How to be more mindful in your relationships

In Blog by Celine RedfieldLeave a Comment

mindful-relationships-celine-redfield-art-therapy-portland-inner-growth-therapyThe past two weeks we have been discussing being distracted and disconnected in our lives and relationships. It is so common to walk through life not being grounded in the present moment and losing track time. Lately, I have been noticing that I am having difficulty being present in my own life. I will do things and not remember doing them or misplace things because I am not present or mindful at the time. I notice that it happens when I am busy and distracted. And what I really need to do it is to come home to my breath and body. When we can be mindful and present then we can show up for ourselves and our relationships. Lets check out 5 ways we can be more mindful in our relationships:

1) Pause and breathe before you respond to your partner

When we get triggered in relationships it can be detrimental for us to react instead of respond. It is understandable why our default is to want to react. This is the limbic system, the part of our brain that prepares us to fight, flight, and freeze. It is the reactive part of our brain. However, if we want to be mindful in our relationships we must  be smarter than the lower reactive part of the brain. To do this then we have to catch ourselves, before we try to win the battle that our brains tell us that we are in. The way to do this is through pausing and breathing.

If you can feel yourself wanting to fight, tell your partner, I got triggered, I need a minute to recalibrate. Take a few minutes to discover what is happening to you internally through introspection.

Practice a self-compassion break.

This consists of internally acknowledging to yourself, “ouch that hurt.” Breathe and acknowledge that you have been triggered. Bring equanimity to the situation by saying, “everyone hurts at some point in their lives.” Then you can put your hand on your heart and state,” May I be released from these feelings of x”. I highly suggest using this tool that was developed by Kristen Neff which is called the self-compassion break. You can learn it here.

Now that you have cared for yourself and your needs; you can now respond to your partner in a mindful way where you both are heard and respected. Because you have taken the time to care for yourself, you can be more present and intimate with your partner. This honesty and openness will help strengthen and grow your relationship.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.” ― Sharon Salzberg
2) Take a break from your phone

I talked about how we have become more dependent on our phones than ever in the last few articles. They disrupt our ability to be mindful of the present moment. They take us out of our lives and into an alternate reality, which is okay to do some of the time.

Our phones do not allow us to be present in our relationships and disrupt quality time. But if you truly want to live a mindful life, I would suggest you work on spending less time on your phone. I know that it sounds hard but start small. Here are some ideas:

  • Try turning off your notifications from your social media, emails, and text messages. If this feel like too much start with just your social media.
  • Try setting limits to how much you are looking at your phone, eg. specific time allotted in a day, only looking at it once an hour or once every several hours
  • Try downloading an app that limits and blocks you from being distracted from your phone like Freedom
  • Leave it in another room
  • Leave it on silent in your bag
  • Take a phone free day once a week

By being less distracted by your phone, you will be able to be more available for the present moment, which will make you more mindful in your relationships and less anxious.

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).” ―James Baraz
3) Take Responsibility
Part of being in relationships is messing up sometimes. Everyone is unmindful from time to time. But in a relationship when partners are unable to take responsibility, this can be harmful to the relationship. When we take responsibility for our actions we learn about ourselves. Usually, we tend to not make the same mistake again because we don’t want to hurt our loved ones or our ego again. By taking responsibility we allow our loved ones to see that we are not perfect which will allow for more intimacy and vulnerability in the relationship. This will allow your partner to possibly reciprocate this behavior.
You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. ~Jim Rohn 
 4) Watch Less TV together

TV can feel like a good activity to do with your partner because you are technically spending time together. But really TV does not create any mindfulness or connection. It is a great way to tune out and not be present. Since it takes you into another world, your senses are being dulled and you are not connected to the present moment. If you want to build connection with your loved ones turn off the TV. Try doing these activities with your loved ones instead: play a game, make food together, go for a walk. All of these activities require connection and presence.

Time is a currency of relationships. If you want to invest into your relationships, start by investing your time. ~ Dave Willis
5) Embrace Before Bedtime

Embracing your partner can create more connection and positive feelings between you and your loved ones. You release oxytocin when you hug your partner which reduces stress and creates bonding. By embracing your partner before bed, you are eliciting the relaxation response in both you and your partner. This will help with better sleep and a sense of peace and ease, which makes it easier to be more mindful in your life.

A hug is like a boomerang – you get it back right away. ~Bil Keane

Do you need help learning to be more mindful and emotionally intelligent? I am accepting new clients. Please contact me at celine@innergrowththerapy.com.

How do you practice mindfulness in your relationships? Please comment below.

Have a beautiful week.



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