Having just finished an 8 week Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR) this summer with faculty and staff at the University of Missouri, I noticed a particular common outcome for many of the participants. “My relationship with my husband/wife/partner/co-worker is better.”
There were a number of reasons why these relationships had improved.
1. I listened to my partner without interrupting.
2. I let my partner get angry or frustrated without needing to fix it.
3. I was able to tolerate negative emotions without running away.
4. I was able to let my negative reactions come and go without acting on them.
5. I am happier.
These improvements in relationships are backed up by current research which explores the how relationships improve with increased mindfulness. Wachs and Cordova (2007) found a significant correlation between mindfulness and global marital adjustment. In essence, “more mindful partners literally see each other more clearly, regard each other more nonjudgmentally, behave more responsively toward each other, and navigate challenging waters of intimacy more gracefully.”
Mindfulness increases the ability to both communicate emotions and understand the emotions of others. Mindfulness also helps you think twice about reacting to another person’s anger or stress–being able to access a sense of ease even in the midst of difficulties that often arise in relationships, be they marital or work.
Note: I offer two-for-one specials for spouses or partners on MBSR programs which are taught at each University of Missouri campus at least once a year (3 times in Columbia) and there is an excellent online version for free by my colleague Dave Potter if you can’t get to an in-person class. The next in-person classes start in September. If you work for the University of Missouri you can get 100 incentive points in 2016 for successfully completing any of these in-person and on-line programs.
Don’t wait to improve your relationships. Join an MBSR program in your area and let mindfulness come to the rescue.