Being a new or expectant parent, life becomes exciting, tiring, rewarding and challenging all at the same time. And as you enjoy this incredible phase of life, meditation can help you to keep your relationship healthy, even when your little one’s keeping you up at night.
When a new baby comes on the scene, most of us don’t have enough time for ourselves, let alone our partners. At the end of a busy day, we can all relate to how tempting it is to just crash out and switch off from everything, rather than find the energy and mental capacity to be open, caring, receptive and considerate towards our partner. It’s no wonder relationships between new parents often suffer, just when, ideally, they’d be at their strongest.
But by finding just ten minutes a day, we can use meditation to help our relationship become healthier than ever. Meditation teaches us to approach our relationships mindfully, and that has a real impact on how we relate to our partner, and how they, in turn relate to us.
Put the stress to one side
Mindfulness teaches us a different approach to daily life. It shows us how to step back from our constant thoughts and feelings, calming the mind so we can appreciate the moment we’re in clearly, and untangled from birthing plans, feeding schedules, work concerns and exhaustion.
The benefits of mindfulness are felt across every relationship, from those with our children and partners, to friends and even strangers. Having a new clarity and space in the mind means that we become kinder, happier and more accepting, so we feel better, and those around us do, too.
When it comes to our partner, mindfulness teaches us to capture and be present in the moments we’re together. It shifts our focus from who we wish our partner was, to understanding and relating to them as the person they really are, without any agenda or judgement.
Not only does mindfulness reduce any conflict within the relationship, but through greater acceptance, it also helps us to grow closer and stronger as a couple.
6 useful tips for being more mindful in relationships…
Notice what makes your partner happy. Sound obvious? Try it for a week!
Do one thing at a time
There’s nothing sexy about multitasking. When you’re with your loved ones, don’t be somewhere else.
Nobody can read your mind
Say what you’re thinking with consideration and avoid all kinds of misunderstandings.
Be kind – to others and to yourself
Your relationship with yourself impacts on those around you. When you’re expecting or have a new baby, be extra kind to yourself. Remember, kindness is contagious!
Mind the reality gap
Do you relate to your partner as they are right now or as you think they should be? This difference between reality and expectation is the cause of most conflict.
Give up control – in a good way!
The desire to call the shots can lead to all kinds of tension. Being a new parent is a great time to share.
Practicing mindfulness re-wires the mind to enjoy happier, more loving relationships. And no matter how hectic life becomes, it provides the space to appreciate our partner just as they are – the person we fell in love with.
Visit Headspace.com and sign up for the free Take10 program – teaching you the basics of meditation in just 10 minutes a day. Available for both iPhone and Android
Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, the multi-award-winning digital health platform. A meditation and mindfulness expert, he is the voice of all things Headspace. As a former Buddhist monk, with a degree in Circus Arts, Andy provides a unique insight into the world of meditation and mindfulness, delivering an authentic message in a fresh, accessible and often humorous style. Having learned from the very best in the world, Andy was passionate about sharing these ancient techniques and creating the conditions for a healthier and happier society. In order to make that wish a reality, in 2010 he teamed up with creative visionary, Rich Pierson, to launch Headspace, which is now a thriving team split between London and LA. Andy is now based at the Headspace HQ in Venice, California, with his wife Lucinda.