How Meditation Can Improve Relationships

Health & Wellness By Karla

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We all know that meditation can help us be more present, clear our mind, reduce stress levels, improve our sleep, boost our productivity, and so much more. It’s incredible what we can achieve by simply closing our eyes, focusing on our breath, and staying in the moment. Find out how meditation can help improve our relationships - from family and friends to coworkers and significant others. 

Learning to Listen

Listening is one of our bodies natural reactions to sound and that’s why sometimes, we all tend to do it pretty automatically and space out in the middle of someone’s sentence when our mind starts wandering, thinking of the next thing on our to-do list, emails we didn’t get a chance to respond to, and what to cook for dinner. We also have the tendency of being really impatient to say what’s on our minds, that we often don’t even listen to what the other person has to say. Having a good and consistent meditation practice has been known to improve our focus and sense of listening so that we’re able to actually process the words coming out of the other person’s mouth. We do that by staying in the present moment and taking the time to generate the best reply. When we're already configuring what we’re gonna say before the other person even finishes their sentence, we risk them getting hurt, annoyed, and feeling like we don’t value or respect their opinion. This kind of behaviour damages relationships and makes it hard to communicate in order to fix things (as communication was the problem to begin with). The only way to change this is by doing the work, getting into our own heads, focusing on staying present when someone’s talking, and checking back with ourselves to see how our conversations play out. Nothing can change overnight, but it never will if we don’t accept our mistakes and start working towards improving our listening technique..

Being More Compassionate

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Everyone has their own set of problems they deal with on the daily, and no matter how aware (or unaware) we are of this fact, we somehow seem to think our problems are the biggest, the worst and the most important. There’s a quote that goes “ If we all put our problems on the table in front of us and we're told we could pick any of them back, we would all choose our own”. Why is that, you ask? Because we’re all used to our own problems; we know how they make us feel, we know how we deal with them in our life situations, and even though we sometimes think “Oh, how I wish I had his/her life and his/her problems”, in reality, we really don’t. Who knows how those “other” problems would translate in our own life? All of that being said, it doesn’t give us the right to succumb to public self-pity and ignore everyone else and anything they might be dealing with. Meditating helps us deal with our own problems but it also makes us more compassionate towards others and their problems. What may seem like a stupid thing to worry about to us may be the worst possible thing for someone else. Accept that, acknowledge that, respect that. Remember: you never know what the other person is going through and what he/she struggles with.

Building Patience and Tolerance

We live in a world when we want everything right this instant, and our patience and tolerance meter is running pretty low. We get nervous when we’re in traffic, when there’s a line at the grocery store, when we’re waiting for our significant other to get ready, and even when we shop online and see that the time of delivery is estimated in 5-7 business days. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of today’s living, but there’s no reason to think we can’t do anything to change it. Meditation and focusing on being present, learning how to make our breaths deeper and turning our attention inwards creates a sense of peace and calm within our bodies which we can tap into more frequently once we get the hang of it, and work on building our patience and tolerance. That way, we can channel our inner zen moment when we find ourselves stuck on the highway, waiting for someone who’s running late, or standing in the grocery store behind a woman who’s taking forever to find her credit card. Breathe in, breathe out.

R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

We all know the famous lyrics, but do we really know how to respect one another in real life? We are all so very different; with our own opinions and backgrounds that shaped us into becoming the people we are today. Respecting where the other person comes from is one of the most important aspects of every relationship, from marriage, family, and friendship to work and general public encounters. We’re all known to impose our beliefs and opinions from time to time, firmly believing how only we are in the right, while everyone else is wrong. Respecting and “agreeing to disagree”is a concept we’re not always keen on adopting, but working on it through meditation definitely helps us open our mind to seeing things from another perspective, and making us realize that maybe ‘our way is not the only way’, but just one among many others. Every situation or story has more than one side, and it’s really important to respect people’s opinions, emotions, and feelings even if we don’t agree with them. When treating others with respect they deserve, not agreeing on certain topics doesn’t always have to present a problem, it can actually become an awesome ground for discussion which can be motivating, inspiring, and a great learning experience for everyone involved.

Relationships are hard to define and even harder to explain. We’re all different people, shaped by the circumstances we grew up in and the ones we’re currently surrounded by. Learning how to be a better listener, have more compassion, build more patience and tolerance, and become more respectful is a task we should all have on our daily to-do lists. Meditation can help us tackle all that, improve our relationships and keep them healthy. Arguments and disagreements are a part of life, and will always be there to challenge us, but if we approach every situation with an open mind and an open heart, focus on really listening what the other person has to say and respect their opinions even if we disagree with them, we’ll be able to see things from a different perspective and maybe even change our own reactions, beliefs, and opinions. We’ll never know unless we try.

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