How Practicing Mindfulness Can Benefit Your Relationship

Jobs, kids, politics, money – all these things can stir up nerves. And when you bring those stressors into your relationship, it can lead to a fight.

So what can you do to de-stress?

One effective way to combat stress is the practice of cultivating “mindfulness.” Mindfulness can help you manage your emotions and act on them appropriately, which is crucial for positive and constructive communication with your spouse.

What Is Mindfulness?

When you are sitting on your couch, getting ready for bed, or driving to work, consider where your thoughts wander. Do you think about the stress of your job? Something your spouse said to you five hours ago? Your to-do list for the next day?

All these things can cause unnecessary stress – and deal with the past or the future. When we practice mindfulness, we live in the present, and we rid ourselves of worrying about anything else.

If you want a simple definition, remember these three words: observation without judgment.

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your awareness on the present moment. You are calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts – but not judging them.

How Mindfulness Can Benefit Your Relationship

If you have been with your partner for a number of years, there are plenty of moments in the past to reflect on. There will always be plenty of milestones in the future for you to cross.

Instead of focusing on eternity, focus on the present moment. Where are you and your spouse? How do you feel when you are with your spouse now?

When we consciously focus on the present moment, and only the present moment, we have a lot less mumbo-jumbo floating around in our heads. We can place more of ourselves in the present moment and be more available for our partner.

Let’s think of an example. It is dinnertime, and your spouse is running a few minutes late. Until your spouse arrives home, you have a choice.

You can either think about all the times that they have been late, what they could be doing, and other things that irritate you about your spouse. All these thoughts are assumptions, reflections from the past, or feelings of anxiety about what you will say when your spouse arrives home.

Alternatively, you can start to practice mindfulness. What is happening in your world in the present moment? You are at home. You are not eating. You are waiting. That is what you know. That is what you are experiencing now.

When we practice mindfulness, we prevent ourselves from fabricating false assumptions or bringing up past feelings that may irritate us. When our spouse comes home, then we can focus on the present moment with our spouse.

Of course, mindfulness is not always as easy as it may seem on paper. If you want more relationship advice about mindfulness and other methods to improve communication and handle conflict, talk to a Bend relationship counselor.