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Wedding Season is here! Take the time to stay connected with your partner by practicing these mindfu

Wedding season is just about here (depending on where you may be located) and through all of the stressful planning and loaded tension, it is important to take a mindful break. Many of you may meditate on your own or find ways to decrease your stress by yourself without your partner. However, today I am going to provide you with special tips and exercises that will help you and your partner learn to decrease stress together. In order for these exercises to be helpful, it is important to keep in mind these tips:

1. Schedule time to meditate together. I know it may seem a little strange to have to schedule time with your partner but it can be helpful when both of you are aware of the expectations and scheduled time. Schedule to go for a walk once or twice a week, find a good place during that walk to stop and take a few minutes to practice your meditation exercises together.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice. Practicing your meditation skills will make them more of a routine and allow for both of you to be able to deescalate more successfully during stressful moments. The more you practice, the better you will become at controlling your mind and body.

3. Reward yourself. Starting a commitment to complete a task is usually more effective and successful with rewards. Pick something between the two of you that will act as a reward for completing your scheduled meditation time.

Remember that meditation and relaxation skills are not only important to utilize in your marriage but also in everyday life such as work, sport activities, etc. When you take the time to connect mindfully with your partner, you will create a deeper connection between each other and also maybe spark certain emotions that have yet to surface or have been absent for some time.

1. Simple Deep Breathing: Find a relaxed position, whether it is sitting Indian style or in a chair. Face your partner, gently grab each other's hands, and close your eyes. As you relax your mind and prepare to begin the meditation, take note of your partner's hands and how their touch makes you feel. Imagine sharing each other's energy. Maybe one of you had a difficult day, feeling tired and stressed, and is in need of the other's energy. Imagine transferring that energy as you perform this breathing exercise. Take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs with air (watch your stomach rise and expand like a balloon). Once your stomach has expanded, exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat deep breathing 3-5 times together.

2. Deep Breathing with Mantra: Same steps as the above exercise with the addition of adding a mantra to your inhales and exhales. A few options to choose from:

Option 1. As you inhale, think of a word or phrase that you would like to receive from your partner (something you would like to breath in), as you exhale, think of something you would like to get rid of from your relationship with your partner. For example, as you breathe in you may say the word "love" or "understanding" and as you exhale you may say the word "financial stress" or "jealousy." Imagine breathing in the positive and letting go of the negative.

Option 2. As you inhale, focus on your breath, as you exhale say a word or phrase that reminds you of relaxation and is associated with your partner. For example, take a deep breath through your nose (focus on filling your balloon with air), as you exhale say a word or phrase like "working together" or "love above all." As you exhale, use the mantra as a release and bring a rush of relaxation throughout you and your partner.

After you complete the exercises, it is helpful to talk about your experiences. What did you like or dislike about each exercise? How do you feel after meditating with each other? Communication is key to a successful and healthy relationship. Being able to positively communicate with both our words and our actions can be helpful tools within a relationship. Using meditation as a form of relaxation with your partner will allow for a healthy development of positive communication patterns and a deeper emotional connection within the relationship. Take a break from the planning and stressing and try it out today!

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