One of the most important aspects of a relationship, whether we are talking about a romantic relationship or our relationship with ourselves, are the habits we embrace. Habits are part of our daily lives, even if we want them or not.
Life is a constant process of learning and unlearning things, so it is better to design new habits that can help us thrive and unlearn the old ones that no longer serve our current purpose and views.
night habit healthy relationship
Creating new habits
First, I want to propose a new perception about creating new habits. Most of us have been taught to believe that adopting a new habit is something that is very hard. Well, I challenge you to contest this affirmation. If creating new habits were so difficult, then smoking, unhealthy eating, alcohol drinking and so on would not be so widespread.
It is our perceptions that make any new habit difficult or easy to install. So, the next time you choose to create a new practice, think about the process as challenging rather than hard. Challenge gives you the motivation to go on and experiment while hard; it just stops you before you even start. night habit healthy relationship
Healthy habit before bed night habit healthy relationship
Almost a year ago, I proposed to Christian to make a few changes in our night routine in order to offer ourselves some time together. When you have a kid that demands a lot of your attention besides the things you do daily, spending meaningful time with your partner can be a bit tricky.
Christian and I decided to, as often as possible, go to sleep at the same time and ask each other five questions before we sleep.
This habit can work just as well in a relationship with a partner as in a relationship with yourself. If you don’t have a partner or you can’t do it with your partner that’s ok, you can be your own partner and ask yourself these questions before you sleep.
Why before sleep? So you can end your day in a positive way, and show yourself some love and appreciation. Also, to wake up in the morning feeling more grateful and happy for the new day.
Questions we ask before we fall asleep
1. What made you feel good or smile today?
Unfortunately, most of us have been conditioned to think and complain about the things that are not going well in our lives. Rather than seeing and appreciating the events that made us feel good in a day. Especially if they are small events like someone giving you priority in traffic or noticing a flower and enjoying its beauty for a couple of seconds.
I think we are too caught up in our lives and waiting for big events to happen, which makes us miss the little moments that are, in fact, the basis of life.
For me, the answer I gave to these questions on many occasions showed me how blessed I am for having Arun. He is almost always my answer on the most challenging and depressing days and even on the good days. Even though he stretches my nerves many times throughout the day, somehow, he still makes me smile every day.
It was fascinating to discover that even if it felt like I was finishing the worst day of my life, I still had that moment of joy that I had completely forgotten about.
2. What would you do differently?
Rather than blame ourselves for the things that didn’t work as wished for during the day, it’s better if we think of them in a constructive manner. Let’s be clear, what is done can’t be undone. But what we learn in the process can be life-changing. It can help us not repeat the same patterns and create new approaches that are more in line with our current selves. We can learn how to bring balance into our lives.
So, ask yourself or your partner, what would you have done differently so that things would have had a different trajectory? For you and the rest of the entities involved.
We want to give ourselves time to reflect on our actions in a conscious way. Don’t you agree?
3. What did you like about yourself today?
Too often, we judge and blame ourselves for the things that we haven’t done or that we would have wanted to do differently.
We often get lost in the thoughts and judgments that only create a distorted impression about ourselves. In order to have an accurate perception of ourselves, we have to be honest with ourselves. For example, we have to acknowledge and give ourselves credit for what we have done well in our lives.
So what better time to look and appreciate those things, if not before we go to bed? This way, we will remain with a conscious perception about ourselves that will translate into better sleep and a positive start for the next day.
night habit healthy relationship
4. What are you grateful for?
Sometimes this question may seem like it has no response, especially if we had a hard day, week, month, year. Still, even in the most difficult times of our lives, we can find something to be grateful for. If you are not used to practising gratitude, it can feel strange and even fake.
In the beginning, when I started practising gratitude, it felt so unnatural. It was as if I was lying to myself. It took me months before I started saying and feeling at the same time that I was grateful for a glass of water, for example.
On those nights, when you feel you have nothing to be grateful for, start small. Say that you are thankful for the bed you are lying in, for the pillow you have under your head. The little toe of your right foot that helps you keep your balance. For breathing and having the opportunity to shift everything as you did many times before. Once you start, you will find endless reasons to be grateful for. The start is the challenging part.
In his book, The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time, researcher Alex Korb writes, “One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin.”
Serotonin is a chemical produced by our bodies that contributes to feelings of well-being. It stabilises our mood and helps us feel more relaxed. It is often called the Happiness Chemical.
5. What are your intentions for tomorrow?
This question is meant to give us a direction for the next day. It helps us focus on what matters and not let ourselves get caught up in the uncertainty of a new day.
It doesn’t work every time. We still have days when we remember our intentions when we go to bed and ask the question the next day.
Still, even this is okay because it makes us more conscious about our unconsciousness. Moreover, it gives us plenty of opportunities to practice being more aware of our words and intentions.
How has this habit translated into our relationship?
These questions had a significant impact on our relationship on many levels, some of which I am aware of now, as I wrote this post. Since we started this practise, we went through all sorts of feelings, reactions and understandings.
We had moments when we were so tired or disappointed that we forced ourselves to find something that made us feel good that day. We had to really look deep into the day to discover a moment of happiness. There were also times when we just had to accept that we didn’t notice any single moment of joy.
We have also had moments where we had so much fun with these questions laughing to tears while also trying not to wake up Arun. But, most of the time, I can describe our habits as a conscious part of our days. That moment in which we release the pressure we have accumulated over the day, learn from our mistakes and lift one another.
I cherish these moments tremendously because we learned so much about one another and individually. We give ourselves new perspectives and reasons to wake up with joy and hunger for life.
When I look at us now, I see two people who are more peaceful, have learned to admit when they are wrong and are keener to see the good in bad. We are more conscious parents and more willing to learn new things.
In life, there are things that happen by themselves and there are things that we have to create the context for them to expand. It is necessary to nourish our relationships in conscious ways in order for them to thrive and blossom.
night habit healthy relationship
The questions I have chosen for these habits are what worked for us. You can create your own questions depending on your intentions and needs. There is no fixed thing to apply.
Still, if you feel they resonate with you and speak directly to your soul, I invite you to try applying them to your life. Write to me if they had any impact on you. It will bring me so much joy to know if what I shared with you was helpful.
Habits have the power to break us or transform our lives.
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Remember to love yourself,
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