A Healthy ‘We’ Begins with a Healthy ‘Me’

More and more research is coming out about the impact of positive psychology and mindfulness on couple relationships (Khaddouma, 2017). It makes sense, right? If we feel happy about ourselves and our lives, we are much more likely to transfer that to relationships, especially with a significant other. You’ve heard the phrase, “A healthy ‘we’ begins with a healthy ‘me’. But what does that mean exactly? One of the best ways to take care of our relationships is to take care of ourselves as an individual. This means mentally, physically, and emotionally. When we feel stressed, anxious, tired, depressed or overwhelmed it is harder to be patient, understanding, kind, and loving to our partner. This can make small disagreements spiral into larger problems, or just inhibit our ability to feel loved in the relationship. So, focus on maintaining a healthy “you”. Here are just a few suggestions to try:

1. Savoring

  • Go on a walk outside and take in what you see, hear, and smell.
  • Enjoy eating something you love. Try taking slow, small bites and focusing on the sensations in your mouth. What does it taste like? How does it feel on your tongue? What are the sounds you hear while eating it?
  • Slow down and take in the moment. Watch your kids giggle, admire your partner from afar, observe happy interactions between family or friends.

2. Get some exercise

  • Ride bikes to the park.
  • Do some yoga.
  • Go on a run.
  • Work out at the gym.
  • Find what feels best for you!

3. Self-regulate

  • Do some square breathing (breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, repeat).
  • Play with a stress ball, playdoh, putty or something else you can squeeze to release muscle tension.
  • Do a puzzle, craft, or something else that requires concentration.

4. Treat yourself

  • Sit down and read a book for 20-30 min.
  • Take a power nap.
  • Enjoy a warm bath or shower (use a bath bomb if you’d like).
  • Get a massage (from a professional or from your partner/kids).

5. Focus on the good

  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for in your life. Add to the list throughout the day.
  • Think of your 3 greatest strengths. You may be a great listener, or maybe you have a gift for fixing things around the house. Identify what those strengths are and see how you can use them that day.
  • Find some way to serve someone. Do something out of the ordinary. It doesn’t have to be big, but put some effort into it.

Resources:

Khaddouma, A., Coop Gordon, K., & Strand, E. B. (2017). Mindful Mates: A Pilot Study of the Relational Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Participants and Their Partners. Family Process56(3), 636651. https://doiorg.dist.lib.usu.edu/10.1111/famp.12226

 

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