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Relationship Experts Explain the Five Love Languages to Every Couple

Experts Reveal 6 Simple Strategies That Contribute To Personal Growth


Did you know you have a love language? Your love language is what is meaningful to you to feel appreciated by your significant other. Everyone shows and receives love differently. In his well-known book, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts, author, Dr. Gary Chapman, explains the 5 different love languages and how you can understand how to love other people.

Communicating affection–both giving and receiving

We all communicate our love differently.  It’s easy to assume the way we show love to others is as meaningful to them as it is to us. But many relationships go south due to a misunderstanding of a how your partner prefers to give and receive affection.

Everyone has one major love language. It’s the things that others do that make you feel special. Many people have a couple of secondary preferences that aren’t as strong as the primary one. Nevertheless, they are still important.

What are the five love languages?

Here is a brief list of the five love languages Dr. Gary Chapman suggests to help you better understand yourself and your partner.

Love language Meaning  Positive communication Negative
Affirmation Encouraging words, caring words “You look beautiful. I appreciate your efforts.” Not interested, being distracted. Assume you know they love you, without telling you.
Time with them Want attention, time together Spend time with you, join activities with you. Doesn’t plan dates, disinterested in the things you like to do.
Gifts Big or small gifts are meaningful. Little gifts of coffee, muffins. Love notes left in your car. Gifts that were not planned. No time put into what you like.
Serving Doing chores, helping around the house, running errands. See you need help and initiate it. Run errands without being asked. They ignore that you need help. If you ask them to help, they forget.
Touch Loves kissing, cuddling, hugging. Romance is important. You like holding hands, rubbing backs, and cuddling on the sofa. Don’t seem interested or motivated to kiss or cuddle that much.

 

 

The five love languages in detail

Each of the five love languages has specific details explaining what they are and what they mean.  You need to understand your love language and your partner’s love language. Let’s take a detailed look at each of the five love languages.

Affirmation

Affirmation is defined as emotional support and encouragement. It’s love expressed with words that build up or encourage. Affirmation communicates love with phrases like

  • “Your hair looks great today.”
  • “You always make me feel happy.”
  • “I’m lucky to have you in my life.”
  •  “I’m proud of you!”
  • “I love being with you.”

If this is your partner’s love language, be sure to compliment them, encourage them, and be specific with your affirmation. They don’t appreciate sarcasm or wicked humor. Watch your words. Saying hurtful things even if you’re joking goes deep for these folks. They feel it more than others.

Important to know: Your affirmation must be genuine. Folks who need this affirmation care deeply about the emotions behind the words. If you say empty sounding words, they will feel like you don’t really mean what you’re saying.

Spending time with them

This special someone is all about spending time together. If this is your partner’s love language, they will want your undivided attention. They will love it when you hang with you to watch their favorite television or go shopping with them. Plus, they want you to turn off your phone, to look them in the eye and talk with them and listen to them.  They will feel like you don’t care if you always cancel your times together or if you forget. Quality time for them isn’t out at a restaurant with a group of friends. It’s attention and focus and being there. Here are three things you can do to spend quality time with your partner, whose love language is time. Your time with them should be.

  • Deliberate-This means effort and planning time with them. It’s their special time with you.
  • Focus-Be focused on them only. Look at them, talk with them in an undistracted way. Ask them questions. Listen with your complete attention.
  • Loving-Be affection and loving. Show them you love them.

Gifts

Those who have this as their love language enjoy small gifts. The gifts don’t need to be expensive or luxurious.  They love little surprise notes, flowers, or food gifts. They will be sentimental and keep your gifts for years. Knowing you care enough to take the time to give them something is extremely meaningful and makes them feel loved. Here are some suggestions for gifts you can give your better half.

  • Pick up a coffee for them
  • Order the book they want to read
  • Hand lotions
  • Candles
  • Perfume
  • Scarf
  • A funny card
  • Write a sweet note on the bathroom mirror

Serving

Someone who prefers serving feels that actions are a lot louder than your words. Expressions of doing means the most because they take your time and your energy. If the service is done grudgingly or with complaining, the person feels unloved. Acts of affection done spontaneously mean the most to those who speak this love language. Doing things for them to ease their burden means a lot.

  • Doing the dishes
  • Taking care of the baby in the middle of the night
  • Spontaneously vacuuming the living room
  • Cooking dinner or ordering out, so they don’t need to cook
  • Taking the kids out for a walk to give them a break

Like the other love languages, acts of service don’t need to be extravagant to be meaningful. It’s the little things that are meaningful to them.

Touch

Physical touch is the love language of many people. This doesn’t mean that you are interested in extreme PDA, but you want to feel connected to your partner by kissing, hand holding, or hugging. The physical touch love language isn’t necessarily about sex, or even showing you’re interested in sex at the moment. It’s more about feeling close. Examples of physical touch love language look like these:

  • Holding hands while you’re at a restaurant
  • Putting your head on their shoulder
  • Sitting close on the sofa
  • Giving a back rub
  • Running your hair through their hair

Of course, physical touch is important in all romantic relationships. But some people feel most loved by touching.

How to communicate your love language

Many couples are together for years without understanding the love language of one another.  It’s important to communicate your love language to your partner and to figure out their love language. Watch closely how your partner expresses their love to you. Do they touch a lot or bring home little gifts all the time? Good chance, that’s their preferred style.

Growing up, your parents probably showed their love for you by taking care of you, physical affection, and affirmation. They may have showered you with gifts all the time. You often pick up your parents’ love language and express affection in this way. But once you’re in a relationship, you may find out that your partner doesn’t express or seem interested in communicating love in this way. This is what causes the disconnect for couples who aren’t aware of one another’s love language. Here’s a quick test to figure out what you and your partner’s love language might be.

  • What do they (you) complain about the most in your relationship?
  • How do they (you) express love to others?
  • What do they (you) request most often from your partner?

These are great indicators of which love language matters most to you or your partner.

Final Thoughts on Growing Closer to Your Partner by Understanding the Five Love Languages

Everyone communicates love differently.  These sweet expressions are meaningful ways in which you receive and show your affection for each other. The five love languages are affirmation, gifts, serving, spending time, and physical touch.  Your love language expresses how you personally like your partner’s adoration to be communicated and shown to you.  Once you and your partner understand one another’s love language, your relationship can flourish and grow.

Lifestyle

Psychologists Explain 4 Things That Make A Relationship Work

Psychologists Explain 4 Things That Make A Relationship Work


We all want to make a relationship work–and ever better, for an entire lifetime! Sadly, the fact is that a lot of relationships don’t make it that far. You likely want to do everything you can to avoid having your partnership meet that fate!

Many strive to discover the secret to a happy relationship, and the answer is more complicated than just one be-all-end-all! Here’s how psychologists explain four things that make a relationship work.

1.    Positive Thinking Helps Make a Relationship Work

Positive thinking is a powerful thing, capable of completely changing your perception of any given situation. It’s also something you need to have if you want to keep a relationship healthy.

This has to be a mutual choice between both partners in the relationship, says Licensed Psychotherapist, author, and radio show host Barton Goldsmith. Both of you have to decide to control how you carry yourselves to promote more positive behavior and manage moods together as a team.

Here are some tips for developing positive thinking that can help make your relationship work:

·         Approach Problems With A Positive Mindset

When there’s a conflict or severe issue, pause and breathe before launching straight into combat mode. With positive motivation, problems are more likely to be solved through compromise and open-mindedness, says Monte Drenner, a licensed mental health counselor.

·         Share Positive Events In Your Life

When good things happen, seek out your partner and tell them about it. Numerous studies have found that sharing these positive points in your life – especially when you feel excited to tell your partner the great news – can facilitate a stronger bond.

·         Foster Good Self-Worth

Positive thinking applies to each partner, too. You must have healthy self-worth that isn’t attached to having a partner or how your partner makes you feel. If you rely too much on your partner for happiness, things will fall apart pretty quickly! You need to feel secure enough in yourself that other people’s opinions don’t damage your self-esteem, says School of Love NYC founder and dating coach Monika Parikh.

·         Reminisce On Times Of Laughter

Did you know that studies have shown that laughing together and then looking back on that laughter together is great for a relationship? Dr. Megan Stubbs, a relationship and intimacy expert, states that asking each other about your favorite happy memories together is a great way to begin reminiscing. The shared emotions and memories bring you together and can even make you think of the future to come.

2.    Communication Can Make a Relationship Work

There’s a reason that so many people say communication is the secret to a happy relationship. No human being can read minds, so you need to talk to your partner about different concerns you have or opinions you hold, says Goldsmith.

·         Share Your Downs

Being vulnerable can be scary, but it’s part of communication. Your partner can’t know how you feel if you don’t tell them. Licensed psychologist, Rapport Relationships founder, and dating coach, Dr. Jennifer B. Rhodes, even goes so far as to state that letting down your guard can be a huge part of intimacy as a whole.

·         Don’t Make Assumptions

No matter how well you believe, you know your partner, making assumptions is a surefire way to land yourself in confusing misunderstandings. Lasting Connections founder and psychologist Sameera Sullivan points out that mind reading in this manner can be dangerous and that it’s much better to ask instead of assuming to avoid hurting anyone in the process.

·         Talk About Boundaries

Knowing your limits is essential in a relationship, and many relationships will suffer from silence and ignoring these problems than they will ever suffer from violence, says Parikh. Don’t ignore your partner’s crossing of limits or things that hurt you. Talk about them and be direct and clear about where your boundaries are. Don’t become compliant. Avoiding a fight isn’t as positive as it sounds, and couples that fight healthily and regularly often have a stronger relationship. You should feel comfortable discussing these things with your partner; if not, that could be a huge red flag.

3.    Positive Reinforcement

Reinforcement is the act of continuing to make it clear that you love and appreciate your partner. It’s easy to accidentally fall out of the habit of being sweet and romantic to someone you’ve been in a relationship with for years and years.

But leaving the honeymoon phase doesn’t mean the sweetness should end, says Goldsmith. If anything, you need to continue working on your relationship forever, and you shouldn’t become complacent in the way you show your affection. Here are some ways to make sure positive reinforcement is still a part of your relationship:

·         Encourage And Support Your Partner

Offering words of encouragement shows that you think of your partner’s experiences and pay attention to what they’re going through. Expressing admiration at their improvements or successes and being supportive in more challenging times tells your partner that you care.

·         Surprise Your Partner Now And Then

These surprises show you’re thinking of your partner outside of the typical red-letter days. Clinical psychologist Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., also The Kurre and Klapow Show’s host, recommends tangible romantic gestures. Instead of sending emails or texts, buy tiny gifts, write small letters, or help them check something off their to-do list!

·         Schedule A Date Night

Date nights are a break from mundane, everyday life, states Maple Holistics Health and Wellness Expert Caleb Backe. You’re choosing to spend quality time with your partner outside of your daily life. They’re your partner in relaxation and the hustle and bustle. Plus, it’s fun to get that time to yourselves to hang out! It spices things up. You get to talk to each other and rekindle a spark. There’s no denying the positive effects these dates have, so make them a regular thing!

·         Hold Hands In Public

Klapow recommends that you and your partner hold hands in public – just like you did when you first began dating! This act is intimate but public, a display that you and your partner are together. It’s also a natural way to bond through touch while indicating that you are happily there for your partner, always!

·         Kiss Each Other More Often

When you first started courting your significant other, kissing was probably a highlight of your dates. As time goes on, in most relationships, make-out sessions are replaced by quick, chaste pecks on the lips or a kiss on the cheek. Sarah A. Intelligator, a Family Law lawyer and owner of the Law Offices of Sarah A. Intelligator, recommends that you never stop kissing each other as you did before. When you eliminate these heated shows of affection, you’re subconsciously sending the message that your partner is less desirable to you, and that can sour intimacy and fun.

·         Keep Romance Alive

Just because you’re comfortable with each other doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still flirt and be sappy partners in love! Keep buying flowers. Keep doing romantic things. Be embarrassingly romantic. Act like you’re still in the early “chase” stages of your relationship. You’d be surprised how much that can help keep the spark alive!

4.    Be Your People

When you’ve been with someone for a very long time, it’s easy to slip into a state where you don’t do anything without the other. You become almost interchangeable and, in the worst-case scenario, could get codependent.

This is very unhealthy because the common idea that a partnership is two halves making a whole is not accurate. A partnership is two whole people coming together out of love and appreciation. Your entire life shouldn’t be about your partner, and you shouldn’t be relying on them to give you everything you need. That’s too much pressure for anyone, and it’s blatantly unfair to yourself, too.

Here are some tips for being your own person while still being a unified couple in a relationship:

·         Give Each Other Space

Everyone needs alone time. Even the happiest couples need individual time to themselves, says Parikh. Learn to be comfortable and feel positive without your partner next to you at all times. Lead your own life! Have your own hobbies! Have your own me-time! And of course, respect that your partner also needs all of that, too.

·         Assess Yourself And Grow On Your Own

You need to be a strong person on your own, continually learning and growing with the years, to maintaining a healthy relationship. Your partner should be doing the same. That’s why you need to evaluate and assess yourself, says Amy Bishop, M.S., a couples therapist. There’s no denying that even the very best people can have negative or questionable behavior. We all have toxic or bad sides to us because we’re human and flawed. Your job is to continue learning from your mistakes and being aware of the things you need to work on. Put effort into growing and developing as a person, and your relationship will grow, mature, and become healthier with you. Don’t let your pride stop you from acknowledging your weaknesses!

·         Have Separate Friends

According to research, the least positive relationships most likely to fall apart are those where you have all the same mutual friends. Think about it – you have the same support group and have no social circles of your own, which is far from a positive factor. Worse still, if the relationship falls apart, the friend group is caught in an uncomfortable situation. Mutual friends are good, but have separate circles on top of that, too!

·         Take Care Of Yourself

You’re a grown adult, and you don’t need another human being to look out for you all the time. You get to decide what you want and need and how to spend your time. Yes, you should take your partner into account when your decisions or actions affect them. But if it’s just about you, then be independent! You don’t need your partner to help you with everything or be there for every second of your life, says Parikh. Having one person as your only go-to is toxic for them and for you. Besides, you can always tell your partner about your individual adventures later!

Final Thoughts On Some Things That Make A Relationship Work

Making a relationship works takes effort. You need to stay positive, communicate well, make sure your partner knows you love them, and continue to work on yourself. It might not be easy, but if you love the person you’re dating or married to, it’s certainly worth it!

Lifestyle

Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental Health Day

Counselors Explain Why Every Parent Needs to Take a Mental


Life is full of things that stress you out. Work, bills, social life, kids, spouses – it can all be so demanding. It comes at you like a train going full speed ahead. A good mental health day is almost always the answer.

This is especially true if you have kids and even worse if you have more than one kid. You love them, and they love you. This doesn’t mean that you should be embarrassed to want a break from them.

Unfortunately, for a lot of parents, that break never comes. Many parents don’t make it a priority to take a mental health day to relieve themselves of all the stressors they deal with. They use their kids as an excuse as to why they can’t take time out for themselves.

If this is you, it’s good that you’re reading this article. You need to know why it’s imperative that you give yourself the occasional mental break. Here’s what counselors have to say about it.

Why You Should Take a Mental Health Day

As a parent, you’ll often put your kids first. Your needs get put on the back burner until you get some free time (which doesn’t come very often). You may find that your list of requirements keeps getting longer and longer.

Although you may be the best at managing stressful situations, that doesn’t mean you should continuously do it. The effects of stress can creep up on you and even impact your relationship with your children. You may not realize how stressed you are until you’re on the verge of having a breakdown.

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., president & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, says it’s common for people not to realize how stressed they are. “Often people minimize the stress they are under, the effect it has, and don’t take action,” he says. This pressure is hazardous to your health.

The problem with ongoing stress is that your body never has a chance to settle down. According to Dr. Borenstein, the human body is designed to deal with short-term stress, not long-term stress. No matter how well you handle stress, it’s still stress.

Taking a mental health day ensures that you get a break from stress. This way, even if you don’t realize you’re stressed, you’re still getting a break. It doesn’t make you a bad parent to put yourself first. In fact, doing so helps to teach your children good stress management.

When You Should Take a Mental Health Day

The time to take a break may not be evident because, as stated before, you may not realize how stressed you are. Because of this, you should schedule these days regularly. However, there are a few signs that can let you know if you’re stressed out. Some of them include:

  • Jaw or tooth pain
  • Expanding waistline
  • Having a hard time focusing/concentrating
  • You keep having headaches
  • Trouble sleeping

If you notice that any of this is happening to you, it’s time to take a day to yourself. These few symptoms are manageable, but not taking care of them can cause worse symptoms that will impact your health as well as your relationship with your family.

Once you realize how important it is to take a day to yourself, you’ll probably wonder when the best time is for your day. Scheduling your day can be just as stressful as anything else in your life.

Just keep in mind that scheduling is the key. If you make a plan and plan far enough ahead of time, you can make sure that things will be handled while you’re having your day. The last thing you need to be worried about is who’s taking care of your kids and your household while you’re doing you.

A failure to plan will lead to you feeling guilty about putting yourself first. Guilty feelings lead to stress, and this can cause you to cancel your day. It’s imperative that you make a plan so you can have a peaceful mental health day.

One great way to start your plan is by picking a day that your spouse is off from work. This will ensure that you have someone to watch your kids when you’re not around. If you’re a single parent, try picking a day when a friend or family member is fully available for the entire day.

If you don’t have either of those options, you may have to hire a babysitter. You could save money by picking a day when your kids go to school—that way, the babysitter only needs to be there in the evening.

How You Should Take a Mental Health Day

While you’re planning the date, you should also plan your activities. However, don’t plan a strict schedule. A strict schedule could make you stressed if you can’t stick with it.

You should expect your day to be relaxing above all else. To do that, you need to figure out what you need most of all to rest.

Do you need complete solitude? Perhaps you need more time with your loved ones? A massage is a classic choice.

Whatever it is that you need, put that at the top of your activities list. Try focusing anything else you do that day around your priority. Think of some activities that will relax you and help you have a peaceful day.

Even if you decide to do that one activity, that’s okay. The goal is to renew yourself. But to do that, you’ll need complete peace of mind. Just make sure that you take the whole day to yourself, even if it’s to do that one thing.

Here Are Three Positive Activities to Help You Enjoy a Relaxing Day

You can take your mental health day alone, with friends, or with your partner. Modify these activities to suit your lifestyle.

1 – Treat Yourself to a Day at the Spa

Enjoy a pampering retreat, either alone or with your partner.   Enjoy a manicure-pedicure service, massage, and facial masks. While these services might feel decadent, remember that you deserve it! This self-care is essential to well-being.

2 – Connect with Mother Nature

Do you live near a beach, National Park, or mountains? Grab some of your friends, pack a picnic, and hit the bicycling or hiking trails they offer to visitors. Getting your heart rate pumping as you engage in these activities will invigorate you. And, the grand vistas you see along the way are food for the soul.

3 – Explore Cultural Activities

If you are not the “outdoorsy” type, consider a day trip to a nearby city. Open your mind to learning by exploring their cultural offerings. Do they have an art museum, historic district to explore or live theater? Are any festivals happening that you would enjoy? Expand your mind. That focus on learning new things will entertain you as well as engaging your mind.

What You Shouldn’t Do on Your Mental Health Day

The objective is to have a peaceful day that renews you and gets you ready to face your stressors with a clear head. So far, you’ve been told what you should do during your day. However, there are some things that you shouldn’t do either.

1 – Illegal Drugs

You should never do illegal substances. For starters, it’s illegal. Doing anything against the law is a bad idea. Plus, getting arrested is going to stress you out more than anything your kids could do. Doing drugs while you’re already under pressure can lead to a higher risk of debilitating addiction. Then the drugs will cause even more stress on your mental and physical health. It’s a vicious cycle that can have devastating effects on your life.

2 – Infidelity

Infidelity never ends well. Sure, you may feel good on that day or that night, but eventually, the truth will come out. When it does, it will cause more stress than you could ever imagine.

The stress will come from guilty feelings, but more of it will come from the effects that the infidelity will have on your spouse. Talal Alsaleem, an expert infidelity counselor, says that infidelity causes “…triggers, flashbacks, hypervigilance, avoidance behavior, and manifestations related to the knowledge about the affair and everything related to the affair.” Dealing with this type of fall out in an already stressed marriage could be enough to push you over the edge.

If you’re tempted to cheat on your spouse, perhaps what you need to schedule is marriage counseling instead of a mental health day (you may need both). Communication can significantly reduce stress between you and your spouse.

3 – Overspending the Family Funds

Going shopping is a great way to relieve stress unless one of your regular stressors is finances. The last thing you want to do is aggravate your stress when you’re supposed to be relaxing. If money is a problem in your life, try to plan your day with activities that are free or low-cost.

Even if money isn’t a common issue for you, overspending can stress you out once you’ve realized how much money you wasted. Joel L. Young M.D., medical director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, compares overspending to using drugs. He says that even if people have unlimited funds to spend money, overspending can lead to feelings of guilt or shame, hoarding, and undermining relationships.

Enjoy your day, but don’t bring more stress on yourself by spending unnecessary money. There are plenty of ways to do you without breaking your wallet.

Final Thoughts on Why Parents Should Take an Occasional Mental Health Day

You’ll always be Super Mom or Super Dad to your kids. However, remember that you’re human. You get stressed out, and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is ignoring the fact that you need a break. Even if you handle stressful situations well, you need to renew your mental health every once in a while. Not doing so will begin to affect you and your family in ways you may not even notice.

Focusing on your mental health is setting an excellent example for your kids. After all, you wouldn’t want your kids to subject themselves to constant stress, right? Taking the occasional mental health day will keep you in the right frame of mind to continue being the best parent you can be.

Lifestyle

Therapists Explain 10 Red Flags You’re Dating a Narcissist

Therapists Explain 10 Red Flags You're Dating a Narcissist


If you’ve been in the dating pool for a while, you know how difficult it is to find someone who is honest, genuine, and the best fit for you. Nobody is perfect, but you want to find a love interest who can own up to his mistakes just as well as you can. How do you know if you are dating a narcissist?

There’s a big difference between loving and respecting yourself and being chronically selfish. Narcissism is a broad mental health disorder that makes people believe they are the most important being on the planet, according to therapists. Some of the signs are a grossly inflated ego, refusal to accept responsibility or blame, constant cravings for attention and praise, and disregarding other people’s feelings.

The Myth of the Vain Narcissist

This uncommon personality disorder was named for Narcissus, a character from Greek mythology. According to the story, this child of the river god and a nymph was so beautiful; he fell in love with his reflection in a water pool.

So great was his love that he pined away until he died, leaving a trail of beautiful flowers that still bear his name. Although this is a fictional story, mental health disorder is real.

Types of Narcissism

Psychologists recognize six different types of narcissism, ranging from closeted to psychopathic. This research suggests that a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may stem from a combination of heredity and environment. While therapy can help this condition, there is no cure.

  • Seductive Narcissist: These narcissists try to win your heart to display it as a trophy.
  • Bully Narcissist: To boost their ego, the bully narcissist puts others down and steps on people to get to the top.
  • Exhibition Narcissist: There’s no guessing about this guy because he proclaims his egocentric tendencies to the world.
  • Secret Narcissist: He may not push his selfish agenda on others, but he secretly believes he is superior and entitled.
  • Toxic Narcissist: The ranges of this narcissistic personality are characterized by chronic drama and a long history of abusive relationships.
  • Psychopathic Narcissist: Not only can this narcissist break your heart, but he could also take your life. Most mass murderers are also psychopathic narcissists without remorse.

Are You Dating a Narcissist?

At first, you may not see that your new love interest has a psychological problem. However, warning signs will soon be evident if he is a narcissist. Here are ten red flags of narcissistic behavior that you shouldn’t ignore.

1. He isn’t Honest About His Marital Status

A narcissist can’t admit a failed relationship, even if he is still in it. Before you get attached to someone, be sure that he is free and not committed to somebody else. Take warning if your new love interest’s social media relationship profile says that he is separated or “it’s complicated.”

Do you want to be the third person in a cheater’s marriage? What does it say about a man or woman who is dating while still married? Regardless of the excuses, this person is lying and cheating. A selfish person doesn’t have the honesty and integrity to be part of a healthy relationship, so run while you can.

2. She Lies and Hides Things

A fulfilling relationship must be based on mutual honesty and trust. If it’s not there, then you’re headed for heartache. You can often tell if you are dating a narcissist if you are constantly catching her in lies. Often, narcissistic people will lie and stretch the truth about insignificant things, like where they bought their car or the fabulous job they had back when.

Sure, everybody has made mistakes and done things in the past that doesn’t make them proud. However, an honest person will have no qualms about being truthful about her past, where she grew up, former marriages, etc. Pay attention if she gets defensive and turns it around on you as if you have trust issues.

3. He Can’t Follow the Rules

There’s nothing wrong with individuality, but the typical narcissist expects the world to run by his rules. He has such a high opinion that he believes he is above the laws and rules of society. If you are dating a narcissist, you may see him ignoring simple laws and mandates “just because he can.”

A person who ignores laws is also apt to disregard morality. Perhaps he thinks it’s nothing to cheat on his taxes or his mate. He may think he is good enough to get away with it but refuse to let him get away with your heart.

4. His Romance is Not Genuine

When you first start dating a narcissist, one thing that gets your attention quickly is his air of romance. He knows precisely what you want to hear and uses a lot of smooth-talking to charm you. In the beginning, he may be generous with gifts and treat you like a queen.

The catch is that when he has captured your heart, the narcissist often loses interest. It’s a game of hunt and chase for him, not a seriously committed relationship. He will soon be on to the next conquest, so nip this selfish game in the bud.

These ten signs unmask an abusive narcissist.

5. She Can’t Respect Boundaries

The celebrated poet, Robert Frost, said it best when he wrote that “good fences make good neighbors.” Boundaries are essential for any relationship, be it family, friends, professional, or social. We all have lines drawn in the sand, and we show mutual respect by not crossing them.

You can often tell if you are dating a narcissist if she refuses to respect yours or anybody else’s boundaries. She may continuously push you beyond your set boundaries for her own selfish needs. If dating is this bad, what would marriage or living together be?

6. He Can’t Show Empathy

Do you have a narcissistic friend or relative who can’t put himself aside for one minute to be concerned about your problems? Therapists concur that people with NPD lack empathy skills. So if you are dating a narcissist, take a hint if he can’t relate to your feelings and tries to push your opinions aside.

This cynical personality not only can’t empathize with others, but he will often try to vie for attention by “one-upping” any of your situations or experiences. He is too busy promoting himself to think about your feelings.

7. She Uses People

How does your new love interest interact with her friends and coworkers? Is her friendship and professional relationships mutually respectful, or are they one-sided? A narcissist is always there when she needs you and is seldom seen rushing to help anyone else, not even her beau.

Does she only react with those who feed her ego and discard people who have no more energy or substance to offer her? Be assured that her intentions aren’t any different for you. Please don’t get caught in her web of selfishness.

8. He Takes No Responsibility for Past Relationships

Nobody can defend a narcissist better than himself, especially in past relationships. In many broken connections, the fault can usually be shared. Of course, this isn’t the case for those who’ve endured an abusive or cheating partner.

When you are dating a narcissist, he may fake honesty about his past relationships. If you believe his narratives, he was always the victim, and past partners were “unstable,” and single-handedly destroyed him. Be even more suspicious of him if he doesn’t want you to talk to his ex-partners to find the truth.

9. He Just Wants a Reputation

Narcissistic people spend a lot of time and energy cultivating a false image. He brags up every aspect of his life to impress others and create a bigger-than-life reputation. He usually isn’t worried about character building, because he will often do what it takes to make himself look good, even if it’s immoral.

If you are dating a narcissist, his chronic boasting should be a red flag. He invents big job titles and unbelievable salaries for every job he’s worked. You name it, he’s done it or owned it. Remember the saying that things that are too good to be true usually aren’t?

10. Your Relationship Is Chronically Unstable

Like everything in life, even the best relationships have their ups and downs. However, you shouldn’t feel like you are always on an emotional roller coaster. When you are dating a narcissist, everything will seem unbalanced.

At first, he may pretend to be all about you, then suddenly he is a ghost for days at a time. It’s easy for him to turn his feelings on and off toward you. Please resist the urge to stay in the relationship to change him, because the chances are that he or she will remain a selfish narcissist.

Final Thoughts on Recognizing a Narcissist

Unfortunately, the narcissistic person will never find someone who he loves more than himself. Consider these tell-tale signs that you are dating someone with unhealthy views of themselves, and walk away with your dignity. You deserve to have someone who will love and care for you as an equal. Meanwhile, the narcissist will be left with the only person in his life who loves him: himself.

Lifestyle

Therapists Explain 6 Ways To Calm A Stressed Partner

Therapists Explain 6 Ways To Calm A Stressed Partner


Everyone can get stressed out, and it can be challenging to know what to do when your partner winds up in a stressful situation. If they have unhealthy or less-than-ideal coping mechanisms, it can be even tougher to understand how to help them.

Of course, with your heart going out to your partner, you wouldn’t want them to experience this emotional pain. But how can you help them out of that place without further exacerbating the problem?

Here’s how experts recommend six ways to calm a stressed partner.

1.    Find The Root

Where is your partner’s stress coming from? Why is it causing them to behave this way? No one ever wants to be stressed, so something is causing this to happen, says author and Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., ABPP.

Think back to your partner’s day or current life circumstances and consider what may be causing this stress. Here are some questions to help you in the process:

  • How has their day been?
  • Are their relationships with others, such as family or friends, going well?
  • Are they affected by world events?
  • Have they talked about anything stressful to you?
  • What seems to have triggered their stress?
  • Do they have patterns of becoming stressed in certain circumstances?

When you find the root of stress, you’ll be able to respond better to it and help your partner work through it.

2.    Listen To Your Partner

Unless your partner says, they genuinely don’t want to talk about the source of their stress, sometimes lending them an ear can help them feel better. Author and licensed clinical social worker Judy Ford outlines some steps to do this:

·         Step 1: Recognize Stress Symptoms

Take note of the way your partner begins to behave when stress mounts. Do they exhibit specific behaviors? They might, for example, get fidgety, snap more often, stress eat, or become withdrawn. When you see these symptoms of stress, you can make your approach.

·         Step 2: Approach

If your partner is exhibiting their stress symptoms, try to approach them with no judgment. Have compassion, kindness, and positive thinking when you go to them. Then, ask them how they feel and invite them to talk to you about it, maintaining a welcome tone of voice.

·         Step 3: Listen

When your partner talks about their stress to you, you need to genuinely and honestly listen to them. This will show your partner that you genuinely care for them. Active listening is a critical skill and can make the difference between a positive and negative response from your partner.

·         Step 4: When You Speak, Default To Comfort First

Most people who talk about their emotions will want to be comforted, not provided with solutions right away. First, offer comfort and give them physical or emotional support. Only after that should you ask if they’d like to find a way through the stressful situation with your help.

3.    Be Supportive, Always

When a partner opens up to you, you need to make sure they feel validated. They are vulnerable to you, so it’s only natural that you do your best to accommodate their emotions and show them how you appreciate their openness. Here are some tips for being supportive:

·         Being Patient

Your partner doesn’t want to be stressed out, and they certainly don’t want that stress to affect you. If they come to you and speak in a positive and productive way about something that involves you, resist the urge to default to defensiveness. Be patient and listen instead, so keep calm, recommends Whitbourne.

·         Ask How You Can Help

It’s essential to ask your partner how you can support them, says Ford. Even if you can’t directly help, ask how you can make things go more smoothly for them or how you could help them feel better. You can offer to do some extra chores, help them run an errand, give them a massage, cook them dinner. The possibilities go on and on!

·         Give Them Space If They Need It

Some people need to be alone when they’re stressed out. Don’t take it personally – it’s not about you at all; it’s about someone’s healthy need for me-time. Give your partner the personal space to do their own thing and unwind without your input, suggests Psychotherapist Edie Stark, MSc, LCSW. You’ll be surprised how supportive of action this can be to them and how much it may boost their positive thinking! Just make sure you talk about their needs for space and alone time first.

4.    Understand Insecurity Scientifically

Before you can even begin to calm down a stressed partner, you need to understand insecurity as a scientific concept. This doesn’t refer to typical “insecurity” in the commonly portrayed, obvious sense, but more to insecure attachment and insecure defensiveness. Many times, stress is the result of something partially influenced by insecurity. If you’re not careful, you can trigger an escalation of the situation by not knowing how to manage that insecurity.

According to research, a partner’s stress can spiral out of control when they protect themselves from mental distress. This can trigger immature insecure mechanisms that are important to respond to in a positive way to prevent a worsening situation. A person who is using these mechanisms may:

  • Very heavily fear abandonment.
  • Become defensive or passive-aggressive
  • Respress their feelings
  • Desire reassurance but feel invalidated by your current response.
  • Experience reality distortion
  • Feel too overwhelmed to react positively

Partners who experience severe insecurity may benefit from therapy or counseling services, and it’s worth broaching the subject with them if these harmful attachment patterns are becoming extremely prevalent in your relationship. If they happen too often, it can be toxic and cause the relationship to end.

5.    Try Working Through It Together

As a couple, you are meant to work through hurdles and problems hand-in-hand. You are meant to be there for each other through thick and thin. Coping with issues as a couple is referred to as dyadic coping, and it has substantial positive effects on the health and strength of a relationship.

This is why Assistant Professor of Communication, writer, researcher, and family relationship expert Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, Ph.D. recommends handling stress in the following ways:

·         Learn To Turn To Each Other

When you experience stress, learn to trust your partner and go to them first. Could you encourage them to do likewise? Over time, you will both get better at responding to each other’s stress and will learn to trust each other with the details of your plight naturally. Of course, be aware of emotional bandwidth, too. Communicate clearly about your emotional boundaries when turning to each other!

·         Ask Questions

Don’t be afraid to clarify your partner’s position. If there’s something you don’t understand, ask them about their perspective. Make sure you’re being non-judgmental and be clear that you’re asking because you want to understand them, not because you disbelieve them.

·         Brainstorm With Each Other

When your partner experiences stress, learn to put your heads together. Discuss options, allowing your partner to lead the discussion, and help them organize their thoughts so they can make their own independent judgments, decisions, and conclusions. Your goal is not to push your thoughts onto them, but to help your partner process their feelings and ideas.

·         Offer Your Perspective

Once you’re in brainstorming mode together, offer your perspective of the situation. You may have a less dramatic viewpoint because you’re separated from the emotions your partner is experiencing, or you might have some additional insight or unique opinion. Don’t push your partner to incorporate your perspective – show them alternative options they may not have considered.

·         Support Their Strengths

Appreciate your partner’s strengths and your strengths. See how you can cover for each other and complement each other to find the best solutions!

6.    Learn From This

The point of life is to keep improving based on life experiences. As a couple, you can both learn and grow from moments of stress and become stronger for it. If you don’t learn from the event, you and your partner may end up stuck in a cycle of stress that you never learn to handle better. Here are some ways to make sure you and your partner have learned from this episode of stress:

·         Think Of How To Better Handle This In The Future

What can you learn from this episode of stress? How can you prepare for this in the event it happens again? What triggers do you both need to be aware of? What have you learned works best for both of you, and what doesn’t work at all? When you think of these questions, you’ll be learning and growing together from experience and will be better equipped to face it next time with more positive thinking.

·         Explain Your Point Of View

If your partner’s stress led to them lashing out at you or exhibiting toxic behaviors, you need to tell them about it. After you’ve worked through the worst of the stress, open up communication regarding this with them, suggests Whitbourne. You want to talk about how their defense mechanisms hurt you or made you feel and recommend more mature or positive methods of coping for the future. Remember, don’t be accusatory – focus on explaining yourself productively and with kindness.

·         Understand Your Own Thresholds And Boundaries

Your partner’s pain can, in turn, affect your emotional energy. If you let yourself be drained instead of stepping away when you need to, you’re doing no one any favors. Ford recommends learning to gauge your stress levels, so you know when you need a break and need your support. Be sure to speak to your partner about this. Remember, it’s unreasonable for any expectations to involve a partner being there for the other at their own severe mental detriment. You can’t help each other if you start suffering, too.

Final Thoughts On Some Ways To Calm A Stressed Partner

Stress is a part of life. Your partner will end up feeling stressed out multiple times throughout their life, as will you. Learn to help your partner through their stressful times and learn to rely on them during your own. This will ultimately build your bond and make your relationship stronger!

Lifestyle

Therapists Explain How to Develop Your Self-Belief in 8 Easy Steps

Therapists Explain How to Develop Your Self-Belief in 8 Easy


Self-belief, as the term suggests, means believing in yourself and your abilities. If you don’t have much self-confidence, it makes it hard to achieve your goals and maintain healthy relationships.

Low self-esteem can occur due to several reasons, such as:

  • You’re struggling with unresolved trauma or neglect.

If your parents always criticized you and didn’t reassure you very often, you probably had to work even harder to love yourself as you got older. Learning how to build self-confidence as a young adult may take time if you never knew this valuable skill as a child.

  • You are surrounding yourself with unkind people.

If you have friends who always tear you down or make snide comments, it may affect your self-belief. Not having boundaries and allowing people to walk all over you can hinder your confidence levels. Usually, people who have to put others down have low self-esteem and lack love for themselves, so try to remember that it isn’t about you. Also, make sure to distance yourself from these types of people and try to find positive friends.

  • You entertain negative self-talk.

If you continuously entertain defeating thoughts about yourself, you won’t have much confidence and may find yourself in unpleasant circumstances. Perhaps you may take jobs that only allow you to barely scrape by because you don’t feel good enough for something better. You may also get involved with relationships that invite more stress and negativity into your life.

A few poor choices can take a toll on your self-belief. If you moved to a new city for a job opportunity and it didn’t work out, for example, it may cause your self-esteem to take a nosedive. Some people take things much harder than others, so a minor setback or a poor choice can cause them to second-guess themselves in the future.

Why do you need self-belief?

To put it simply, you need confidence in yourself to achieve goals and maintain relationships with people. Low self-esteem can affect every facet of someone’s life, from their job to their relationships to lifestyle choices. If someone holds a negative view of themselves, they may use substances or get involved in dangerous lifestyles in an attempt to numb their emotions.

If you grew up in a challenging home environment where your personality didn’t get a chance to flourish, you might consider therapy to help you develop confidence. When your upbringing doesn’t give you what you need, it usually reflects in some way in your adult life. Therefore, to have a healthy self-image as you grow up, you will need support from someone such as a therapist or a close circle of friends.

Not everyone who experiences trauma or neglect as a child will have self-esteem issues. However, studies show a strong correlation between childhood trauma or abuse and low confidence levels. Having a good relationship with yourself and believing in your abilities can help you navigate life’s challenges and create a fulfilling future. We all need some level of confidence to complete tasks and tend to our responsibilities in life.

With that said, what if you struggle with self-esteem and have no idea how to develop it? Don’t worry; we have some tips you may find helpful to get you started on your journey to self-love.

Here are eight steps to developing your self-belief:

  1. Have an idea of who you’d like to become and what you want to accomplish.

If you have no clue what you wish for in life, you don’t know what qualities you need to develop in yourself or what steps you need to take. So, you first need to make a list of character traits you’d like to work on and goals you would like to set for yourself. This way, you have a clear idea of what direction to take your life in and who you see yourself becoming. Don’t put any limitations on yourself for this exercise; go all out and write down all the qualities you want in your highest self as well as your loftiest dreams.

You may not have confidence you can achieve these dreams in your present state, but put that negative thinking out of your mind for a few short seconds. Remember that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to – it just takes willpower and belief in yourself.

  1. Practice positive affirmations.

If you want to achieve a more positive relationship with yourself and grow your confidence, you’ll want to include some positive affirmations in your daily routine. Before work or school each morning, write down a few motivational phrases such as “I love myself” or “I attract beautiful things into my life.” This way, you will start the day on a positive note and set the tone for the rest of the day.

You can even write them down on some flashcards and bring them with you so you can refer to them throughout the day. We all need some encouragement, and affirmations make a great way to reset your brain and prime it for positivity.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone often.

Plenty of us get complacent after a while and don’t want to do anything to disrupt the order in our lives. However, we can’t grow unless we actively choose to experience new things and get outside our bubble sometimes. Unique experiences that may seem scary at first can help build your confidence and reveal your true potential. You can take baby steps at first, but make it a point to step outside your regular routine at least once a month.

Keeping life fresh and exciting will improve your perspective and allow you to expand your realm of possibilities.

  1. Challenge any harmful and negative thoughts that pop into your head.

Humans have thousands of thoughts every day, most of them on repeat from the previous day. So, when you have self-defeating thoughts, remember that you don’t have to believe them. Because your thoughts are fleeting, you shouldn’t put too much stock in them. Meditation can help you remove yourself from your thoughts and gain clarity if you struggle with having a monkey mind.

  1. Have a winner’s attitude.

Life boils down to our attitude about it. Because we create different realities based on our most prevalent thoughts, we all have varying experiences. If you want to have a more satisfying life, you should work on improving your attitude and seeing the silver lining whenever possible. This doesn’t come easily to everyone, but with practice, you can start having more positive experiences as your mindset shifts. If you believe wholeheartedly good things will happen, then they will because of the intentions and energy you’re putting out.

  1. Encourage yourself and others.

Treat yourself like you want to treat others because the relationship you have with yourself determines all your other relationships. Hold yourself in high regard, and practice self-love and care often. None of us has all the answers to life, so don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone walks a different path in life, so focus on the one in front of you.

No matter your circumstances, as long as you show yourself kindness and love, you can achieve anything your heart desires. If you can fill your cup, make sure to give the rest to the people around you. We all need some love and encouragement to get by, so if you have any to spare, be generous!

  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and practice regular self-care.

If you don’t feel good on the inside, you won’t have much energy to create a beautiful life on the outside. Confidence comes from within, so start there. Eat healthy, nourishing foods, move your body in a way you enjoy, tell yourself positive thoughts, and surround yourself with uplifting people. Also, make sure to get good-quality sleep and follow your heart when it comes to your career. If you have a good relationship with yourself, it will help build your self-belief.

  1. Distance yourself from negative people and influences.

People who complain all the time or have a negative outlook, in general, won’t help you improve in life. Try to choose positive people and influences so you can continue to develop your self-esteem. Also, avoid watching emotionally upsetting TV programs or listening to depressing music, as these will influence your mood as well.

Final thoughts on developing your self-belief

Positive self-belief comes from the choices you make and the influences you have in your life. If you want to have more confidence, make sure to feed your mind and body well, keep positive people in your circle, and have goals for yourself. The beautiful thing about life is that we can change it in a moment’s notice. We do not have to keep stuck in a mindset or place that doesn’t allow us to flourish. As long as you continue working hard on your self-belief, you’ll never feel disappointed in life.

Lifestyle

School Counselors Explain 5 Signs A Teen Is Under Peer Pressure

School Counselors Explain 5 Signs A Teen Is Under Peer


Peer pressure is commonplace today, especially among teenagers. The pressure can come from verbal or nonverbal influences. Additionally, a little bit of external force can be a good impact, or it can have a detrimental effect.

Since this is such a powerful influence in your child’s life, it’s something that you need to understand to help them. Under the control of this pressure, your child can make bad decisions that can cost them dearly. How does peer pressure affect your teenager, and how do you, as a parent, know when to step in and help?

Let’s assume your child suddenly takes an interest in working out at the local gym to bulk their muscles. This once couch laden teen has joined a group of kids at school who want to better their health. In this scenario, the influence of others is positive because your child is making changes to better their body.

Now, what if your child is caught smoking cigarettes or vaping behind the school with her friends? She felt the pressure from others to do something that can have a detrimental effect on her health.

Yet, she willingly did it because she succumbed to the urgings from others to try something new and dangerous. It’s easy to see that peer pressure can have different effects on your teen, but why is it such a powerful influence?

The Power of Suggestion

Your child goes through various developmental phases as they grow. As a baby, your son or daughter learned that you would take care of all their needs, and they trust you. However, when children reach their teenage years, they try to break away from your influence to form a sense of self.

Your child no longer holds your values in the same light as they did before, as now, they are more inclined to listen to their peers. Your kid needs to fit in at school. Teenagers are at a developmental stage where friends are of the utmost importance, making them more influential than you.

Why is Peer Pressure so Nerve-Wracking?

Let’s assume that your daughter is very wasteful and likes to litter. If she starts hanging with a group of earth-conscious friends, they will pressure her to change her ways. She may change and begin to recycle, picking up any trash she sees lying on the ground, and stop her wasteful habits.

In this instance, the social pressure she feels has influenced her to make positive changes. However, when you find a vape kit in your son’s backpack, you are sure that peer pressure is the invisible enemy you fight. He’s making a very destructive choice.

He knows that smoking and vaping can be harmful to his system. While his brain can register the danger, he can’t comprehend the risks he puts his body in at this point. As your children are growing, their brain is still incredibly young, and you should think of it as a work in progress.

Your teen is going to seek new experiences as they grow and develop, but their brain can’t rationalize what they’re doing. Young people have a higher need for stimulation more so as they age. Inadvertently, new, exhilarating, and powerful encounters many times, transform into high-risk actions.

It’s difficult for a parent to deal with a child who is continuously seeking new stimulation. You won’t always be there to prevent them from doing crazy things or stop their friend’s suggestions to do something dangerous, just so they can “have fun.”

While painting graffiti on the local restaurant wall may seem like a bad idea, the gratification and temptation to “live a little” causes them to ignore the consequences.

5 Signs Your Teen is Dealing with Negative Peer Pressure

Regardless of all the people around your son or daughter, you’re still a powerful influence. While it appears that they are rebellious and not listening to what you have to say, they hear you. Now, whether they listen or not is another story.

It’s essential to stay involved in their lives so that you can help them make better choices. How do you know if your child is under peer pressure and may need help? Well, here are five warning signs to indicate an issue.

1. Sleep Habits Change

Sleep habits naturally change as your child ages. They will sleep more than ever when they hit those puberty years. However, when your child feels pressure from those around them, they can either sleep too much or too little.

You may notice signs like dark circles or bags under their eyes if they aren’t getting enough sleep. You may see their social media time increase as they are on it all night. If they are sleeping too much, you may have problems getting them out of bed or doing things they once loved.

These alterations in behavior can develop into depression if it goes on for too long. You must be careful because of peer pressure and bullying walk a fine line in some instances.

2. Loss of Appetite

Have you noticed a change in their weight? Are they eating too much or too little? A loss of appetite is not uncommon with someone who is under pressure or strain. If their weight plummets or takes a dramatic increase, then it could be a sign that there is emotional upset going on.

3. Moodiness

What teenager isn’t moody? However, you know your child better than anyone else. Hormonal fluctuations can cause Their moodiness, or it can be caused by being unhappy, not eating right, and not getting sufficient sleep. If you can’t even say “good morning” without them biting off your head, then you should investigate further.

4. Withdrawn

Social isolation is a big thing for teens as they develop and change. They may be socially withdrawn from the family and prefer to eat their dinner in their bedroom alone.

However, when you only see them for a few minutes each day, even though they don’t leave home, it’s a warning sign. It would be best if you interact with your child on some level each day.

5. They Have New Friends

Is your teen running with a new crowd? Usually, if there are significant changes in behavior or they become risk-takers, then new friends may be at the crux of the issue. If you’ve noticed that the friends they’ve had since elementary school don’t come around much anymore, you should question their absence.

A new crowd can bring about either a positive or bad influence. Consequently, if you see any of these signs that something is amiss, you can assume that the new friends aren’t the best of characters.

Here is what teenagers who inflict self-harm are trying to tell you.

Common Peer-Pressured Activities

Your child may be a level-headed person that uses common sense to make decisions. Sadly, when hormones begin to rage during puberty, they can be an emotional wreck and make questionable choices. They will push the limits as they try out new personas. Never assume that your teenager is immune from the influence of peers; they just need your positive influence to be stronger.

You know your child better than anyone, and you know if he or she is a leader or a follower. Some teens won’t be swayed by temptation, while others will follow their friends to say and do just about anything. It would help if you were on guard, and here are the five most common things your teen will feel pressured to do.

1. Shoplifting

Remember, teens need to feel an adrenaline rush. They may not need to steal that candy bar at the store, but it gives them the “rush” to do something dangerous. If your child has developed “sticky fingers,” then it could be a sign of pressure from peers.

2. Sexual Encounters

Since their hormones are raging and they are going through puberty anyway, it’s not uncommon for them to have sexual encounters. Sadly, they can use sex as an outlet for their frustration, which can lead to teen pregnancy. Parents need to be observant of abnormal sexual promiscuity as it can get teens in trouble.

3. Smoke, Vaping, Trying Drugs

You may remember smoking in the bathroom when you were in high school. Times change, but some problems remain the same. Smoking, vaping, and trying drugs is the number one temptation that your child will feel pressure to do.

4. Engaging in Risky Behaviors

Life is all about taking chances, but it may cause them to take more significant risks when it comes to the uncertainty of the teenage years. If you’ve noticed that your child is engaging in downright dangerous activities, outside influence could be blamed.

5. Bullying

If one teen starts picking on a peer, then others will jump on the bandwagon. Bullying is never okay, but your child may feel outside influences to torment or taunt another student.

IKEA’s Bully a Plant project proves the power of positivity can alter an outcome.

Final Thoughts: Prepare Your Teens for Peer Pressure Before It Happens

It’s essential to keep the communication lines open with your teenager. If you see any changes in behavior such as inappropriate language, clothing style alterations, social isolation, or disrespectfulness, then you need to keep an eye on them and their friends.

The truth is that if you keep a close relationship with your child that you can usually quickly spot problems and help steer them back in the right direction.

Lifestyle

Therapists Explain the Link Between Good Character and Positive Thinking

Therapists Explain the Link Between Good Character and Positive Thinking


Good character, Helen Keller once eloquently stated, often comes from facing and overcoming difficult times. It doesn’t take much to remain poised and even-tempered when life goes well. But a person’s real character shows when he’s faced with trials and tribulations. The hard days give us a chance to chisel away at our weaknesses and come out stronger in the end. Without struggles in life, we wouldn’t have much of a reason to develop ourselves.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

So, how does positive thinking correlate with developing excellent character? You might feel as if it all boils down to the actions you take. However, anything that manifests in reality begins first inside the mind. Negative thinking easily defeats you. But if you can look at the bright side during even the fiercest battles, you can come out victorious.

No one accomplished anything worthwhile in history without having a determined, optimistic attitude. The mind tells our bodies what to do. So if you want to achieve a better reality, you must begin with correcting any defeating thoughts that creep into your brain. Not only does thinking positively help you accomplish more, but it makes you a better person. Below, we’ll explain more about how optimism can develop your character.

Therapists explain how good character and positive thinking go hand-in-hand:

If you go about life thinking bad things will happen at every turn, then you’ll likely experience precisely that. Our minds create our realities every second, so if you feel predominantly negative thoughts, you’ll start to have more unpleasant experiences. Simply put, people who approach life more optimistically tend to attract better experiences and have better health as a result of lower mental stress.

Studies prove the correlation between positive thinking and better health, citing the following benefits:

  • Increased longevity
  • Decreased rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Lower rates of sickness from the common cold and flu
  • Better mental and physical health overall
  • Improved cardiovascular health and a far-reduced risk of death from cardiovascular diseases
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
  • Lower anxiety and stress levels
  • Better quality sleep

As you can see, positive thinking comes with a plethora of mental and physical health benefits. If something as small as changing the way we think can impact our health so drastically, think of the vast implications, it could have on an even deeper level. Perhaps thinking differently could also make us better people and create a ripple effect on humanity as a whole. Let us explain a few ways that being positive could transform your life and give birth to a whole new you.

Positive thinking gives you the courage to face adversity.

Negative thinking doesn’t make for a very productive, fulfilling life because it stands in the way of everything you want to accomplish. It destroys your willpower and steals your joy. When you think that you’ll get through a situation no matter what, however, you tell your brain that failure isn’t an option for you. As we said earlier, a good character comes from facing challenges, but if you’ve already made up your mind that you’ve lost, then you don’t give yourself a chance to grow from the experience.

Positive thinking gives you the courage and strength to overcome anything that life throws at you. While it may take time to transform your mindset, you will start to see the effects in your life. Our brains are malleable, proven by something called neuroplasticity. We can change the operating systems in our minds anytime we want to and rewire our brains for better outcomes in life.

You start seeing others as equals rather than your competition.

 Positive thinking also promotes community, because when you change your mindset, your compassion increases as well. If you live in a negative frame of mind, you likely only think about getting by and doing what you need to survive. From a positive point of view, you begin to see the beauty of life and how everything connects on an energetic level. As a result, you’ll start to honestly care about others’ well-being instead of treating them as your competition.

Positive thoughts help reduce cortisol and stress levels in the body, making it easier to connect with and relate to others. It takes down the walls we build around ourselves for protection and instead fosters a sense of comradery. Basically, when we feel good inside, we will want to share that joy with others. This happiness can have a ripple effect on others because smiles and cheerful attitudes are contagious.

If we can use positivity to unite us instead of promoting negativity that divides us, why would we consciously choose anything except the former? Just some food for thought.

Positive thinking promotes good character because it makes you more responsible.

 When you have a negative mindset, you may tend to blame others for your problems. However, in a positive frame of mind, you know that you control your reality, and you assume responsibility for everything in your life. However, your life looks now like you’ve created it in one way or another. By thinking positively, you’ll have the willpower and drive to change anything you don’t like, and at the same token, feel gratitude for the good things.

In other words, positive people feel a sense of inner power because they know they can choose to experience something better whenever they choose. They write their story, and they don’t shift blame to anyone else. By owning up to their mistakes, they can analyze what went wrong and learn from it. When you blame others, you remain stagnant because you always have someone else to blame for your actions.

You are less likely to ruminate and will focus on solutions instead.

Negative people tend to mull over what went wrong, as studies prove. This lowers your immune system, creates unwanted stress in the mind and body, and in general, keeps you stuck. Positive people take the lessons they learned from unfortunate experiences and transform them into opportunities for the future. In other words, they remain even-minded in both good and bad experiences. They know that you can’t have light without a little darkness sometimes, and they don’t sweat the small stuff.

Focusing on solutions helps you build character because you know that nothing can bring you down for too long. You’ve made up your mind that you will overcome anything that stands in your way, and you’ve trained your brain to look for solutions. Positive thinkers make good leaders because of this personality trait as people look to them for answers to complex problems.

Unfortunately, humans focus more on negative than positive experiences because we needed to look out for threats in nature to survive. Our brains haven’t yet evolved from this primitive state to adjust to the modern world, so that is why we have to work so hard at reframing our thoughts. Below, we’ll go over a few science-backed ways to become more optimistic.

How to retrain your brain to think happy thoughts:

  • Recite positive affirmations. A lot of the way you think comes from your self-talk. If you tell yourself defeating thoughts all the time, you don’t give yourself much of a chance to witness things in a positive light. Instead, tell yourself things like, “You have what it takes to get through this.” Or, you say, “You’re a strong, capable, amazing person.” As you recite these affirmations either silently or out loud, you’ll start to notice a change in your perspective after a while.
  • Expect good things to happen. One way to trick your brain into thinking positively is to keep your attention on positive experiences. If you make it a point to re-focus more on positive events, the bad parts of life will start to take up less mental space.
  • Think of obstacles as opportunities rather than burdens. When you look at everything that happens to you as a lesson, you become empowered and shift your experience. Instead of being a victim, you see yourself as an observer of what happens to you. You apply what you’ve learned and use it to build a better, more aware version of yourself.

Final thoughts on how good character and positive thinking connect to each other

In life, we always have an amazing chance to build on our experiences, and those who practice positive thinking know this. Therefore, they use negative experiences as simply tools to expand their awareness and chalk it up as important lessons learned. They give thanks to every person and situation they come into contact with because they just view life as a never-ending school, where we advance after we learn certain things. Positive thinking builds character because it shifts your mindset from that of a victim to a powerful creator of your own destiny.

Lifestyle

Experts Explain Whether a Nighttime or Morning Shower is Healthier

Experts Explain Whether a Nighttime or Morning Shower is Healthier


Do you like to take a morning shower, or do you prefer to clean up before going to bed? Whether you choose to cleanse your body in the morning or night doesn’t matter. It’s about getting clean. So, which method is the best?

It’s an age-old debate that probably has been going on since the cavemen were rinsing off from their day in basins. Even with all the advancements in science and health, there is still no clear answer to this dilemma. Indeed, we might never have a clear answer–just personal choice. However, you can use science and studies to make an educated decision on when you should shower.

Of course, you must also consider your personal preference as there is no right or wrong answer. Some might say that the answer is just as murky as used bathwater. If you prefer to shower at night, then your theory is that it’s good to wash away all the dirt and grime from the day before you get into bed.

Those individuals who prefer a morning shower like to wash away all the sweat and debris from the night. Since some people sweat heavily during their sleep, it’s understandable how washing away the nighttime and having a fresh start to the day is the way to go.

The sad fact is that you can take a shower but still spread germs and such around on your sheets. It’s common for humans to sweat at night, and all the bacteria that you collect and generate throughout the night are on your sheets and your body. The germs are just sitting on your skin, waiting to make you smell and feel gross during the day.

Advantages of a Morning Shower

The argument for a morning shower is that you start your day fresh and clean, putting you in the right mindset for success. A shower is refreshing and awakens you so that you can be more alert for your day. If you need a creative boost to get you going, or you have a hard time waking up in the am, then a morning shower may be a better choice for you.

Everyone experiences sleep inertia, and it can last for 15-30 minutes after you rise. Your body is starting to wake up and get all your systems going. It can take some people longer than others. A morning shower can help you shake off that sleep inertia and step out on the right note.

Did you know that many people plan their day and deliberate about their problems while letting the hot water pour over their bodies? It’s in these moments that you have a few minutes to ponder your life, and what better time than when you’re lathering up your soap and cleansing away dirt and grime from your rest. Might as well wash a little bit of negativity down the drain too.

A scientific argument for a morning shower is that the hot water activates your “alpha brain waves,” which are known for giving you clarity about your life and situations that you must handle. Some believe it’s like the zoning out experience that you have when you’re doing exercise or meditations as it can get your creative juices flowing.

Advantages of an Evening Shower

Now, if you prefer to wash off the bacteria from the day in a night shower, then you couldn’t imagine changing your bath schedule. Some argue that since you’re rolling around on the sheets, the germs are spread on the surface rather than piling on top of your skin. Additionally, taking a shower before you go to sleep can help set the mood for a good night of rest.

A study showed that if you take a bath about an hour and a half before you go to bed, it will improve your ability to sleep well during the night. Though it was specifically looking at baths, their investigation focused on the warmth felt from the waters, so it can easily apply to a bath or a shower, either one.

Did you know that your body cools down at night, and your circadian rhythm or internal body clock winds down so that you can drift into dreamland? When you take a shower, it raises your body’s temperature ever so slightly, which kickstarts your body into going into the cooling down process. So, it makes it easier for you to sleep, which is ideal for those who suffer from sleep disturbances like insomnia.

What About Baths?

What if you could care less about the time of day you shower but prefer to take a bath and soak away your troubles? Some argue that baths are nasty because you’re sitting in your bacteria and grime washed from your body. Others don’t care because the warm water eases their tired muscles and feels invigorating.

• Old School Bathhouses

Did you know that bathing has been popular since the Middle Ages? While people weren’t as lucky as a civilization today to have indoor plumbing and tubs, they would gather in bathhouses spread throughout the cities. The Egyptians were the ones who revered the bath as they were fanatics about keeping their bodies clean.

Soap was invented around 2,000 B.C., and before this time, people would use things like olive oil to cleanse their skin and scrape it off with a unique tool. You’ve probably heard of The Roman bathhouses as they were made famous by the people in Italy.

A bath in one of these houses was not just an opportunity to get clean, but it was also a reason to come together and assemble. These baths had a cold room that they called a frigidarium. You started here to get your body ready for the tub. Then you went to the warm room, aka the Tepidarium.

The last room was the hot room or the caldarium. The final step in the cleansing process was to take a lovely, cool dip in the swimming pool. Remember, this was before the days of chlorine and other pool cleansers, so can you imagine the bacteria in those pools?

The churches deemed these sinful places. Thus, church leaders stepped in during the 16th century to begin closing these places, which became obsolete shortly after.

They were concerned about the number of children being born from sinful acts in these houses as well as people’s desire to spend more time congregating in the bathhouse and less time in service. Thankfully, history was already moving beyond the need for public bathing as more families installed bathrooms in their homes.

• The Revolution of the Bathroom

By the 14th century, people had begun to build tub structures from trees to put in their bedrooms. The Palace of Westminster was the first official residence to receive a bathroom, and Edward III ordered it. The baths were mostly with cold water unless they took the time to heat a cauldron.

During the 19th century, everything changed. By the late 1800s, bathrooms were commonplace in households, and residents enjoyed taking a warm bath thanks to Benjamin Maughan and his invention of the gas water heater. Baths became more a part of a daily ritual as people didn’t need to travel to a bathhouse or heat water. In this century, toothpaste, paper towels, soap, and other toiletries also became commonplace.

History is fascinating to learn, and you can now see where your daily bathing habits originated. But, it still doesn’t answer whether it’s clean to take a bath. The truth is you’re not getting clean, even if you use soap, by sitting in a tub of water.

Your body sheds about 30,000 skin cells every hour, which is a significant amount. So not only do you have all the filth you wash from your body, but you also have tons of dead skin cells floating around in your water. How can you possibly get clean when you’re sitting in a tub full of bacteria?

If you like to take a bath for the therapeutic benefits that it brings, then rinse off in a quick shower afterward. There are about 200,000 bacteria per square inch in your tub. Thus, it’s easy to see that you’re not doing yourself a favor by soaking to get clean.

Final Thoughts on the Night Versus Morning Shower Debate

Whether you prefer a bath or a shower doesn’t matter, the point is that you get clean the way that feels comfortable for you. As to when you take that shower, again, preference comes into play. The ideal thing would be to shower in the evening and then again in the morning, but many people don’t have extra time.

Essentially, your shower schedule appears to depend on whether you require more help going to sleep at night or if you need help with getting your body and mental juices flowing first thing in the morning. There truly is no wrong time of day to get clean.

Lifestyle

Life Coaches Explain How to Create an Action Plan to Attain Your Goals

Life Coaches Explain How to Create an Action Plan to


You have goals. That’s wonderful. Believe it or not, you’re doing great. Life coaches everywhere will tell you that a lot of people haven’t even made it that far.

Now you’re probably wondering how to achieve those goals. Many people psych themselves out at this step. It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to achieve these grand goals you have floating in your head.

Life coach Lauren Handel Zander suggests that people haven’t really taken enough time to figure out what they want out of life. Taking the time to sit down and map out what you want can help guide your life. “Whatever you’re chasing in life — it needs to be you true north,” says Zander.

The best way to not get overwhelmed, and to achieve goals is to create an action plan. When you have a plan, you can see the journey step by step and suddenly your goals seem easy to attain. Here is the best way to create a great action plan based on advice from several life coaches.

A Ten-Step Action Plan to Help You Reach Your Dreams

Step 1: Relax.

As stated before, a lot of people can be overwhelmed at the thought of trying to achieve goals. Just relax. You need to get rid of stress first before you embark on this journey because you need a clear head.

Whatever you need to do to take the edge off, do it (as long as it’s nothing harmful to yourself like drugs or alcohol). Take a couple of days off, do yoga, read some self-help books, and get yourself in the right state of mind. You don’t want to start the journey off as a frazzled mess. That isn’t going to help anything.

Step 2: Clearly define your SMART goals.

You may have goals, but your goals need to be clearly defined. According to life coach Alexis Robin, co-founder of pLink Coaching Center, “when you get crystal clear about where you are going on a project, in your career, or in your life, each decision you make will get you closer to or further from that vision. If you are struggling with big decisions it may be because you don’t have your destination clearly identified.”

To clearly identify your goals, you should use the acronym SMART. This stands for:

  • Specific – your smart goal should be as specific as possible. For example, instead of just saying you want to save money, you should specify how much you want to save and give yourself a deadline.
  • Measurable – you should be able to keep track of your progress. It’s essential to be able to see the progress from week to week or month to month.
  • Attainable – you should always aim high, but the goal needs to be reasonable and attainable. For example, don’t say you want to save a million dollars in six months if you’re currently only bringing in $20,000 annually.
  • Relevant – the goal should be relevant to your life, skills, and needs. For example, don’t have a plan to buy a new car if your goal is to save money.
  • Time-based – you should be able to set a deadline for you to achieve the goal. The deadline should be reasonable.

Step 3: Figure out your reason why.

It’s important to understand why you want to reach the SMART goal you’re striving for. Your reason why could be simple. You want to save money so you’re not living paycheck to paycheck. You want to lose weight so you can live a healthier lifestyle. These are simple, but sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the real why.

This could take some self-exploration and it may be a little scary to do that. However, understanding why you want to achieve that goal will provide you with the motivation you need to do it.

For example, you might want to save money so you can enjoy more time and activities with your children before they completely grow up. That’s much more motivational than simply saying you don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck.

Step 4. Create actions and a timeline.

You have your SMART goal in place, and you’re motivated to accomplish it. This part of the action plan is where you map out exactly how you’re going to do that.

You should be able to create a list of actions or tasks that will take you, step by step, to your goal. Essentially, you’re going to divide your main goal into smaller goals. Remember to keep the smaller goals attainable.

Step 5: Get started.

You would be surprised how many people create an entire action plan but never put it into action. Now that you have your plan all set, you have to start doing it. A plan without any action isn’t a plan at all.

This is where your real why is most important. It’s going to give you that fire to get started. Keep that in mind and don’t be afraid to take that first step in your plan.

Step 6: Delegate tasks and designate resources.

Parts of your plan may require the help of other people and outside resources. Don’t be afraid to seek out that help. However, make sure you’re counting on reliable people.

For example, if your goal is saving money, you might have a plan to get a promotion so you can have more money coming in. This means you may need to step up at work and take on leadership positions which include managing other co-workers. Here is where you’d delegate tasks and designate resources.

Step 7: Take your plan step by step.

Remember to take your plan step by step. Of course, you’re going to keep your primary goal in mind, but don’t allow yourself to think of the entire goal at one time. You may find yourself getting overwhelmed.

Remember, you made an action plan for a reason. Don’t focus on future steps. Focus on the step that you’re currently working on.

Step 8: Don’t give up.

Your plan makes it easier to achieve your goals, but it doesn’t make everything easy. There are still going to be challenges along the way. These challenges might push you to your limit.

You have to remember not to give up. Make sure you have a source of strength around you to keep you pushing towards your goals. Keep a reminder of your real why near you. Write daily affirmations, listen to motivational videos, and do whatever it takes to keep going. Remember, when things get hard, or almost impossible, don’t give up.

Step 9: Monitor your progress.

Keep an eye on the progress that you’re making. As you achieve each of your smaller goals, look at them as milestones. Look at them as points in the plan where you need to recognize your small successes so far and make sure you’re still on track.

In other words, hold yourself accountable. If your goal involves a team, hold your team accountable. Have meetings to make sure everything is going as planned. If you need to, meet with individual team members.

Pay attention to the needs that arise as you follow the steps of the action plan. Make sure you’re providing those needs so that your progress won’t stop. In fact, you may need to anticipate needs so that your progress doesn’t stall. You can’t anticipate needs unless you’re doing a great job of monitoring your progress.

Step 10. Celebrate your successes.

Everyone works better on a rewards system. Plan to reward yourself with the accomplishment of each small goal. It can be a small reward, or it can be something extravagant (although if you’re trying to save money you may want to go with a small reward).

If you have a team that’s involved in your plan, don’t forget to reward them for their successes as well. The reward could be as simple as recognition for their efforts. There are plenty of studies that show that employees (or team members) work harder and are more productive when they are recognized for their efforts.

This includes you recognizing yourself. It’s a great way to keep up your self-motivation.

Final Thoughts on Creating an Action Plan to Attain Your Goals

Having goals is the first step to a better future, but you have to find a way to reach them. Action plans are the way to do this. Focusing on the big picture all at once can be overwhelming but creating a plan to get you there makes your goals much more attainable.

Life coaches everywhere will tell you that smaller, attainable tasks take the pressure off you and that taking the pressure off allows you to thrive when you’re pursuing your goals. Take this advice and get started on your action plan as soon as possible. Remember to stay focused and stay motivated and before you know it, your big picture will become a reality.