Parenting is highly correlated with noise. This includes the bleepy-bongy toys, the joyous uncontrollable laughter, and the epic meltdowns. But with all that noise going on outside your head, the last thing you need is all the noise going on inside your head. This includes worries about whether the toys are appropriate, the anxiety of there not being enough laughter, and the stress over those meltdowns.
All of that internal noise can be hard on your relationship. Because you might just start struggling to really “hear” and understand your partner. And that’s not good for anyone. Luckily, meditation for mindfulness has been shown to reduce the volume. Here’s how mindfulness can help your relationship.
Scientists publish studies on nearly a monthly basis regarding the benefits of meditation on health. And not just mental health. Doctors use meditation to successfully manage everything from blood pressure to irritable bowel syndrome. Which is probably the only time when relaxing your bowels in the living room might make sense.
But some of the best mindfulness benefits for parents come in the form of emotional and psychological boosts. Such as:
A study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy suggests that mindfulness can increase your ability to pay attention to your partner. The researchers concluded that this mediation effect improved the “moment-to-moment emotional interaction.” But how they knew your partner has such drastic mood swings is anyone’s guess.
Additionally, the attentiveness appeared to help couples recover the emotional intimacy that’s destroyed by distraction. Which is another mark against all that phubbing, bro.
Meditation helps people cope with stress. It’s kind of a given that when you feel less stressed, you’re more in the moment. After all, when you’re not freaking out about booking the trampoline park for your kid’s birthday, you’re going to be able to be more receptive to how awesome your mate is.
Connecting Emotion To Intellect
So, getting down with some mindfulness training can actually physically change your brain. The same way extra effort on shoulder days helps you fill out your hoody, meditation beefs up your middle prefrontal cortex (mPFC). This is the portion of the brain that connects your emotions to your smarts. What this means is that you can look more rationally at the way you’re feeling.
Being able to have this perspective lets you not come in so hot when your partner does something like change the channel. She doesn’t hate you. She’s just not down with watching bowling.
Get Mindful Together
Even better than you getting into meditation on your own is getting into it with your partner. Sharing the practice together helps you troubleshoot the inevitable meditation roadblocks that may jump up. And as you both start learning more about the inner workings of your loud minds, you’ll probably start learning more about each other as well.
While you can find a real, live meditation teacher out in the wild, you can also check out some of the many apps and websites that claim to provide training in mindfulness meditation. One of the more popular is Headspace. The app provides guided meditations that you can tailor for relationship help. Plus, it allows you to buddy up and track progress.
That means you always have the opportunity to look at your partner and be all “I’m more mindful than you are, Neh neh neh-neh neh.” Although that might be a bit too noisy.