Mindfulness is a form of Buddhist meditation practiced by a growing number of people to help them combat stress and become more aware of their emotional and physical being.
Being mindful involves focusing on what is happening in our lives in the present moment – tuning into sounds, sights and physical sensations whilst trying to reduce stressful thoughts and mindless brain chatter.
Practicing this on a regular basis enables us to take notice of, and lessen our negative, habitual reactions to life’s pressures.
Mindfulness expert Padraig O’Morain claims the meditation technique – most commonly used to tackle depression and anxiety – can also be used to resolve and prevent relationship issues.
He explains: “Areas of the brain that are linked to switching our perspective are enhanced by mindfulness practice.
“For example, it can help you see a situation from another person’s point of view. It can encourage us to step out of tired patterns and to see our relationship with new eyes.”
Over time relationships can easily fall into set patterns and habits in the way that couples think about, see, and talk to their other halves.
Mindfulness can help couples to break free from these habits and change the way they view the relationship. As a result they will have better understanding of each other and how to relate.
Just by taking a few moments to tune out from the rush of life, you can learn to pause before interacting with your partner.
This can be useful in many situations, particularly if you are about to say something critical. By considering your actions beforehand you can choose softer and gentler ways to express your feelings, which won’t be as negative.
Mindfulness in this sense will help you to be more aware of what you are saying and how you are saying it. You may notice that words you tend to choose are unhelpful – making things worse rather than better – but mindfulness gives you the opportunity to change the entire tone of your relationship for the better.
Furthermore, mindfulness can help you to learn how to appreciate your partner once again, and vice versa. The numbing effect of habit is that after being with your partner for a long time you will have forgotten to notice particular things about them – such as characteristics that once made you smile. Mindful meditating allows you to view your partner through different, more appreciative eyes.