Meditation trains the mind just like physical exercise trains the body. The benefits of this ancient practice are many, from lowering stress levels to boosting empathy and mindfulness. So we know that meditation works on an individual level, but what about relationships? It’s said that “couples that meditate together stay together”. Recently, research has looked at the interpersonal effects of meditation and its potential to enrich relationships. Let’s examine three ways in which meditation can make a positive difference for you and your partner.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” — Robert Anson Heinlein.
How many of us haven’t thought about finding The One or achieving the “happily ever after” with our partners? It’s only human! After all, movies, songs, and culture have conditioned us to long for that picture-perfect romance. Yet, studies indicate that romantic relationships have an expiration date — minimum 2 years and 7 years at most. Logically, we know that the “honeymoon” phase of intense passion is fleeting as life always gets in the way. So for the relationship to survive, something else has to take over. Perhaps companionship, deep trust, acceptance, and intimacy.
All those things seem too grand and wonderful to pursue. But, here is where meditation comes in. Meditation is not a relationship fixer nor a matchmaking technique. It’s a daily practice that enhances your awareness to get a healthier and more positive perspective of life. And, because meditation is a skill you master with practice, you become progressively better at dealing with stress, improving focus, tuning in with your intuition, and bonding with others.
Couples who meditate together stay together? What research says
To date, research on meditation has focused mostly on the individual effects of its practice. Numerous studies show that meditation leads to dozens of emotional, psychological, and even physical benefits. Some of these perks include less stress, more mindfulness, superior emotional regulation, and improved attention and working memory, amongst many others. Taking into consideration the existing research, think about what could possibly happen if we meditated as a community or as a team, surely wonderful things! Most recently, researchers concluded that meditation has plenty of interpersonal benefits.
A meta-analysis of several studies on the influence of meditation on romantic relationships found that there was an increase in relationship satisfaction. In other words, meditation and mindfulness practices improve a person’s relationship satisfaction and their partner’s satisfaction. Researchers believe that several factors contribute to such positive results, including a greater ability to respond to relationship stress, a better acceptance of a partner’s imperfections, and superior emotional transmission.
Let’s take a look at three ways in which meditation can strengthen your romantic and platonic relationships.
1. Reducing stress and negativity
Day-to-day stressors impact nearly every aspect of our lives, including our health, work productivity, and the quality of our relationships. Picture the following scenario — you argued with your boss or an employee at work. This interaction leaves you in a state of stress and irritation, which follows you home. Then, you end up lashing out at your partner or acting coldly, still engulfed by your negative emotions.
Under this negativity lens, you magnify your partner’s faults (real or imagined). And, sadly, negativity is highly contagious. If you are negative for too long, sooner or later, your partner will respond in the same way. This vicious cycle only leads to more stress and destructive emotions such as resentment, jealousy, and anger.
With a serene and balanced mind, stress and negativity are much more manageable. You gain the inner resilience to not let yourself be consumed by them. There’s plenty of evidence that meditation is an effective way to reduce stress. According to the Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic, for example, mindfulness-based techniques (including meditation) can decrease stress by 31% and lower anxiety 60% of the time.
2. Opening up and learning to trust
Meditation allows you to be aware of the “now”. It is this ability to be mindful that paves the way for focusing on what truly matters: the deep connection and love you feel for your partner, friends, and family. Without the destructive influence of anger, egoism, or sarcasm, it’s possible to communicate freely and clearly. Communication is key in a loving and healthy relationship because it gives both of you a sense of control and intimacy, which is crucial for overcoming any obstacle life throws in your way.
And with clear communication and a sense of harmony comes trust. Doesn’t it feel rewarding when there’s someone you can trust without inhibitions? Trust is not exclusive to romantic relationships. You can trust your best friend, a sibling, or your children. When you have this person in your life, you feel supported in your most vulnerable moments and you gain the inner strength to cope with challenges.
3. Bond over something new
Doing the same things every day is something that happens. After all, human beings are creatures of habit for better or worse. By extension, you share the same routine with your partner. In many cases, this causes a breakup that is not simply the end of love, but an interruption of an exhausting routine. The answer to this dilemma might be adding new and exciting activities you can share with your loved ones.
Meditation not only provides a useful way to relax but is also a meaningful activity to bond over. We are determined to make meditation fun, effective and accessible. Listen to a quick preview of our sound journey LOVE, to bring the energy of love to your mind.