Many of us have probably heard that we “should” meditate because it is good for our mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing, but what if we were told that meditation is the key to continuous intimate relationship satisfaction?
Would we try it then?
It might sound a bit far fetched, but the road to continued relationship satisfaction lies within mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, observing one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and environmental surroundings without the judgment.
By building our awareness of the present moment we are able to engage a situation without action, offering ourselves the ability to acknowledge and accept our feelings, thoughts, and sensory perceptions. From this, we develop a better way to relate to our lives, allowing us to respond more harmoniously to the world around us (and to the relationships we hold).
Now before we go imagining ourselves cross legged, eyes closed, palms faced up, OM-ing into romantic relationship bliss, know that the practice of mindfulness is anything that brings us into our present moment. It could be the practice of yoga, a morning shower, or an afternoon drive. Mindfulness only encourages us to approach each moment with healthy curiosity, delving into our present experience and acknowledging our place in the world around us.
What we are really asking from ourselves is the promise to honestly check in and observe our head, heart, and body. By knowing more about ourselves we are able apply this greater sense of awareness to all aspects of our life.
In applying mindfulness to our intimate relationships, we find a greater relationship satisfaction, better communication, more skillful responses to relationship stress, increased empathy, greater acceptance of our partners, and increased sensuality within physical intimacy. Not too bad, right? But how does this all work? Studying ourselves through the prism of mindfulness allows us to distinguish what actions serve us in the best possible way and what actions do not. By meeting our intimate relationships with the same healthy inquiry we are able to the same.
Mindful attention to the experiences of our present moment provide us the ability to tune in with our partner, allowing us to act more purposefully and less out of reflex within our intimate relationships.
Not only does the practice of mindfulness increase the satisfaction of intimate relationships, it also has the ability to continuously renew the “everything is amazing” honeymoon stage feeling found in new love by causing the same physiological reactions within us. By practicing mindfulness we are in effect changing our brain, altering the regions associated with memory, awareness of self, and compassion. In doing so we impact the synthesis of our neurotransmitters (specifically serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine). These are the very same neurotransmitters that are released when we experience the intoxicating elixir of new love.
I’m sure we have all been told that the honeymoon stage doesn’t last forever, so we better enjoy it while we can. The misconception here is that honeymoon feeling is only attainable for a small duration of time when in actuality it is a sensation brought on through one’s state of engagement. As we work to continuously engage in the present moment of our relationship, we are able to rekindle the honeymoon high that we find early in our romantic relationships.
But what if yoga doesn’t really do it for us and the act of closing our eyes and sitting still makes us more annoyed than tuned-in? Well, have no fear for all we are truly asking ourselves is to engage an act that cultivates the inquiry, observation and acknowledgement of our current moment. If we can honestly engage in our lives in such a way, we will find that with the growth of self comes the growth of our intimate relationships.
So we cook, draw, run, write, hike, drive, move, sit still, do whatever it is that we need to do to anchor ourselves mindfully to the present moment, and encourage our partner to do the same. We develop our mindfulness practice and explore the space we create for ourselves. Mindfulness will lead us to interact in our lives with a greater sense of purpose. Honor the process, share the experiences, have fun, and feel the relationship thrive.
Author: Sean Courey-Pickering
Editor: Travis May