Whether it’s our partner, kids, family or friends, when our relationships don’t run smoothly it can cause high levels of stress. It can make us worry, feel insecure, argue and lash out or withdraw. On the flip side, high levels of stress can hurt our relationships.
When under stress, your brain goes into tunnel vision mode and you lose sight of details. You become quick to judge and jump to conclusions with the ones you care about which can damage the relationship.
Research shows that having a regular mindfulness practice can have a positive effect on the quality of our relationships. It retrains your brain. It makes you a better listener. It makes you more supportive. It helps you accept people for who they are without judgement.
All our relationships start with us, and how we talk to ourselves on a daily basis has a huge impact on how we think, feel and function. Mindfully managing your thoughts and self-talk means that you are in control of your biggest source of stress. Be consciously kind and loving to yourself. Using positive mantras and affirmations can help you relate to yourself with acceptance and kindness.
In all our relationships, whether they be with a partner, our kids or our friends, we aim to be loving, caring, loyal and stay out of judgement. It is much harder to do this when we are stressed and trying to juggle the many roles and responsibilities of being a mum.
Mindfulness helps to reduce stress and increase oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone, and is the fuel of relationships. It is released when we connect with another in a meaningful way. Research shows that an increase in oxytocin levels makes you more generous, improves your listening skills and makes you better at picking up social cues, all of which can improve your relationships.
Oxytocin is not for sale from the pharmacist, but you can boost your levels naturally by hugging, making eye contact, having sex, breast feeding, exercising or petting a dog for a few minutes.