A well publicized and highly valued benefit of meditation is that it can reduce anxiety in your relationships.  Everything about life is better when you’re living in the present moment.  But you can’t be fully focused on the present if you have anxiety.  A regular meditation practice helps to dissolve anxiety and bring your attention back to now.

Learning to listen and then set aside the incessant internal chatter of your mind is very important.  After lowering internal chit-chat, you are able to focus and experience what is occurring in your life with full awareness.  The automatic judgment and deliberation that normally goes on in an overactive and restless mind keeps you too distant to be in the now.

It is easier to see how meditation helps with present focus, and how that present-focus mentality lowers anxiety, with an example. Let’s look at a hypothetical couple, Bob and Sue.  Bob has a big deadline at work and he is constantly analyzing the situation in his head.  He thinks that he should probably spend all day Saturday finishing an important piece of the project up so that he can take Sue out for a nice dinner that night.

Sue has been missing Bob because of his long work hours lately.  She is excited to spend the day with him Saturday.  There is a list of errands she would like to do together so they can also catch up on the time missed during the week.

I’m sure, dear reader, you can already see the highly dangerous potential for drama this could bring.  However, I am going to say that the root of the trouble is anxiety.  The daily general anxiety of people, when not processed, causing them to disassociate from the present moment.  Read how this causes more stress-

Bob wakes up Saturday thinking how good it is going to feel to burn through his work and then take Sue out.  He heads out to the office.  Sue is excited to spend some time with her man on the weekend and think it would be a nice break for Bob.  Sue pops her head in.

Sue “Boo, I thought we could go run some errands after breakfast.”

Bob furrows brow and immediately starts thinking how this is going to cause the work to pile up further.  His mind starts wondering why Sue can’t appreciate the work he is doing.

Bob “What do we have to do?  I have a ton of work to do.”  He says this somewhat tersely.

Sue thinks that it sure doesn’t seem like Bob wants to spend time with her.  She wonders how he could want to work on a Saturday rather than spend time with her.  Uh-oh, she read in Cosmopolitan that husbands that become work-obsessed are more likely to cheat.  Is Bob cheating on her?

Sue “Fine.”  She shuts the door to the office extra loudly and stomps off.

Bob has no idea why she is upset.  He starts getting upset, doesn’t he have enough stress already at work?  Why can’t she support him?

So our happy couple has now elevated their stress levels.  How did internal chatter contribute to this?  Where does meditation fit into the picture?

Meditation helps make you more present.  When you are more present, you feel your emotions in the moment.  IF something is bothering you about an emotion you feel, you can notice and deal with what is bothering you.  Too often, the internal chatter starts leading you down a path of negativity, and you end up upset over reasons that could’ve been easily avoided if mentally present and able to deal with them.

In Bob and Sue’s situation, if either Bob or Sue could’ve been present in the situation, they could’ve communicated their shared end goal of spending time together.  Instead they are both upset with elevated stress levels, because the internal dialogue received equal attention to the present moment and was allowed to run down a path of negative outcomes.