Daily Small Gestures
The tips below are directed toward you, the reader not your partner. You are responsible for your actions. By improving them, your relationships will flourish. The challenge is to follow all of the tips daily. Most are small gestures. The effort will be in substituting positive behaviors for any negative ones that you are currenly employing. According to Gretchin Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, “what you do everyday matters more that what you do once in awhile.” Read the tips below and embrace one or two to try every day for a month. Observe the lightened aura that will follow.
Disagree with Respect
- Tackle one and only one issue at a time.
- Avoid using absolutes such as “you always” or “you never.”
- Acknowledge the other person’s perspective even if you don’t agree with it.
- Physically give your partner your full attention by making eye contact and squaring your shoulders to their’s.
- Keep bad feelings from escalating by using phrases such as “Let’s take it down a notch.”
- Take a 20 minute break in which you each read silently to allow your blood pressure and heart rate to drop.
“Happy couples have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences.”
“What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in awhile.”
Suppose you want to remind your partner to complete a chore. Your first instinct may be to bark out an order. Try making a polite request instead. For example, “Would you be so kind as to take out the garbage?” If that is too over the top for you, how about a humorous reminder? Place the garbage by the door with a sticky note that says, “Take me out to my friends.” When the chore is completed, be sure to show your appreciation.
Have you seen a video of a guy with a “Free Hugs” sign? Most walk past, but now and then someone stops for a hug. Crazy? Not at all. Hugging provides multiple health benefits. The act of squeezing with medium pressure signals a feeling of safety which reduces stress. This triggers blood pressure to drop and immunity protection to increase.
Psychologically, neurotransmitters – dopamine and serotonin – are released when you hug. Both have the effect of making you feel good. It turns out that longer hugs lasting 6-20s also cause the release of oxytocin. This is hormone promotes bonding and is most often associated with breastfeeding. Oxytocin acts like a buffer for stressful situations. Suddenly you aren’t getting as upset when fighting and are more forgiving.
It’s Your Move
Complete the sentences below. Then decide which one(s) you would like to make monthly goals. Track your progress using a calendar to check whether or not you achieved the desired behavior that day.
- I will politely request that _________ helps with a chore.
- I will give ________ a 6+ second hug every day.
- I will give __________ a 6+ second hug each time I visit with them.
- I will acknowledge _________’s perspective even if I don’t agree with it.
- I will give __________ my full attention including eye contact and squared shoulders when they want to discuss something serious.