This is a guest post by Prudence Sinclair.
As you may know, I began a meditation practice over 30 years ago when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and given only 6 months to live. Meditation is what helped me to center myself and remove fear from my thoughts. Through a mindful meditation practice, I was able to tap into my higher consciousness and recognize my true power to heal.
During that time, and certainly since, I learned that a mindfulness practice has numerous benefits for our mind, bodies and spirit. But did you know that a mindful meditation practice can also help strengthen the relationships in our lives?
An Unexpected Bonus
All relationships rely on good communication and a genuine desire to understand where the other person is coming from. But, because we’re all human, we can easily get caught up in our own needs and perceptions and default to arguing instead of really hearing one another.
I didn’t expect the major changes in myself as I began my meditation practice so many years ago. Not only did I feel more calm and centered, but I found myself to be more understanding of others and was able to let things go when I didn’t get my way.
My friends and loved ones noticed and began to change their own behavior. Before I started meditating, my stress levels and emotions were off the charts, as you can imagine they would be when you are told at 23 that you won’t make it to 24. My interactions with others were often negative because we were all feeling way too much.
But then I began meditating and everything really changed. I cannot tell you what a profound shift this was for me and for my relationships.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness simply means to be in the present moment – fully – and to observe it, not judge it. That’s really it. Sometimes I practice mindfulness as a formal meditation and sometimes I simply allow myself to be fully present in whatever activity I am doing like driving or eating, or having a conversation with someone.
Why is Mindfulness So Powerful?
How can such a simple practice create such profound changes in our life and relationships? Being present in the moment helps us to become aware of our own thoughts, emotions and behaviors. For most people, thoughts and emotions completely control their life instead of they themselves controlling their thoughts and emotions. A mindfulness meditation practice puts YOU in control of your entire life, from your health to your relationships and everything in between.
5 Ways a Mindfulness Practice Can Help You Improve Your Relationships
Here are just some of the ways mindfulness can help your relationships:
It’s a De-stressor
A majority of people are under constant stress these days. When we’re stressed, we are unable to think clearly or really listen to others. Mindful meditation helps alleviate stress so that our interactions with others can be genuine, warm and honest.
Think about it, when you are stressed and/or angry, you look for things to take your stress and anger out on. You also, whether subconsciously or otherwise, scan the environment for things that PROVE life is stressful and awful.
When we are mindful and remove the stress, or at least the effects of stress, we remove the negative filter, allowing ourselves to perceive situations as they really are.
You Will Become a Better Listener
Most people are awful listeners because they don’t give their full attention to what the other person is saying. They let their mind wander, thinking their own thoughts while the other person is speaking!
When you practice mindfulness, you practice being in the present moment FULLY. You get into the habit of being fully present no matter what you are doing. You will be SHOCKED at how much of a better listener you become and how this can drastically improve your communication and relationships with others!!
An Increase in Self-Awareness
A lot of people are self-involved, but not that many are self-aware. There is a BIG difference.
Being self-aware means you know what you are feeling in any given moment. Our emotions are really a way for us to navigate through the world and our life. But so many people shove their feelings way down.
Mindful meditation places you in the present moment and heightens your awareness not only of your outer environment but also your inner environment.
Awareness of Others’ Emotions
Mindfulness raises your overall emotional intelligence. This means you become aware of your own emotions and others’ as well. Being in the moment and seeing how the other person is feeling tends to calm a situation that might otherwise quicky become heated and out of hand.
More Able to Forgive
Mindfulness is not just about being fully in the present moment; it’s about observing the present moment without judgement. When we can observe without judgement, we begin to lose our need for finding faults with ourself and others. This puts us in a space to be far more able to forgive and let go of hurts.
I never imagined all those years ago that my commitment to a mindful meditation practice could improve not only my physical health, but the health of my relationships. I encourage you to begin your own practice so you can improve the connections you have with loved ones.