Have you and your partner been feeling a bit disconnected lately? Has the stress of life been interfering with your relationship? With just ten minutes and a quiet space you can help to create more intimacy and connection with your partner.
Basic mindfulness exercises center around using all of your senses to focus your attention, feelings and/or thoughts to the present moment. These exercises take about ten minutes and do not require any equipment, subscriptions or practice. To start, find a quiet space where you and your partner will not be disturbed and make sure your television, computer and cellphone are turned off and out of sight.
Deep breathing 5-7-5
Sit down opposite of your partner in a comfortable position, staring into your partner’s eyes. Next, while still looking into each other’s eyes, begin to focus on your breath and notice how the air moves in and out of your body, do not force it an any way, just pay attention to it. After about two minutes begin the breathing exercise. One person, the designated starter, takes the role in setting the pace. They slowly breathe in to a count of 5, then hold their breath for another slow count of 5 and then breathe out for a count of 7. The other partner is to follow this breath by listening to their partner’s breathing. Both people are to listen without judgement and to focus on the sounds of each other’s breath. Continue this for about five minutes, and then switch, so that the partner becomes the breath pace setter instead of the pace follower, and continue this for five more minutes. During this exercise remember to breathe deeply, focus on the feeling of the deep breathing and sounds of the breath and the sights of your partner.
The Feeling of Touch
For this exercise have your partner lay down on their back on a couch or bed. Once they are laying down, you take both of your hands starting at the bottom of their feet, touch every part of their body, spending about thirty seconds on each area (feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, so on until you reach your partner’s head). While this is happening the person who is being touched is to focus on the feeling or sensations that are arising from that touch. After every body part is finished, switch so you can become the person receiving the touch.
Sit down opposite of your partner in a comfortable position. Gently close your eyes and separately from your partner, and without speaking, focus your feelings to different parts of your body, noticing any aches, pains, tension, or general discomfort. Try to scan your body starting from your toes and going up to and ending at the top of your scalp. After scanning your body for about three minutes, bring your attention and focus back to listening to your breath. Now, imagine a tiny spot of light shining through the middle of your chest. Remember a time in the past where you did or said something to your partner that they really appreciated. Replay that in your mind and remember how your partner looked and what they said in acknowledgment of your act or statement of kindness. Try to remember how you felt when they recognized you.
As you are reminded of that feeling, imagine that spot of light beginning to expand, moving outward in every direction, expanding to the extremities of the body and filling it with brightness and warmth. After imagining this for about two minutes bring your attention back to your breath. Stay here for another minute. Gently open your eyes, and look at your partner.
Like all things worthwhile, relationships take work and practice, and when we make time to do these exercises we are helping to create connection and intimacy in our relationship. When we strengthen connection we help to prevent miscommunication and conflict from arising. To learn more about mindfulness and how it can strengthen your relationship click here.
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