Mindfulness is a practice that has been used for thousands of years to reduce stress and increase brainpower. But you can even use mindfulness to improve your relationships.

Just think, if you were to call your spouse right now and ask them, “On a scale of 1-10, how loved do you feel by me today?” Would they say 10? Probably not. But that’s no reason to worry. There are many different ways that you can show your partner how much you care without spending a lot of money or disrupting your work schedule.

Mindfulness is a simple technique shown in countless clinical trials as an effective way to boost overall health and drop stress levels. It has even been shown to change your brain! So, how can mindfulness help your relationship?

5 Ways to Use Mindfulness to Show Your Partner You Care

  1. Take a Breath. If you and your partner are like most couples, you disagree at times. You argue and sometimes (ok, most of the time) you hurt each other’s feelings. That is completely expected. However, over time, it can lead to resentment, hostility and even stonewalling. Practice mindfulness as a way to show your partner you care any time you feel frustrated with them. In that moment, just before you express your annoyance STOP. Take a deep breath in through the nose for 5 seconds, (1-2-3-4-5). Then, release the breath for 5 seconds out of your mouth (1-2-3-4-5) and as you do, change your reaction. Opt instead to just listen to your partner and let the argument pass if you are able to. That’s how you can mindfully avoid conflict and show them you care.
  2. Give a Compliment. When you get the chance, it is ideal to compliment your partner in order to support their healthy self-esteem. However, if you are not aware of the opportunities you may not take advantage of them. Practice mindfulness by focusing your attention on your mate, and when you can compliment them. Look for chances to tell them about their great work, good looks, loving heart and any other positive attribute. The rest of the world will do its job of focusing on your partner’s flaws — so, show them you love them by doing just the opposite.
  3. Silence Their Critic. One of the hardest parts about being human is the critic inside our own minds. That inner voice may say things like, “You’re not attractive,” “You don’t make enough money,” or “You’re fat.” But as a spouse or romantic partner, you can use your mindfulness to help silence that critical voice inside their head. Become more aware of moments when your mate may be paying attention to that “critic” with a loving touch during a stressful moment or a supportive comment when you know they are struggling. That’s all it takes to show them you see them and that you care.
  4. Avoid Triggers. In any relationship there are times when your personality simply clashes with the other person. This is common in romantic relationships just as much as any other. However, the special bond between romantic partners is one that should be honored with peaceful communication. Show your partner that you care by being mindful of their personal triggers. This may include some for anger, sadness, irritation, self-consciousness and other painful emotions. So, use your mindfulness to AVOID those triggers — at all costs! It may just save your relationship.
  5. Invite Them. Mindfulness can happen any time during your day or night and your partner doesn’t need to know you’re practicing a technique. But you can also ask them to join in with you during a mindfulness practice by trying something more engaging like the mind/body mindful practice of yoga, or even a simple breathing exercise. Inviting your partner into your mindfulness practice is a great way to show them you care and that you want them to also be more present in your relationship. This can help you to also cultivate a greater sense of peace between you.

Talking to a Relationship Counselor about Your Spouse

Your relationship might be one of the most important things in your life. And if you truly value it, you will put the relationship with your spouse at the top of your priority list. Consider talking to a relationship counselor about your struggles or how to approach communicating better by applying mindfulness to your relationship. In clinical studies, practicing mindfulness within romantic relationships was shown to not only help with satisfaction, but also reduce emotional stress, resolve conflicts and encourage a positive perception of the relationship.So, start with these 5 tips to be more mindful with your spouse. Then, also consider talking to your partner about including a counselor in your relationship to further develop your connection together.