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Bring clarity to your relationship with this enlightening exercise. The deep sense of contentment that comes from being in a successful relationship is something we all long for.

Indeed, loving and being loved is a basic human need. But relationships aren’t always easy. With its focus on being fully present, compassionate, and non-judgmental, it’s no surprise that mindfulness brings an emotional richness to our personal life, but it also works on a physiological level.

No matter how improve your relationship is, maintenance is important. Even if you don’t come in handy, great relationships can be complicated or stable, so putting some effort into finding ways to improve your relationship can be important in working long hours.

At the most basic level, you want to make sure that you are getting enough time together. But if you are looking for ways to improve your relationship happy and healthy, it takes more than hours spent in the same room.

Research shows mindfulness strengthens a part of the brain associated with cognitive flexibility (the anterior cingulate cortex) – affecting your ability to see problems from a different perspective.

It also has a calming influence on the amygdala, the area of the brain that alerts you to a perceived threat – both physical or emotional.

The result? You’re less likely to be plagued with relationship insecurities if you practice mindfulness.


Exercise to improve your relationship

5 simple ways to improve your relationship

All the exercises in this article will teach you how to become more conscious in improve your relationship and help you manage moments of conflict, but the RAIN exercise on the next two pages is particularly useful in helping you gain clarity about what you’re feeling in situ.

Adapted from the Buddhist practice known as Vipassanā, it will also help you begin to unravel the sometimes complex and intertwined threads of your history that have brought you to your current experience.

The next time you find yourself in an emotionally challenging situation, remember the acronym RAIN and give this exercise a try.

The more you work with it, the more skillful you will become in recognizing the truth of your experience, and the more able you’ll be to respond in a conscious, honest, and appropriate way.

If you want to improve your relationship equally strong, sometimes small shifts can also bring big changes. According to experts, here are 5 small ways to improve your relationship.

Recognize in relationship

The first step in the understanding of conflict in a relationship is to be aware of what you’re bringing to the interaction, and you may find there are several layers.

For example, if your partner expects more than you can give, you may feel guilty for not meeting his wishes, while at the same time resenting him for making what you believe are unreasonable demands.

Perhaps you also feel hurt that nothing you do seems good enough, yet also feel compassion towards yourself for trying so hard. Initially, all you need to do is notice your feelings.

Nothing more. It can be helpful to name them, for example,‘ I feel pressured’ or ‘I feel misunderstood’. Also, be aware of any thoughts that arise, such as ‘Maybe I’m just being selfish’ or ‘He always expects more, why does he never see my point of view?’

ACCEPT

The next stage is to work on accepting what you’re feeling and thinking. This isn’t always that easy, as most of us have been taught there are certain thoughts and emotions we simply shouldn’t express or, indeed, feel.

Instead of taking on other people’s interpretations of what is appropriate for you, allow yourself to become open to the fact that these are the emotions you are feeling today. And that is fine. They are simply there.

It may help to remember that no thought or feeling is ‘wrong’. Even unwanted or unpleasant emotions are valuable doorways to a deeper understanding of yourself.

INVESTIGATE

Next, bring an open-minded curiosity to your feelings. Put aside for the moment thoughts of who’s to blame or what you might want to do about the situation. And begin to delve deeper into what you’re experiencing.

You might ask yourself if you can sense the emotion in your body, or if you have ever felt this way before. Using the example above, you might perhaps remember that your father also expected more of you than you felt able to give.

Or that guilt is an emotion you regularly feel. By exploring your emotions with non-judgemental inquisitiveness, you may find some new insights into how you behave in close relationships.

NON IDENTIFICATION

In the final stage of RAIN, while you may still be feeling the emotion of, say, rejection, you choose not to identify with it. You acknowledge the feeling is present, but you don’t let it define you.

In this way you don’t become a person who has been rejected – and all the attendant thoughts and feelings that can go with that notion – but someone who experienced the emotion of rejection.

This can be a deeply liberating experience and one that allows you to bring a calmer, wiser way of relating to people you are in conflict with.

Once you’re familiar with the RAIN technique, use it to help reduce stress and bring focus to any situation


THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED

Do you ever kick yourself for making the same mistake twice? Maybe you always choose to date an emotionally unavailable man. Or perhaps you find yourself ‘mothering’ someone yet again.

Some psychologists might say we’re choosing partners that trigger our childhood emotional issues, with the hope that by encountering the problem as an adult we have a better chance of resolving it.

There are other times, though, when we simply need to change the way we relate to others. This poem sums up the journey perfectly. And the more mindful you become, the sooner you reach the last chapter.

There’s A Hole In My Sidewalk: 

Step-1 walks down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Step-2 walks down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Step-3 walks down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in… it’s a habit. But, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Step-4 walks down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Step-5 walk down another street.


11 mindfulness books on Amazon a definitely worth a read-

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of  mindfulness and meditation or getting some additional tips and tricks to cultivate mindfulness, check out these books:

  • Acceptance- and Mindfulness-Based Approaches to Anxiety:Amazon
  • Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic WorldAmazon
  • Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening-Amazon
  • Meditation for the Love of It: Enjoying Your Own Deepest Experience-Amazon
  • 30-Minute Anxiety Meditation-Amazon

Here are some Journal Articles for you

If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness from an academic standpoint, there are a few key journal articles to put on your reading list:


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