Mindfulness isn’t a new practice. However, it’s seen a lot of traction in recent years as a way to help with stress management and anxiety.
At its core, mindfulness is the practice of staying grounded in the present. Anxiety and worry tend to stem from a fear of the unknown. You might find yourself wondering “what if” and it can carry your thoughts into negative places.
But, mindfulness can be beneficial for more than just anxious thoughts. It can also serve as a tool to manage relationship conflict.
Whether a lack of healthy communication is causing problems or you and your partner find yourself arguing more often than not, let’s cover a few effective ways mindfulness can help.
Pause and Breathe
One of the ways people use mindfulness for anxiety is to pause when they’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed. They take a break, close their eyes, and focus on slow, deep breaths. They concentrate on how their body is feeling in that very moment, and let all other thoughts pass by.
You can use the same technique in the middle of a conflict.
If things are getting heated, pause. Take a few deep breaths and re-center yourself. Just a few moments of mindfulness can bring you back to the present. It can prevent you from bringing up past hurts or saying something out of anger that you might later regret.
Embrace Your Feelings
Far too often, we try to push down our feelings or ignore them completely It’s a defense mechanism, and a way to keep arguments from escalating.
But, emotions demand to be felt. They can only be bottled up for so long. Unfortunately, the longer you try to hide them, the stronger and more overwhelming they’re likely to become.
Mindfulness encourages you to feel your feelings. React to them. Are you angry? Hurt? Embarrassed? When you’re more in tune with your feelings, you’re more likely to express them appropriately.
Give Yourself Space
Part of acknowledging your emotions also includes giving yourself the space to decide how to handle them. For example, if you’re upset with your partner, let them know. What you do after that, however, requires mindfulness.
What are you going to do because you’re upset? Are you going to stay in the moment and try to work things out immediately? Or, do you need time to walk away and cool down?
There’s no wrong option here, but mindfulness can keep you grounded and present enough to make the choice that’s best for your situation. If you do need time to step away and cool off, you’ll come back with a renewed mind that isn’t so hung up on anger. That will likely lead to a more peaceful resolution.
Letting Go of Resentment
You’ve probably heard the old saying, “forgive and forget,” and while most of us would like to think we do that, it’s not always easy. When someone hurts you — especially a romantic partner — it’s tempting to hold onto those hurts, even if you do it subconsciously.
Unfortunately, the one you’re really keeping on the hook is yourself. When you’re thinking about those hurts and won’t let go of them, they will become a burden on your relationship.
When you choose to accept resolutions in conflict, you’ll be able to grow as individuals and as a couple. Resolution without resentment should always be the goal, and focusing on the present makes that easier.
If you’re interested in learning more about couples therapy and how it can make a positive impact on your relationship, feel free to contact us. It’s much more than an anxiety management tool, and it could be exactly what you need to improve your relationship communication and turn your conflicts around.