7 Ways to Apply Mindfulness to Handle a Big Fight with Your Ex

July 12, 2017 | Category: Divorce, Harassment

According to a compelling study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), mindfulness meditation can help you focus during your most stressful moments. Researchers found that “standardized mindful awareness practices” are superior to sleep hygiene instruction in terms of improving sleep quality in subjects. They concluded that “formalized mindfulness-based interventions have clinical importance by possibly serving to remediate sleep problems among older adults in the short term, and this effect appears to carry over into reducing sleep-related daytime impairment that has implications for quality of life.”

This powerful study is just one of dozens published in the past several years that suggest profound and diverse physical and psychological benefits to practicing mindfulness.

In case you’re unfamiliar, mindfulness simply involves focusing on the breath as you stay in the moment. You strive to concentrate the mind and let go of thoughts about the past and the future.

If you are in the process of divorce, or if you and your ex regularly fight, could mindfulness help you? The research is certainly encouraging. Read on for seven strategies to help you handle a big fight with your ex.

Tip #1. Focus your attention on your breath, or concentrate on the physical sensations associated with your negative emotions. This self-awareness will help you manage yourself and react in a more measured, less impulsive way, even when your ex blows up.

Tip #2. Prioritize time for introspection. Avoid reacting to an email or text message immediately. Find time and space to meditate for 10 minutes before engaging in the discussion.

Tip #3. Do not withdraw from or try to suppress negative thoughts. Recognize and accept them as just thoughts. Then release them instead of reacting to them.

Tip #4. Avoid trying to change your ex, and recognize that his or her emotions arise due to internal factors and not to you. We are all responsible for our own emotions.

Tip #5. Understand that your anxiety or anger arises from your perceptions. Focus on your unmet needs driving your negative emotions. Maybe you have a need to be understood or respected. Maybe you just need peace or calm. Be in touch with those needs, and develop strategies to meet them in spite of the fight.

Tip #6. Use mindfulness to slow your breathing and heart rate, providing an overall calming effect. If you regularly practice meditation, research suggests that you will likely naturally recover more quickly from anxiety or anger-inducing events.

Tip #7 – Breathe rhythmically as you inhale and count, then exhale and count. Establishing a pattern with the breath slows down cortisol production and the stress response of the body. This process lets you develop new response patterns instead of reacting automatically and habitually.

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