How to Have Mindful Relationships

Do you argue with your partner on a regular basis? If you do, you aren’t alone. It isn’t hard to find couples who have intense verbal spats several times each week. In many cases, a relatively minor error (such as running five minutes late or leaving the toilet seat up) snowballs into a heated exchange everyone in the neighborhood can hear.

Recent studies indicate mindfulness can greatly improve your connection with the important people in your life. This includes your intimate partner, family members, and work mates. If another person says or does something that upsets you, a mindful approach helps you to pause and examine the strong reactions you tend to have. It gives you time to find out if your reaction is linked to an old trauma and evaluate the best way to respond to your partner before you withdraw or lash out thoughtlessly.

What does mindfulness involve?

Mindfulness is a state of mind that encourages self awareness, openness, compassion, and focus on the present moment. It involves consciously taking your thoughts off autopilot and taking your attention away from anything negative in the past or future. A person who is mindful is completely focused on what is happening right now. Mindfulness is a skill you can learn to calm yourself down when you feel agitated, depressed, or distressed.

Most people tend to make unwise decisions when they are triggered or in a rush. Mindfulness helps you to step away from your usual habits and patterns so you can see your relationship from a new perspective. The ability to pause and think about what you are experiencing can change the tone of your interactions and improve your relationships. It is easy to see why mindful individuals tend to make better long-term partners.

As mentioned before, mindfulness is associated with openness. When you discover the underlying reasons for your strong reactions and share these reasons with your partner, it helps you to break free from old, negative habits. Sharing your vulnerabilities also helps you develop more compassion for yourself and more compassion for your partner. These types of interactions strengthen your emotional connection and inevitably brings you and your partner closer together. 

4 Ways to Build More Mindful Relationships

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to having mindful relationships is ego. Your ego is your sense of self-esteem or self-importance. If you have an unhealthy ego your actions are likely dictated by your desires and your fears. This means you are more likely to play the victim, become defensive, display arrogance, try to control situations, try to control other people, take negative feedback personally, and talk negatively about yourself.

If you have a healthy ego, you have the ability to experience situations without reacting. You also see the benefits of constructive criticism without viewing it as a personal attack. Transitioning from an unhealthy ego to a healthy ego is possible if you improve your mindfulness. You can bring a more mindful approach to your relationships and your life by practicing the four skills outlined below.

    1. Give other people your attention

Mindful relationships require that you pay full attention to other people and stay in the present moment without judgment. This means setting aside any other activities you may be engaged in and listening closely to your partner without grumbling or scowling. You also need to pay attention to your bodily sensations so you can detect any early warning signs of anger, frustration, defensiveness, or boredom. By recognizing these signs early, you can reign in your emotions before they ever get the chance to run out of control.

    2. Accept yourself and others

Acceptance is key to building trust in a relationship. If your partner makes a mistake, he or she is more likely to open up, listen to your suggestions, and grow if he or she is first met with acceptance and understanding. If you reject or resist your partner when conflict arises, he or she is more likely to hold his or her original stance. This scenario decreases communication and makes it harder for both of you to move on from the issue.

Your first response to conflict has a big impact on the long-term success of your relationship. Instead of rehashing negative events from the past or offering solutions for the future, first try to accept and understand your partner in the present moment. If you try to fix the issue before you show acceptance, you may end up pushing your partner away over time.

    3. Appreciate other people

If you show appreciation for your partner you will have a closer, deeper relationship. This is because you and your partner need to feel valued. Make it a habit to look for and point out the positive things your partner does. If your partner makes a mistake, you can show appreciation for him or her in the present moment rather than focus on the error.

You can show sincere appreciation in a variety of ways. For example, you can give words of praise, a smile, a warm hug, or meaningful gifts. If you are enthusiastic about showing appreciation, your partner will likely respond in kind. The result is a relationship that is more positive, supportive, and engaging.   

 4. Allow People to Be Themselves

When you allow people to be who they really are it lets them know it is safe for them to be honest and transparent. When the people around you feel comfortable, they are more likely to express themselves without fear of any negative consequences. If you foster this type of judgment-free environment, your romantic partner, friends, family members, and work mates are more likely to make positive contributions to joint tasks or projects. Individuals who are restricted or constrained in their self-expression are often less communicative, less creative, and less motivated.

Mindfulness enhances your self-awareness, helps you to be more attentive, lowers your negative emotional reactions, improves your emotional control, and makes you a more compassionate person. If you want to build mindful relationships at work, at home, or in your personal life, try to incorporate the four skills mentioned above in your daily routine. Your interactions with other people play a key role in influencing how you think, feel, and act each day. By making these interactions more mindful, you will build relationships that are worth holding on to for years to come.

author avatar
Angel Rivera
I am a Bilingual (Spanish) Psychiatrist with a mixture of strong clinical skills including Emergency Psychiatry, Consultation Liaison, Forensic Psychiatry, Telepsychiatry and Geriatric Psychiatry training in treatment of the elderly. I have training in EMR records thus very comfortable in working with computers. I served the difficult to treat patients in challenging environments in outpatient and inpatient settings
Scroll to Top