Mindfulness in relationships




noun: mindfulness

  • 1. 
the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.”their mindfulness of the wider cinematic tradition”
  1. 2. 
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

In couples counseling the process of becoming aware of relationship patterns and one’s own part in them is a key to insight and can be a helpful motivation for change.

In a study , published in the journal Mindfulness, researchers used subjective self-report and objective saliva sample—to find out how stressed 114 couples were after they discussed an unresolved issue in their relationship for 15 minutes. People who were higher in mindfulness were more likely to be securely attached to their romantic partner—and secure attachment, in turn, was associated with lower cortisol-levels after the conflict.

The researchers speculated that mindful traits can reduce the hyper-vigilance associated with attachment anxiety, helping people get a handle on negative thoughts, even if their bodies still show signs of stress. In other words, attention to present-moment experience helps control anxiety.

These results suggest that “mindfulness” is a concept that covers a number of specific tools. The tools that are most beneficial to you depend on which specific skills you need help with. People who often ruminate (which research shows tend to be women) may benefit most from practicing nonreactivity—letting thoughts and emotions enter and leave consciousness without getting caught up in them. People who have trouble describing emotion (which research shows tends to be men) may benefit most from practicing doing just that—labeling thoughts and emotions with words.

Overall, by seeing stressors and one’s own part in them more clearly, mindfulness allows us to respond more skillfully with what is needed—either higher or lower, faster or slower stress activation—and move forward with greater equanimity.

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