Doing This on Your Own Can Strengthen Your Relationship, Study Says
This small change will benefit your relationship and your personal life.
It takes two to maintain a strong partnership. But while teamwork is essential, the work you do by yourself can be equally as important in cultivating a healthy relationship. A July 2020 study found that there is one specific thing that you can do on your own that will ultimately strengthen your bond—practice mindfulness. According to the study, published by the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, there was a positive correlation between increased mindfulness and a stronger relationship. Read on to find out how mindfulness can help you and your partner thrive, and for more relationship advice, check out The 50 Best Marriage Tips From Couples Who've Been Married for 50 Years.
So, what is mindfulness? Headspace defines mindfulness as "the ability to be fully present in the moment." One way to achieve mindfulness is through mindfulness meditation practice, which allows people to "truly experience the current moment and integrate that awareness into everyday life."
To study the influence of mindfulness on relationship dynamics, researchers administered a survey to 847 married and unmarried heterosexual couples. For the study, the researchers distilled mindfulness into three core components—non-reactivity, acting with awareness, and non-judgment.
Non-reactivity is accepting your feelings rather than reacting to them. Acting with awareness is acting intentional rather than allowing your impulses to control your actions. And non-judgment is being able to think critically about a situation rather than passing a quick judgment and sticking to it. Alongside a survey with questions about the couple's individual mindfulness levels, they also responded to questions about their stress levels, perceived relationship quality, and sexual satisfaction.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that the couple's individual stress levels were negatively correlated with relationship quality. When one person is stressed, they can easily find themselves unfairly taking it out on their partner, which can negatively impact the relationship. Mindfulness could help abate stress levels, which in turn could strengthen the relationship.
The mindfulness component of non-reactivity seemed to have the most significant impact on the health of a relationship. When couples don't allow their feelings to affect their actions, they found that their relationship was stronger for it. The study also found that women who were in relationships where both people were acting with awareness reported more sexual satisfaction.
Overall, the study concluded that mindfulness had no negative impact on a couple's relationships, but many positive effects. Practicing mindfulness will not only improve your relationship, but also your personal quality of life. And to find out what else can strengthen your relationship, learn The No. 1 Thing That Makes a Relationship Successful, New Study Shows.