The art of alignment is about synchronizing every aspect of our lives, and little by little, creating a happier and healthier self. This holistic approach emphasizes how mindfulness can improve the overall quality of life, with a close analysis of five key areas. Last month we began our journey exploring how mindfulness can improve physical health. Now we gain insight into how mindfulness can impact the many relationships we have.

Grow Compassion

Science tells us that mindfulness is linked with higher levels of satisfaction in both personal and professional relationships. Not only does mindfulness promote compassion, but it can actually minimize impulsive behavior. The ability to communicate clearly is the building block of a healthy relationship, and we can only do that if we practice compassion and demonstrate tolerance for other points of view and varied cultural backgrounds. Mindfulness provides the mental space to engage with others through a sympathetic lens, consistently evolving your understanding. Scientific studies have linked mindfulness to an increased resilience to relationship stress and increased relationship satisfaction.

Develop Empathy

Mindfulness within relationships encourages us to be more aware of our feelings, as well as the feelings of others. However, empathy transcends basic understanding, allowing us to be more generous in our attitudes towards others. Mindfulness, in the context of empathy, places the behaviors of others into the realm of circumstance rather than an assumption of a character flaw. Consequently, we are more quickly to forgive the negative behaviors of others and even be more mindful of how our own emotions impact those around us.

Rewire the Brain

Mindfulness requires practice, but as with any exercise, repetition builds strength. Mindfulness fortifies connections in the brain that affect our relationships, resulting in a chemical reaction that is more positive. Through mindfulness, the amygdala connects to the prefrontal cortex, reducing stress and anxiety in general. This engages the brain in positive thinking that is more concerned with protecting relationships instead of the self. When our defenses lower, we have the ability to think clearly and objectively.

This focus on mindfulness and relationships will also promote cognitive flexibility in the brain. The anterior cingulate cortex, associated with emotions and impulses, reframes our experiences. We are able to view our relationships from a different perspective, and then adapt to the changing environment.

Interacting with others can be a challenging task, but mindfulness can adjust your perceptions on a scientific level. Mindfulness can bring new depth to old and new relationships, while creating a more content sense of self that is confident within those relationships. Next month, we’ll explore the link between mindfulness and family.