It doesn’t take the research to point out the difficulties in establishing successful relationships. Look around at the many careers that thrive based on the revenues earned from failing ones. There are multifactorial reasons for these failed relationships each having its own unique catalyst. So, what does it take to make a failing relationship work? For years, scientist have worked to figure this out and although there are no absolute answers, they have found trends that do work if you become mindful of them. Research has attributed successful relationships to establishing habits and being mindful. A Lally article in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that forming a habit has been seen to be as short as 18 days and as long as 254. This is, of course, dependent on the behavior you are seeking to change. They also defined a habit as actions that are triggered automatically in response to contextual cues that have been associated with performance. So, forming a habit could take time but being actively mindful takes performance, a process that is chronic (long) versus acute (short).
Here is the positive news, working as a meditative interventionist has afforded me the opportunity to see mindful meditation work in diverse settings with individuals and groups. I have found that if you have identified the relationship limiting behavior and want to take action you have made steps toward your desired change. Good therapy speaks to mindfulness as a popular new intervention that it is becoming widely accepted as a method of addressing symptoms in mental health and emotional concerns. Of course, there are no guarantees that any intervention will work to improve a relationship but opening yourself up through meditation will help you understand better what relationships are right for you or you right for them. Here are five things that can be done to improve relationships starting with the mindful practice of meditation.
- Decide to make a daily 10-minute meditative practice goal for yourself (research shows only 10 min. a day is all you need to gain clarity and focus).
- Learn to start your day versus letting it start you (this will prepare you for the unexpected things coming your way).
- Seek advice from a coach or therapist you trust (trust is one of the keys to successful change).
- Listen and take in brief advice from your therapist or coach so that a true habit can be developed (habits forming change paired with small doses works).
- Meditate for continual and sustainable change (meditation is the vacuum cleaner for brain clutter).