MBRE is a set of techniques for couples who are already happy together (i.e., not in distress) to help them improve their stress-related coping mechanisms.
Every couple will face life challenges and stressors at some point in their lives. As these difficult times in life arise, it is beneficial for couples to have skills that promote cooperation and positive, adaptive coping strategies. This is where mindfulness-based relationship improvement comes into play.
The ultimate objective of mindfulness-based relationship enhancement is to learn how to be present in the moment, to accept your individual and collective challenges, and to take your time reacting and making decisions in order to avoid the negative impact of rash decisions made in the heat of the moment.
Mindfulness: A Definition
Before we dive into mindfulness-based relationship enhancement, it’s a good idea to first learn about the concept of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as paying attention and being aware of your current experience. It also requires being open, curious, and willing to accept that experience.
When you act mindfully, you do not react to thoughts or emotions that arise in your mind. Instead, you act as a non-judgmental observer who explores and acknowledges feelings without reacting immediately. Thus, the roots of mindfulness can be found in Buddhist or Zen meditation.
How can mindfulness assist you? When you learn to practise mindfulness, you learn how to cope in all aspects of your life. Mindfulness is a way of approaching life and the world rather than a skill.
Mindfulness improves all aspects of life by allowing you to think more clearly, being “in the moment,” and increasing your ability to cope with stressful events.
What Exactly Is Mindfulness-Based Relationship Improvement?
Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement is simply an application of mindfulness techniques to the realm of relationships. MBRE fills a similar need as care based pressure decrease (MBSR), which was established by American teacher of medication Jon Kabat-Zinn.
It teaches couples how to prevent and diffuse disagreements and conflict rather than allowing them to escalate, which can happen when couples react in haste, anger, or anxiety.
MBRE has four components
MBRE is founded on four major pillars, which are as follows:
- Mindfulness: It is the practise of not judging all experiences in the present moment (good and bad). This entails being aware of the present moment but not reacting to it.
- Acceptance: Acquiring the ability to accept experiences as they are results in increased compassion and empathy for one’s partner and oneself.
- Relaxation: It is the practise of eliciting the relaxation response, which aids in stress management and improves feelings of well-being, clarity, and the ability to remain calm.
- Self-broadening: Self-expansion entails cultivating a greater sense of trust, connection, and love for everyone.
It also entails learning about your own patterns of interaction in your relationship, as well as your feelings and thoughts. It’s possible that you and your spouse have developed negative ways of thinking or interacting with one another that could be improved.
What’s the advantage of mindfulness in a relationship? Being mindful as a couple, in general, means not getting caught up in both the minor annoyances of life and being overwhelmed by the larger life challenges.
It entails being more adaptable and non-judgmental, accepting differences, being less reactive, and more objective. All of these qualities, both as individuals and as a couple, will serve you well as you face the world together—as well as simply spending time with one another.
The mindfulness-based relationship enhancement techniques listed below can be used as part of this set of strategies.
- Meditation on loving-kindness with a partner: Loving-kindness meditation focuses on self-care and concern for others. It entails learning to feel unconditional love and opening your mind and heart to your partner. It also represents selflessness and the removal of barriers.
- Learning to be mindful of everyday pleasant events: This technique entails becoming open to the present moment without judgement. This allows us to notice the small details in life that we might otherwise overlook. It also encourages gratitude and appreciation for pleasant experiences.
- Enhancing intimacy via mindful body language and eye-gazing: Mindful touching and eye gazing involve touching your partner or looking into your partner’s eyes and noticing whatever you feel in the moment.
What are the proven advantages of mindfulness-based relationship enhancement? There is substantial and growing scientific evidence to support the beneficial effects of mindfulness in improving relationships.
Among the numerous advantages of MBRE are:
- Relationship satisfaction has increased.
- Acceptance of one’s partner has grown.
- Individual well-being has improved.
- Reduced relationship stress
- Self-reported empathy has increased.
- improved ability to deal with relationship stress
- Emotional stress responses have improved.
- Improvements in relationship perceptions (before and after disagreements)
- Communication styles that are more adaptable
- Relaxation response has improved.
- Creating a buffer against chronic stress
- Reduction of emotional arousal
Mindfulness-based relationship enhancement strategies can be used individually (for example, practising mindfulness on your own) or as a couple. These strategies help you become more in tune with yourself and your partner, increase your empathy, and see problems as challenges to overcome rather than threats to your relationship.
Consider the last time you were unhappy in a relationship. Chances are, instead of working together and understanding, one or both of you were upset and confrontational. While stress can cause conflict and negative emotions, practising mindfulness allows you to experience compassion and acceptance in the present moment, which will improve the outcomes of your relationship.
How can you do mindfulness-based relationship enhancement at home on your own? One way to accomplish this is to use MBRE techniques on your own.
Below is a list of quick mindfulness strategies that you can use as a couple to begin incorporating mindfulness into your relationship.
- Disconnect: When you’re all together, put your phones away. Be present in the moment and communicate with one another.
- Pay close attention: Rather than planning your next words, pay attention to what your partner says. Inquire and be observant.
- Feel thankful: Take note of the times when your partner makes you happy and express gratitude for those occasions.
- Maintain silence: Enjoy some quiet time together. Connecting doesn’t always require speaking.
- Respond: Instead of reacting with anger or emotions, take a deep breath and respond to problems or challenges that arise in a rational manner.
- Make a vision: Create a list of ten to twenty ways you would like to communicate with one another in the future, such as “we support each other’s growth” or “once a month, we do something new or fun together.”
- Engage in acts of kindness: Ask your partner what makes them happy, and commit to doing those special things on a regular basis. Buying flowers or holding hands are two examples.
- Daily appreciation: Make it a habit to express gratitude to each other once a day. Take a moment away from distractions to describe something the other person did that made you feel good.
- See through new eyes: Slow down for a moment and look at your partner with fresh eyes. Notice things about your loved one that you normally take for granted, and you’ll fall in love all over again.
- Gazing in one’s eyes: Spend a few minutes gazing into one another’s eyes. Oxytocin, the hormone that promotes bonding, is elevated by gazing at each other for an extended period of time.
- Embrace: Before you say anything when you first see each other at the end of the day, embrace without speaking until you both feel relaxed. This stimulates the vagus nerve, which aids in the relaxation response.
- Breathe together: Together, practise mindful breathing by slowing down your inhale and exhale. This practise will also cause you to relax.
- Conversation that is mindful: When communicating with one another, practise being open-minded and non-judgmental. Be present in the moment without reacting or judging, whether you’re having a deep conversation or a good laugh.
- Be understanding: Consider your partner with compassion. In what ways has he or she been harmed? Consider your partner to be a person in need of compassion, not an adversary.
- We should all meditate together: Search YouTube for a loving-kindness meditation or another type of meditation and practise it together. Mindfulness meditation is an easy and healthy practise that a couple can do to grow closer.
- Touching with awareness: Spend time intentionally touching each other rather than mindlessly. Be mindful of what you’re doing and concentrate on the present moment.
- Think before you speak: Before speaking with your partner, think about what you want to say and make sure you are clear on what you want them to know and the outcome you want from the conversation. Also, be mindful of how you are feeling at the time.
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