, technology-filled lives, the act of being truly present and in the moment has become quite rare, especially in our relationships. How, in the whirlwind of life, work, kids, and responsibilities are you supposed to create truly mindful moments?
Thankfully, there are many easy ways to make your relationship more mindful, and it’s definitely worth the effort. Mindfulness can make your relationship less stressful and help you grow and connect with your partner at a deeper level.
These mindfulness exercises can help improve your sense of connection with your partner:
Mindful Listening & Eye Contact
How often do you put all of your attention into listening to the person you’re talking to? Without allowing your own thoughts to interrupt, thinking about what your response will be, tuning out?
When we mindfully listen to our spouse, we hold space, pause often, and keep our attention focused. Don’t let your mind wander to other topics or what your response might be. Instead, be fully present in the moment and notice their mannerisms, tone and vocal fluctuations. Pause before asking questions or making remarks and refrain from interrupting or interjecting. When they finish speaking, take a moment to fully digest their words, then respond thoughtfully.
Deep listening is simultaneously an act of love and a form of meditation. It can be practiced with anyone, and its only condition is that the listener has no agenda other than giving their full attention to the person they are listening to, with openness and non-judgment.
While practicing mindful listening, it’s important to also make meaningful eye contact. Sitting face-to-face with a spouse while maintaining eye contact allows both sides to see the other’s vulnerability and innermost feelings and thoughts. It also helps you listen more mindfully by helping you focus.
Just as you’re mindful of your breath in yoga or meditation, you can bring this awareness into your relationship to connect on a deeper level.
Make time to intentionally sync your breath. Try sitting back to back and meditating together. Match their breath to create one unified inhale and exhale. Breathing mindfully together will help you tune into other small nuances of their body language and words in the future.
You can also use breath to practice mindfulness any time you feel frustrated with your partner. In that moment, just before you express your annoyance, pause. Take a deep breath in through the nose for 5 seconds, then release the breath for 5 seconds out of your mouth. Take this time to change your reaction.
Yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature are amazing ways to practice mindfulness as a couple, and these activities naturally decrease stress and help regulate emotions.
Couple meditation provides a great way for you and your partner to bond and tune yourselves to one another. When you take a few minutes of your day to meditate with your partner, you significantly increase your chances of having a more intimate connection and meaningful interaction.
Unplug from Technology
The holy grail of mindfulness and the thing that so many of us find most difficult: Turn. Off. Your. Phone. And your laptop. And your tablet. And your TV. Take some time where you're just together. Create tech-free time each day when you can sit down and talk and avoid using phones during meals or before bed.
Exploring mindful gratitude can help to train your mind to see what’s right rather than what’s wrong, and there are a variety of ways to practice gratitude.
Some techniques worth exploring include:
Letter of Appreciation – putting to words in the form of a heartfelt letter all that you love and appreciate about your partnerDaily Expressions of Gratitude – being mindful to share your thoughts of appreciation with your partner, such as thanking them for taking on an extra household chore or preparing a mealDinnertime Gratitude Practice – Taking a moment before dinner to express all that was wonderful about your day – your partner included
Both science and experience show that mindfulness practice helps to promote healthy and happy relationships. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to embody the wisdom, love, and patience that is inherent in these practices. When exploring your relationship mindfully, remember to harness compassion for yourself and your partner as you learn to navigate your relationship in new ways. Old habits might take some time to shift, but when both hearts are open, even the transition phase is witnessed as a beautiful and necessary part of the journey.