Whether it’s your spouse, colleagues, friends, acquaintances or family members, practicing mindfulness daily can help strengthen your relationships. By showing you how to take a step back from the people you’re closest to, you can learn to appreciate them more as well as show them how much you care about them.
By becoming mindful of the love in your life and the special bonds you share with people, you open yourself up to an abundance of opportunity. And this isn’t limited to romantic love. Mindfulness can help you deepen your sense of self-love and loving friendships, too.
Breaking Down Blockers
Ego is one of the biggest – if not the biggest — factors that comes in the way of having mindful relationships. While a healthy ego is an essential aspect of human character, an unhealthy ego (i.e. a neurotic ego) can cause havoc at home, work or in social situations.
While a healthy ego allows us to observe ourselves and situations without reacting, an unhealthy ego is driven by our fears and our desires. This shows up when we take things too personally, become defensive, arrogant, when we play the victim or have a need to control others and/or situations. An unhealthy ego is also at the root of negative self-talk.
Mindfulness can help us transition our unhealthy ego into a healthy one so we can better nurture our existing relationships whilst opening the way for new ones.
The Benefits of Healthy Relationships
While it’s been ingrained in us that exercise, a healthy diet and positive attitude keep our body and minds in optimal shape, little is said about our experience with other people.
Relating to one another on a healthy frequency is probably one of the most important parts of our life experience. Humans are social beings and considered ‘pack animals’. We primarily need one another to survive. Not only that but our connections with others help define who we are as people.
In fact, research proves that people who have more social support tend to have better mental health, cardiovascular health, immunological functioning, and cognitive performance. One study even showed how being socially integrated can lead to greater health, life satisfaction, and longevity.
Here are three simple ways to strengthen the relationships you have by tapping into mindfulness:
Start Paying Attention
By giving your fullest attention to the other person, you are already embodying mindfulness. Derived from the Sanskrit words for "attend" and "stay", the notion of mindfulness allows you to stay present to the here and now without judgment. For example, if you are being given critical feedback at work, you may immediately want to start being defensive. Instead, try to focus on exactly what is being said without reacting. Truly listen to your boss or colleague as they relay the feedback. By doing so, you can acknowledge if there’s any merit to the criticism as well as determine the best way to respond.
Appreciate the Small Things
We all want to be appreciated and validated. When we show appreciation for other people, it helps nurture a deeper and closer relationship. Giving praise instead of criticism, and acknowledging someone in any small way you can, can go a long way to building relationships, and reinforcing the foundations of trust and respect.
Kindness is like a magnet – it draws people in as reaffirms feelings of safety and security. When we practice kindness, not only do we feel better about ourselves, but we help others feel good, too. When you are consciously and mindfully kind to those around you, notice how quickly opportunities for positive connections increase. These, in-turn will help you deepen your existing relationships while heightening your own sense of self-worth and wellbeing.
Ultimately, building mindful relationships requires developing self-awareness and self-expression: two key components for emotional intelligence. Cultivating and adopting these three practices of mindful relationships can help you foster healthier relationships in all areas of your life.
Don’t know where to begin? Let the Hydrean help kickstart your mindfulness journey and deepen your relationships today: www.hydrean.com.