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What do you do when your heart hurts from others unloving behavior or from the pain of life? Do you get angry and blame someone? Do you shut down or turn to addictions? Do you ignore your feelings? Instead, hold your pain with compassion and gentleness and give yourself permission to cry, which is the god-given way of releasing pain.


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Mindfulness Tips to Save Your Relationship

By Rajiv M Mallipudi, MD

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Improve the quality of your relationships with mindfulness.

Couple on beach

Rajiv Mallipudi, MDMindfulness is used to improve the quality of every facet of our lives in every moment of our day. Mindfulness creates a positive attitude towards our life, helps us feel a sense of calm and ease in our day, builds our resilience, and fosters our gratitude for what we have. More relevantly, it will help you become more centered with yourself and your partner.


When couples go through tough times often they hear from the outside that they need to, “work on the relationship.” While it’s true that you need to work on a relationship, all too often what we need to do is work on us. The way we handle anger and stress in our day is a reflection of how we treat ourselves and our partner. When we fail to resolve issues in our own life in a mature and healthy way, it hinders our ability to resolve differences with our partner. Here is a two-step exercise to use mindfulness to improve your wellbeing.


Exercise #1: Evaluate your unrest state with your partner


            The next time you notice a feeling of unrest, anxiety or stress; reflect on why you feel this way. What are your emotions? What brought you to this state? Who is bothering you? How is your emotional state affecting your physical state? Reflect on your behavior and discuss your thoughts with your partner. Now sit across from your partner and calmly discuss changes and improvements you could make.


            For example, you may discover from this exercise why you are stressed and lash out on your partner when you come home. You may realize your emotions are negative, and what is bothering you is that you are late for dinner because you take on extra work from your boss. Your aggressive behavior is not towards your partner but frustration stemming from your job. Having this open discussion with your partner allows you both to understand the cause of your unrest and fosters a relationship of trust and candid feedback. Your partner will feel valued to be part of this exercise so that you can both learn not react to circumstances, but rather stay centered during stress.


Exercise #2: Express Your Love and Gratitude


            All too often we take for granted the relationships in our life, especially with our romantic partners. We forget how much they love us, and how much we value their compassion and support. To establish a stronger sense of gratitude with your partner, follow up your reflection exercise with this 10 minute mindfulness technique.


            Both you and your partner will sit in a dyad, which is when you sit facing each other and look directly into each other’s eyes. At first you may have a sense of silliness of awkwardness staring at your partner. But as you keep the eye contact, and you will notice that both of you will feel more relaxed. One of you will be person A and the other person B. Person A will go first.


i)               Person A will list all the amazing qualities of Person B for 1 minute. Then Person B goes next for 1 minute and does the same.


ii)             Person A then for 2 minutes lists all the reasons they are thankful for Person B being in their life.  Then Person B goes next for and shares for 2 minutes.


iii)            Person A then lists for 3 minutes all the reasons they are blessed to have Person B in their life. Each sentence begins with, “I am blessed to have you in my life because…” Then Person B goes next for 3 minutes.


This exercise is so powerful because each part goes deeper into why we feel an intimate connection with our partner. For example, most people like a physically beautiful partner with qualities of ambition and drive. Yes, we all are thankful for someone being supportive in our lives. But only you know why you feel blessed to wake up next to your partner every morning. Only you can share why you are blessed to have their unconditional love. After this exercise you will both feel greater self-love for yourself and heighten confidence. Telling your partner your feelings will rekindle love and affection in your intimate relationship.


Take Action


There are numerous articles on other techniques to help enhance your mindfulness. However, what separates Dr. Paul and her Inner Bonding method is how she successfully and clearly she explains how each individual reacts to pain in the wounded self. She has her students explore their addictive behaviors, understand the causes of their stress, and teaches them how to manages their fears in a positive way. Her approach teaches students to love and be responsible for their own pain and joy through “Inner Bonding.” When you implement mindfulness techniques, you will become more centered and in turn flourish the relationships with your partner.

Rajiv M Mallipudi, MD is an internal medicine resident physician and author. During medical school he and his classmates co-founded and co-led medFIT, which is a health and wellness organization that provided personal training and nutrition counseling to the student body. He received the Roessler Research Fellowship and the 2015 OSU Research Day Award for his exploration of the outcomes of physical fitness, nutrition and mental wellbeing on students. He previously served on a mindfulness editorial board, and continues to avidly work with others on building their resilience and shaping their positive outlook on life. He serves as a contributing writer for Vixen Daily in the Success and Inspiration sections.


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