Successful Relationships Reading Corner

Successful Relationships Reading Corner

This week, we discussed how you can improve your relationships by thinking and acting positively. Here is a collection of ideas for how to bring the positive into your relationships.

10 Ways to Perk Up Your Relationship “Positivity has a way of shifting our perspective: While negative emotions shut us down, positive emotions open us up. They help us “broaden and build,” argues Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of Positivity. Positive emotions actually spur big-picture thinking, yielding benefits like keener peripheral vision and increased creativity—not to mention better relationships.”

Practices for Bringing the Positive Into Your Relationship “Relationship experts such as Pat Love, John Gottman, Harville Hendrix and many others are currently stressing the importance of bringing the positive into your relationship. This may sound simple, but in practice it is not an easy thing to do, because when it comes right down to it, our brains can be very set in their patterns of negativity.We lean towards negativity to get our needs met because we have been socialized and genetically wired for survival. We have fear from our childhood that our needs will not be met and we may not survive. These feelings of fear and our natural “fight or flight” response comes from the older part of the brain (the brain stem and the limbic system). Positive feelings, and the ability to respond versus react, involve a more evolved part of the brain (the neo-cortex) which requires a completely different set of strategies and practices.We are using our “old brain” when we cry, demand, shame, blame, criticize, withhold, or ignore, in an effort to be heard, feel loved, see change, etc. However, if we want our partner to change WE have to change too.”

7 Ways to Put Life Back into Your Relationship “When you’re discussing your relationship, highlight the good stuff and minimize the bad. You’ll feel better, and so will your partner. I used to tell all my girlfriends about all the wrong my partner was doing and found that the more I looked for the bad, the more it showed up. But when I focused on the good things about him and why I still loved him, it made me appreciate him that much more. Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t deal with pressing issues or forget the problems at hand; it just means that you change the conversation to one that’s empowering to the relationship. Let go of your anger and annoyance about small things that irritate you. It won’t be easy, but every moment you hold on to poisonous feelings is another moment that will steal your chance to be happy with the person you love.”

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