How mindfulness can benefit relationships
Everyone is involved in some kind of relationship, whether it’s with your family, with friends, at work, relationships with a guy (girl), husband (wife), etc. A person is a social being and without a relationship, life is impossible, except for rare hermits who have abandoned social relations for the sake of understanding and developing relationships with God. But this is not the topic we are going to discuss now. Let’s consider an ordinary person who lives in society, communicates with people and wants to improve his/her life. How good our relations with other people are depends on our inner state, success in life, and wellbeing. Thus, the issue of relationships and their improvement should be studied.
Methods to improve relationships
The techniques presented below are universal and can be applied to any type of relations be it relationships with your friend, brother, husband, wife, boss, or employee. In addition to being versatile, these techniques are also quite simple and effective.
Change your mind
Are you in “friendships” because of what it will give you? These relationships are more transactions than they are emotional connections. There are a lot of psychological methods and tricks that allow you to “repair” a relationship, though in most cases these methods do not change the intentions of a person. This is similar to the method described in Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” There are tricks that can help you win friends, to improve relationships, but the friendship acquired by cunning tricks won’t last long. A person, using such techniques to improve relationships, uses this method for the sake of winning instead of being interested in a person. Once the true motive is revealed, the friendship will end. A change in consciousness is necessary, then the result won’t remind an imitation but will be real.
A giver vs taker
Adam Grand, a professor in organizational psychology, and the author of “Give and Take,” describes why givers often succeed compared to takers. As you can guess from the name term ‘taker’, this is a person that likes to receive help, good attitude, respect and even love with little to no intention to give it back. ‘Givers’ behave in a different way: they are eager to help, to compromise, to improve relations. In his book, Adam Grand shows surprising logic: that the givers succeed more even though they give more. This can work for new relationships as well as for improving the existing one. Being a giver turns out to be very beneficial! It is also commonly written about in relationship books that when you do give in a relationship, it’s best to give unconditionally. This means you are not giving just to get something in return. You are simply giving because you care about the person and you want to share with them.
This is helpful indeed, especially if you are going through tough times with your partner. Mindfulness meditation is an excellent tool to heal the relationship. Marsha Lucas, Ph. D, a psychologist, recommends her patients to practice meditation. First off, it helps to reduce the level of stress and help you to calm down. It will help your brain to change the way you react to stressful situations you face every day even without changing the situation itself. Second, meditation helps to control your mind, to get more attuned to what is going on inside you, your emotional state rather than letting yourself go on ‘autopilot’. You can use meditation when you’re feeling a small amount of frustration or you’re ready to blow up. Just sit down and meditate to slow down. In fact, there is a range of meditation techniques and you should choose the one that works for you.
Have you ever had a tough situation when you felt so anxious or stressed you were paralyzed? Breathing exercises help to relax and slow down the whirl of activity. If you want to get a natural feeling of connection with your partner, you can try this breathing exercise together. You should sit opposite each other, bend a little forward and touch your foreheads together. Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply and slowly. The idea is to regulate your breath so that you do it in tandem. The recommended amount of synchronous breaths is 7 but you can do more if your partner agrees. This pose when you are close to each other, connected through light touches of foreheads and breathing together, brings relaxation and relieves anxiety.
‘Three things’ game
Being mindful in relationships is beneficial. It means you are working to find a way out of complex situations and you are working on improving relationships. One of the ways to calm down a bit is to play a simple game that starts with the phrase “What three things will you…?”. Improvise! What would you like to discover about your partner? For example, you may ask what three things he/she will like to have for dinner, or what three things he/she will take for sure when traveling, or what three things he/she will like to do on weekends. You get the idea. You should not necessarily ask about tricky philosophical concepts, these should be simple things that you can think about even when you are tired.
What you should keep in mind when you are playing a game, or meditating, or breathing in tandem, is that you are doing these, at first glance, silly things, to improve relationships with your partner and if it works, keep doing it!