We often stop really seeing and hearing our significant other, so mindfulness in your relationship is a key free resource to add spark and life. Instead of relying on who we think our partner is based on history, we learn to see them anew and get better at connecting without a ton of words.
Learn what mindfulness is and the difference between meditation and mindful awareness practices.
First Mindfulness Exercise
Turn off the electronics and find a few minutes to give undivided attention to your partner (or child, or parent). Find something you haven’t noticed before and relay that, in exquisite detail, to your significant other.
The brain is an anticipation machine, so getting it to slow down and see a familiar face with new eyes is not natural for grown-ups, yet that is exactly how to fall in love all over again, feel sexy, or rediscover the changing being in front of you.
Ellen Langer has researched the impact of really noticing new things about our familiar loved ones, and she found that the person receiving the mind-full attention views their partner as more trustworthy and honest. And that’s because they are – they are actually showing up!
Second Mindfulness Exercise
Take a few minutes to gaze into your partner’s eyes. This exercise leverages our biology to increase connection because extended gaze releases oxytocin, “the bonding hormone.” This powerful hormone is released when mothers breast feed or when lovers have an orgasm, therefore this simple mindfulness exercise releases a hormone that fosters our most basic biological connections.
Extended soft eye contact is the second mindfulness exercise described.
Third Mindfulness Exercise
Leverage that vagus nerve of yours (and theirs)!
Upon coming home, embrace each other without talking and wait for that little relaxation that you feel when a baby relaxes against you. When you embrace your partner and allow yourself to silently remain belly to belly and be present in your body, you reset both of your nervous systems.
Don’t let go until you both have let down, you’ll know it when it happens.
In conclusion, these three short simple mindfulness exercises help us break through those automatic assumptions about our partner and really see, hear and be with the actual live person, in the present moment. And believe us, THAT has a big pay-off in relationship satisfaction for both people.
Additional resources for this episode:
- Ellen Langer – The Power of Mindful Learning
- Tara Brock – Finding True Refuge: Meditations for Difficult Times
- Suzanne Midori Hanna- The Transparent Brain in Couples and Family Therapy
- Stan Tatkin – Wired for Love
- These and other resources have been collected for you on our Resources page!