Do you ever feel like you’re acting like a completely different person when under stress? All of a sudden you’re snapping at your spouse, taking criticism from your boss way too personally and even questioning whether your friend really is too busy to catch up… “Maybe she just doesn’t want to see me?!” In this post, we’re going to delve into how meditation can put a stop to these patterns and help you maintain healthier, happier relationships.
When we are stressed, we find it hard to think beyond pure survival. This damages our relationships by causing us to be more reactive, fearful and unsure of others’ motives. In this state, we stop giving our partners and friends the benefit of the doubt (sound familiar?) We feel a greater sense of individuality and begin to favour ‘alone time’ which can then develop into a ‘me against them’ mentality. The unfortunate reality is that stress hinders our ability to give and experience love. Over time, patterns of moodiness and a lack of affection take their toll and this can create distance between partners.
The good news is: if you’re in this kind of rut, it’s not too late to stop the cycle. By releasing stress through meditation, we begin to let go of our identification with emotions, thoughts and problems. This makes way for better connections with others and we experience a greater sense of stability and unity in relationships.
One of the many wonderful side effects of a regular meditation practice involves developing the ability to regulate emotions. The gift here is in experiencing greater compassion and kindness for both ourselves and others. Our interactions change. We feel more at ease, less guarded, less reactive and more giving. Speaking openly becomes easier, as does being inclusive, tolerant and kind. Imagine if the whole world started meditating – what a lovely bunch we would all be!
Good relationships require empathy. It is this ability to see things from another’s point of view and share their feelings that helps us to relate. It also helps us to understand why people are behaving in certain ways and how we can help them (rather than judging or responding emotionally).
Healthy relationships are reciprocal… give kindness and love and you will receive kindness and love. Meditation’s ability to open our hearts and build our awareness paves the way for generous and loving reciprocal relationships. This is our natural state. Stress is not our normal state. Unity is.
Another by-product of meditation is the ability to be more present. A stressed brain is constantly recycling the same thoughts: re-living the past or rehearsing the future. It’s an easy trap to fall into. When we are present, we can perceive situations more clearly. We are able to listen and truly hear. We ask different questions, act in a more appropriate manner and instinctively take more relevant action. Some people might call this ‘synchronicity’ or ‘living in alignment’ but even if you’re not that woo woo, it’s clear to see how these effects can help us ‘go with the flow’ in life that little bit more easily.
Through meditation, positive emotions and connections to others are strengthened – even with strangers. When we are less self-focused, we are more likely to strike up conversations with people we don’t know, establish new relationships, build stronger connections and even be more resilient in existing relationships. We willingly surrender our preferences for others and this leads to a greater sense of harmony. Less nitpicking, grudge holding, anger and resentment… more love.
It’s scientifically proven: meditation makes us happier. It gives us an ability to bounce back and a resilience to overcome difficulty in relationships.
Importantly, meditation gives us a sense of BEING – a supreme inner contentedness that we don’t need to seek from others. We gain an inner stability and certainty of who we are. This practice helps brings us to a key realisation: we don’t need others to complete us because we are already complete. When we have this realisation, our relationships become so much fuller and richer, and our connections with others are so much stronger. Doesn’t that sound great?
Many of us spend a lifetime searching for the ticket or tool that will bring us more harmony, peace and love. Well, the beautiful part is that it doesn’t need to be complex. It doesn’t need to cost the earth. You don’t need to traipse across a desert and get lost in an exotic jungle to find the secret. The secret is meditation, and it’s always there – waiting to serve you.
To find out more about my corporate background and why I dove into meditation, get in touch. I’m always happy to share my story.