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Therapists Reveal 6 Ways to Support a Couple Who Suffers a Miscarriage

Therapists Reveal 6 Ways to Support a Couple Who Suffers


A miscarriage is a tragedy for expecting couples. As a friend or family member, it can be hard to see the toll that it takes on them. It’s natural that you’ll want to do all you can to help them get through their grief, but you may not know what to do. Taking the advice of medical experts and therapists can help you with this.

Therapists advise not only grieving couples but loved ones of grieving couples because a tragedy takes a toll on friends and family as well. By following some simple advice, you can help the couple get through their grief in one piece. Here is what therapists say will help a couple who have suffered a miscarriage.

6 Ways to Help Someone Grieving a Miscarriage

So, you’re not sure how to comfort your friends? Here are some tips on compassionate ways to show them your love.

1 – Acknowledge the loss.

Many people often try to avoid talking about a miscarriage because they think it’s too hard for the couple to talk about it. While this is a noble idea, it’s not necessarily the right idea. Talking about grief is one of the best ways to get over it. Perhaps it could be that you don’t know what to say to the couple.

Not acknowledging the loss can make you seem that you don’t care how the couple is feeling. While this is probably the furthest thing from the truth, the couple is probably not thinking straight, and the couple may feel like you aren’t empathetic to the plight. A simple acknowledgment lets them know that you care about what they’re going through.

What you don’t want to do is pretend the incident didn’t happen. The couple is going through a real tragedy, and their grief is there. You don’t have to pretend to be a professional therapist – merely letting them know you’re there for them can be enough.

If you want to go a little more in-depth, or you feel that the couple needs to go a bit more in-depth, London-based psychotherapist Julia Bueno suggests saying something like, “Tell me your story. Start wherever you want.”

Not only does this let them know that you’re there for them, but it opens up the floor to allow them to express whatever they need to communicate. This leads to the next tip – listening.

2 – Listen to them.

Acknowledgment is the first step. When the couple is ready to talk, you should be prepared to listen. It could be just a few sentences they want to say, or it could be an entire speech. Either way, you should be ready to be the ears they need.

Listening doesn’t mean just “hearing” what they say. It shouldn’t be going in one ear and out the other. This means understanding their emotions, reacting to it, and being non-judgmental.

This last part – being non-judgmental – is where a lot of people go wrong. It’s not that they do it on purpose. Sometimes it can seem that you’re being helpful, and no one can blame you for that. After all, you’re not a therapist.

Avoid saying things like, “you were only X weeks along,” or “you’re young so that you can get pregnant again.” Not only is this judgmental, but it’s also insensitive. It’s like you’re telling them that their grief is unfounded.

Of course, you don’t mean any harm, but remember that the couple may not be in the most rational state of mind. They can take your comments and advice out of context and turn it into something that you didn’t mean.

After the acknowledgment, sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing. Allow the couple to do the talking, and you respond only when necessary. Just let them get their emotions out while being non-judgmental.

3 – Refer to the lost baby as a person.

This may seem simple, but it’s especially important if the baby was lost early in the pregnancy. You don’t want to refer to the baby as “it”, or “the fetus”. Remember that to the couple. Their baby was a person, not a failed project.

If the couple had a name picked out for the baby already, use it. When you talk about the baby (which may not often be because you’re listening more than talking), talk as if the baby was already a part of everyone’s life. You may even realize that the baby was a more significant part of your life than you thought.

Just make sure you don’t make unfounded speculations. For example, don’t say something like “baby Sarah would have loved the color pink,” because you don’t know that. Just keep things simple and remember that the lost baby was just that–a baby.

4 – Be prepared for erratic emotional responses.

A miscarriage can cause couples, especially the woman, to have erratic emotions and bizarre behaviors. Many times, the feelings aren’t entirely logical, but depressed people can have strange responses and reactions. Pair this with raging hormones and guilty feelings, and you have a couple that might be nuclear reactors waiting to explode.

You must understand that every couple is different, and there is no right or wrong way to react to such a tragedy. There is also no right or wrong length of time to respond to it. One couple may get over it in a week while another may take years.

It can be challenging as a friend or family member to deal with the ups and downs of an emotional couple, especially if they are expressing anger or frustration, but remember that you need to be there for them. The couple doesn’t mean to take it out on you. Intense emotions, paired with tragedy, can make people behave in ways they don’t mean to.

Another consideration is that one partner may be reacting differently than the other partner. This happens more often than you think. In this case, it’s essential to be there for the partner that’s taking the miscarriage hard.

Women can often take a miscarriage harder than men. According to Rayna Markin, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and associate professor at Villanova University, women can feel desperate, inadequate, embarrassed, or even have guilty feelings. A woman may need a lot of support to get over these feelings.

5 – Be willing to help with physical responses to grief.

The mind and body connect on a spiritual level. It makes sense that when the mind is in distress, so is the body. This can lead to a lot of physical ailments when couples are depressed over a miscarriage.

This means you must be empathetic to their emotions as well as their physical needs.

For women, they’ll already be dealing with the health-related physical ailments of the miscarriage. Their emotions can cause even more problems. These can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration issues
  • Sleeping problems

Women’s emotions and physical ailments can be extreme compared to men. This doesn’t mean that men don’t take it hard, but women tend to take it harder.

Research now reveals that men can be in psychological distress, just like women. For men, their guilty feelings or depressed state of mind can cause some of the same adverse physical reactions that women have.

Depending on how severe their ailments are, they may need a third person to aid in their physical recovery. It could be as simple as making dinner or fetching sleep aids. Whatever they need, you should be willing to help with it.

6 – Don’t rush their grieving process.

Everyone grieves differently, so it makes sense that everyone will take a different amount of time to get over the grieving process. It doesn’t matter if the length of time doesn’t make sense to you. People must have the time they need to process and get over tragic events.

If you’re an impatient person, now is the time to work on that. If you plan to be a good friend or family member, you must be willing to deal with the couple’s grief for as long as it takes. Don’t try to rush them through it.

According to therapists and researchers, women can take up to three years to get over the emotions from a miscarriage. Men usually don’t take as long, but the relationship can be affected by negative emotions. Just be prepared to be the shoulder and ear for the long haul.

Final Thoughts on How to Support a Couple Who Suffers a Miscarriage

Losing a baby is one of the most challenging things a couple can go through. It doesn’t matter if the baby was born or not. The couple had a strong bond with their child, so losing the child can be devastating.

Being a person on the outside of the situation can be tough as well. You want to be there, but you may not know what to say or do. The advice that therapists and doctors offer in this article can get you on the right path.

Above all, remember to be empathetic, non-judgmental, and patient. You can’t put a time limit on grieving, and you can’t streamline the process. The most you can do is be a good friend or family member and be there for them the best way you can.

Lifestyle

Experts Reveal 5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Memory

Experts Reveal 5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Memory


Are you a forgetful person? Does your mind tend to discard lists, numbers, dates, names, or faces? Do you often forget appointments or pre-planned events? Have you sometimes found yourself merely not knowing what’s going on at any given time, despite knowing before? Today, we are sharing five easy ways to help you to improve your memory.

If you said yes to any of those, you might have a bad memory! Luckily, memory issues don’t have to be permanent, and you can learn to sharpen your mind and prevent cognitive problems. Here’s how experts reveal five simple ways to improve your memory.

1.    Learn Memory Techniques

There are a lot of different tips and tricks for memorizing certain things. Some of these tips and tricks might even expand into something that retain information long-term! If you’re looking to improve your memory, these techniques are the go-tos. Here are five of them:

·         Make Connections

Form connections between new information and information you already had. For example, if you are trying to remember your parking bay of H44, think about your friend, whose name starts with an H and is 44 years old. Connecting the new knowledge to something you already have memorized perfectly makes it much easier for you to remember it later. According to Mount Sinai School of Medicine assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and memory enhancement program founder Cynthia R. Green, Ph.D., who is also an author and the president of Memory Arts.

·         Simplify

It’s effortless for the brain to forget vast amounts of information that all come at you at once. Green recommends that you break down what you receive into manageable, smaller chunks of information that you can memorize one by one and put together later if needed.

·         Create Pictures or Movies

When you have something to remember, try to create a memory picture or a memory movie about it. For example, if you need to remember to buy five boxes of cake mix, imagine five cakes stacked precariously on top of each other. If you need to remember the name Rick, attach the person’s face to the image of Rick and Morty in your mind!

·         Review, Don’t Repeat

Reading the same thing over and over again doesn’t have a positive effect on how much information from it you retain. Instead, you want to review or “retrieve” the memory you have from the first reading if you want the memory to be long term. Memory researcher and University of Louisville professor Keith Lyle, Ph.D. recommends thinking about what you length at regular intervals, with the gaps increasing in size each time. This is much more likely to result in retention than simply relearning everything several times over.

·         Tell A Story

The storytelling technique involves taking a list of information and making them into a story, says Green. It’s the memory picture or memory movie technique expanded. For example, to remember the words “green, truck, violin, duck,” you might imagine a green truck driving by a duck playing the violin.

2.    Hack Your Memory

Hacking your memory isn’t as fancy as it sounds. It merely refers to the ability to use different actions and environmental factors to improve your memory in certain areas. Not sure what we mean? Here are some ideas:

·         Make Memory Spots

In your home, office, or other commonly frequented places, designate a particular spot as your memory spot. It’s where you will put all the things you typically forget, like your keys, your wallet, or your phone charger. It can take some getting used to, but Green suggests putting it into practice. Get used to putting items easily forgotten in these memory spots and visit those spots so you can check if you’ve forgotten anything. The next time you lose something, it’ll be waiting in that spot!

·         Exercise Your Brain

The brain needs to work out, just like the rest of the body, to stay healthy, says Gouras. Regular mental stimulation through puzzles, tests, and the act of learning new knowledge can help reduce cognitive decline’s effects. Over time, it will sharpen your memory and have positive impacts on brainpower. Think of it as a kind of mental training!

·         Write Things Down

Sure, technically, writing something down means you don’t have to remember it, but it’s an excellent way to practice building your memory. It ensures that you do remember what you have to do, letting you practice more memory retention in the future, says Lyle. The act of writing things can also make it easier for some people to commit things to memory – even more so than typing things out, according to studies!

3.    Cut Down On Some Foods

Did you know that certain foods can harm your memory? Through several components, these foods can damage the brain’s natural ability to remember things, often affecting parts of the brain permanently in the long run. Here are some food components to avoid:

·         Carbohydrates

Not all carbs are bad. The ones that can have a negative effect on your memory are the refined kinds. Think of white bread, white rice, white pasta, cereal, and baked goods. These all have a high glycemic index and are digested by the body at a swift rate, causing blood sugar spikes. These carbohydrates can all lead to an increased risk of cognitive function, including dementia and other forms of cognitive decline, according to studies.

·         Sugar

Added sugar has many downsides, but mostly it’s been linked to all sorts of chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Unfortunately, one of the conditions that it has been linked to is cognitive decline. Eating a lot of sugar can shrink the volume of your brain, especially the part responsible for short-term memory, according to research.

·         Cholesterol

High cholesterol levels can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially at a younger age than typical. This is according to Weill Medical College professor of neurology and neuroscience and Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research adjunct professor Gunnar Gouras, MD. The consumption of statins, which can lower harmful cholesterol, has been linked in studies to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s development.

·         Alcohol

High alcohol consumption has been known to lead to many health problems, but binge drinking is especially worrying for the brain. This is because the natural neurotoxicity of alcohol can affect the brain’s hippocampus, which is responsible for many memory-related functions. The memory-shortening effects of alcohol are effective immediately when one becomes intoxicated, and excessively falling into a drunken state can be the cause for eventual permanent memory decline. It’s OK to have a drink once in a while, especially in a positive environment, but do so responsibly!

4.    Add More Of Some Foods

Just like you need to cut down on some consumables to improve your memory, there are some foods you need to add more of. Here are some that the experts recommend!

·         Eat A Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diets have been known for years as a memory-boosting, brain-protecting, heart-healthy eating plan. This is likely due to the types of foods involved and their rich vitamin, mineral, and nutritional component content. If possible, try to incorporate aspects of a Mediterranean diet into your daily meals, suggests research.

·         Take Enough B Vitamins

B12 and other B vitamins play a significant role in positive memory functions in the brain. A lack of them can even lead to cognitive decline. Green states that the older you get, the more complicated your body may find it to absorb dietary B vitamins. Make sure you’re getting enough folic acid, B6, and B12. If you need to, you may want to take a supplement, but talk to your doctor about it first!

·         Take Enough Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant that fights against free radicals and works to break down fatty substances and cholesterol buildup. It may also help bring down inflammation. With all these factors combined, vitamin E can slow or prevent the onset of cognitive decline and brain issues caused by inflammation, promising more positive memory strength. According to Gouras, you should try to get around 400 IU of daily vitamin E.

·         Get Enough Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fatty fish, fish oils, and healthy fat sources, are essential for many bodily functions. This includes cardiovascular health, positive thinking and mood, and even inflammation. On top of that, it has been found to be able to reduce mental decline. Most foods with lots of omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be brain foods for a reason, after all!

·         Stay Hydrated

The brain is full of water; in fact, 85% of it is just water alone! A lack of hydration can cause fatigue and brain fog, potentially affecting your memory in the long run with chronic dehydration. Make sure you’re drinking at least eight glasses of water daily and that you drink water as soon as you feel thirsty.

·         Try Some Ginkgo

Ginkgo is a herb that has been found to have scientific links to brain cell enrichment, meaning it can keep the mind healthy while boosting circulation throughout the body. Just make sure you consult a doctor before going through with supplementation!

5.    Manage Your Mental Health

Mental health and positive thinking can play a huge role in whether your memory stays sharp or not. Those who experience chronic or frequent anxiety and stress have a heightened level of the stress hormone cortisol in their body. A lot of cortisol production means the body goes into fight vs. flight mode, and this means directing energy to your body staying alive, not to more satisfactory brain function. Green explains that this pattern may affect the hippocampus, damage sleep ability, and even directly affect your ability to retain memories.

On top of that, did you know that depression and cognitive impairment have been linked by research? In fact, according to Grouras, many times, depression can be misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s disease! Many people who are very depressed can completely forget some moments of their life.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or chronic stress, seek mental health aid from a therapist, counselor, or similar qualified professional.

Final Thoughts On Some Simple Ways To Improve Your Memory

Memory problems can range from inconvenient to frightening. Luckily, you can learn tips, methods, and habits that will slowly improve your memory over time until you’re a sharp-minded machine! Of course, note that if you think that your memory problems are degenerative or severe, you should speak to a doctor for an opinion.

Lifestyle

15 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic and Love Yourself

15 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic and Love Yourself


Meet your worst critic–yourself.  Consider this scenario, below:

Danielle worked hard to be noticed by an agent. It seemed that it was finally paying off as she sat in the lobby, waiting for her turn to audition. As she sat there, she looked around at all the other women. “Their clothes are a lot nicer than mine,” she thought to herself.

Not being able to do anything about her clothes at the moment, Danielle decided to read over the script once more, convinced that she’d forget every word as soon as she got in front of the agent. The thought of this brought sweat to her forehead. “Great, now I’ll be a sweaty mess, and my curls are going to drop. This meeting is going to be a disaster.”

A pretty woman walked out of the room and called Danielle’s name. “Here goes a train wreck,” Danielle thought to herself as she entered the room. It seemed like the agents stared a hole into her soul as Danielle repeated the script. When it was over, the said “thank you” in a monotone voice as she exited the room.

“I blew that audition. I don’t even know why I’m still pursuing this,” Danielle thought to herself as she entered the elevator. Tears ran down her face, and she didn’t even care because she figured they would blend in with her sweat.

You might not be an actor, but you can probably identify with self-critical feelings like those.

Introducing the Inner Critic

That story was depressing, but it’s a great way to illustrate how your inner critic can make your life miserable. Talking to yourself can be a good thing in some cases, and the private conversations in your head should always be inspiring. However, that’s not always the case. Sometimes that criticizing voice in your head can be a real bully.

You must silence that bully to be happy and love yourself. It’s not easy to do this, but with practice, it’s not impossible. In this article, you’ll learn a little about what an inner critic is as well as 15 ways to manage it.

Understanding Self-Criticism

Your inner critic is a voice in your head that scrutinizes even the tiniest anxieties. It’s a voice that can make you feel insecure and lower your self-confidence if you don’t learn how to tame it. Listening to it becomes addictive, and like all addictions, it can lead to self-destruction.

If you aren’t in control of that inner voice, it can seem that the voice is elusive. You’ll be so used to it that you don’t even realize when it’s speaking. However, this critical voice can become entangled deep into your sense of self – so deep that it’s almost a part of who you are.

Everyone has that judgmental voice. Some people are better at managing it than others. The good news is that you can get better at managing it. Using the 15 tips below, you can take control of your self-criticizing inner voice, silence it, and love yourself again.

Silence Your Inner Critic with These 15 Tips

1. Detach from your inner critic.

The first thing you need to do is realize that the voice in your head is not you. You could even give it a name to establish it as a separate entity. This way, when it shows up, you can say, “go away, Fred,” or whatever name you decide to use. Doing this is the first step to taking power away from Fred.

2. Post affirmations and read them often.

It’s no secret that reading or saying positive affirmations help to inspire and motivate you. This tip is especially true if you use affirmations designed explicitly for anxiety. Affirmations can boost self-love, inspire positive thinking, and push self-criticism to the back burner. Just make sure your assertions are rooted in reality, so you aren’t disappointing yourself.

3. Be aware of your thoughts.

As mentioned earlier, you could be so used to self-criticism that you don’t even realize it’s there. You may have accepted it as a way of life. To take control of Fred, you’ll need to be aware of when he rear’s his ugly head. Start paying attention to the thoughts that come across your mind so you can begin to stamp away from the negative criticism.

4. Let go of past situations.

Sometimes that awkward self-criticism can be sourced by situations or even people from your past. Someone said to you as a child could have cut you so profoundly that it remains with you through adulthood. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past or what someone said about you in the past. You determine who you are and what your life is.

5. Give yourself advice like you were a friend.

Sometimes it’s easier to give other people advice than it is to take your own. Fred is glad because he can continue to criticize you relentlessly. Instead of letting Fred win, try giving yourself advice like a friend if they were in the same situation. Then apply that to yourself.

6. Improve yourself instead of settling.

Many people give in to what their self-criticism says. Instead of doing this, prove your self-criticism wrong. Does your inner voice say you won’t pass a test? Prove it wrong by studying harder. Does it tell you that you’ll never be rich? Make a financial plan to become a millionaire and put it into action. Maybe it says you’ll never lose weight. Join a gym and workout every day. Show yourself how wrong that inner voice can be.

7. Turn criticism into constructive criticism.

Sometimes that inner voice might be hinting at a bit of truth, even if it is mean about it. This habit may take a bit of practice but try to strip down the negativity in the thought and use it as constructive criticism. For example, if your inner voice tells you that you’ll never get the promotion you so desperately want and you know that you’re always late, stop being late. You’ll still need to have a more positive inner voice but use the criticism to do better.

Learn the most powerful techniques to build self-confidence.

8. Be nice to yourself.

You can be the harshest person to yourself. This self-talk doesn’t help your self-esteem at all. Sometimes you need to give yourself a break. You’re only human, and no one is perfect. Try being better to yourself, even when you mess up, or things go wrong.

9. Celebrate your accomplishments.

When you achieve something, no matter how small it is, you should celebrate it. Reward yourself somehow for reaching your goals. Psychology tells us that self-regard isn’t selfish. In fact, it’s a great way to begin disassociating negative behaviors like the ones that trigger self-criticism.

10. Show yourself some compassion.

You’re going to mess up sometimes. That’s a part of life. No one is perfect. Therefore, you should show yourself some compassion. There are going to be times when things don’t go your way. Maybe something terrible happened. Perhaps you actually caused it. However, remember not to be so harsh on yourself. It could happen to anyone.

11. Focus on your great qualities.

Instead of focusing on what your inner voice is telling you is wrong, focus on all the things that are great about you. Drown out the negativity from Fred with as much positivity as possible. Even if it’s small things, add that to your focus list. Eventually, you’ll realize that Fred was wrong, and your positive list is a lot longer than the negative list in your head.

12. Start a daily journal.

Journaling may sound like something a teenage girl does while stretched across her bed with a fuzzy pink pen, but it’s a proven way to improve self-esteem, self-love, and self-confidence. Journaling helps to unlock things about yourself you may not be aware of. One of those things is negative thought patterns. You’ll be able to see these thought patterns and make changes to them.

13. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to other people is a disaster waiting to happen. You’re not like anyone else, so you can’t expect yourself to do what everyone else does. When you compare yourself to other people, you automatically set yourself up for negative self-criticism because you’re comparing yourself to someone who you’ll never be. Instead, focus on what you can do and are willing to do to improve yourself.

14. Remember that you are your own worst critic.

You would be surprised how much other people are not criticizing you. Usually, the worst criticism happens internally. People can be so hard on themselves. It’s okay if you’re pushing yourself to be better. If it gets to a point where you’re putting yourself down, it’s time for a change.

15. Consider therapy.

If all else fails, you may need to consider getting professional help. It’s not fair to continue to allow negative self-criticism to take away your peace and your grace. Don’t feel bad if you can’t handle it on your own. That’s what therapists are for.

Final Thoughts on Silencing Your Inner Critic

Self-critics are the harshest critics on the planet. Your inner voice can have your self-esteem in the trash. If you keep listening to that inner voice, you’ll eventually lose your grace and your self-love.

You don’t have to suffer from negative self-criticism. With a little effort and some great advice, you can overcome the self-criticism. Use the 15 tips above as a starting point to stop being your worst critic with more positive thinking.

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

10 Ways to Express Yourself When Your Partner Refuses to Hear You

10 Ways to Express Yourself When Your Partner Refuses to


Nothing feels more frustrating than when you try to express yourself, and the other person doesn’t seem to hear you. During arguments in relationships, things can get misconstrued in the heat of the moment, which leads to hurt feelings. However, if you can learn to manage your emotions during disagreements, your bond will become stronger.

One study on relationships over 14 years found that couples who argued often had the least likelihood of getting separated. The study followed 79 couples across the Midwest and discovered that the strongest couples resolved arguments quickly. So, just because you argue sometimes doesn’t mean you have a bad relationship. When you have a partner, you’ll inevitably have disagreements, but how you resolve them matters most.

Here are ten ways to express yourself if your partner doesn’t hear you:

If you feel like your partner doesn’t hear you during arguments, the following tips can help you express yourself better.

1  – Make sure you understand your emotions first.

If you don’t know how you feel, communicating your needs to your partner won’t come easily. To feel heard in a relationship, you have to get completely honest and open with your significant other. This honesty requires you to dig deep and understand where the emotions are coming from and why you feel unsatisfied with a certain aspect of your relationship.

Remember that your partner can’t help you if you don’t make your feelings and needs explicitly known. Also, take time to explain how you feel clearly without blaming or name-calling. The key to resolving arguments lies in how you choose to respond to your partner. If you lash out or talk over them, of course, they won’t want to listen to you. Calmly explaining your emotions and directly asking for what you need helps resolve problems effectively.

2 – Actively listen to them.

If you want your partner to listen during arguments, you have to give them that same respect. Also, make sure you truly listen instead of just waiting for your turn to make your point. It will help you express yourself more if you can make your partner feel comfortable doing the same. Relationships rely on active listening from both partners to survive. Studies have shown that active listening promotes healthier relationships.

Active listening involves the following:

  • Putting your phone away and giving your total attention to your partner
  • Maintaining eye contact the whole time
  • Restating what they’ve said to make sure you understand
  • Asking for clarification about certain points if you need it
  • Having empathy and trying to understand wholly where your partner is coming from
  • Staying in the present moment and not just waiting for your turn to talk

3 – Avoid anger.

Stay away from anger at all costs if you want to express yourself to your partner. Anger only breeds more chaos and dysfunction in communication with someone because they will automatically get defensive. No one likes getting yelled at, especially after a hard day at work or school. Be mindful of how they feel and choose to treat them with loving kindness even in disagreement.

You can still get your point through without having to resort to emotionally charged language and explosive arguments. If you have trouble with this, take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and come back to the discussion when you have cooled down. Studies show that yelling triggers the fight-or-flight response, causing us to become more reactive because we feel threatened. Therefore, a calm and soothing tone of voice produces the opposite effect – your partner will feel more open and willing to listen to you.

4 – Don’t accuse your partner of anything.

Accusing someone of something always puts them in defensive mode. Instead, choose to focus on how their actions made you feel and express yourself in terms of emotions. They will respond much better if they don’t feel attacked or pressured by accusations, and the talk will be more productive. Put it this way – how would you feel if your partner started listing off all the things you’re doing wrong?

You probably wouldn’t take to it very well. So, please give them the same respect and watch the words you use with them. Instead of saying “You did ______ and I’m tired of it,” try saying “You hurt my feelings when you did ____, even if you didn’t mean to.” The second phrase sounds much friendlier and open-minded, in our opinion.

5 – Stay humble.

If you want to express yourself in a relationship, remember humility, above all else. Coming at your partner or friend with hurtful words will only make them put up walls, and your message will get distorted. They will take in what you have to say if you show vulnerability and compassion for their feelings.

To put this into practice, try to think about how you may have contributed to any issues. Even if you don’t want to admit it, it usually takes two people to have relationship problems. Talking about how you can improve your behavior will make your partner more willing to discuss their shortcomings. If you can tackle issues as a team and talk to each other respectfully, any arguments will dissipate.

6 – Restructure the narrative.

Maybe you’ve been reading the whole situation the wrong way. Perhaps they haven’t wronged you. You just perceived the issue incorrectly due to your own emotions. Relationships can get tricky since they involve matters of the heart, and frequently, even our partner can misunderstand us.

Let’s say your spouse doesn’t pay you as much attention lately, and you’ve been feeling neglected. Your mind automatically goes to the worst-case scenario, like they are having an affair or have lost interest in you. Then, you lash out at them or allow resentment to build up based on your interpretation of the situation. However, you may not have considered other possible reasons for their lack of interest:

  • extra work at the office
  • stress about bills/life/other important people in their life
  • dealing with the kids (if you have them)
  • they need some time to themselves
  • any other reason besides the worst-case scenario

7 – Discuss things in their language.

Do they speak in a more emotional or logical way? Either way, try to talk things out in a way that they can understand, but that still conveys your message. If you lean more toward the emotional side and they are logical, they will appreciate directness. However, if the opposite is true, you’ll want to show more sensitivity and compassion. Learn your partner’s methods of communication so that when you express yourself, the message doesn’t get lost in translation.

8 – Write them a letter.

This idea may sound silly, but sometimes our words just come out better on paper. You can always talk it out with them afterward, but writing it down first can help, especially in new relationships.  Plus, writing things out can help you make sense of your thoughts and sort through them better. When you talk about them, you’ll have had time to reflect on how you feel and convey it to your partner easier.

9 – Consider talking to a therapist.

If you have tried everything with your partner and still don’t seem to hear you, consider going to couple’s therapy. A therapist can help you to break down any barriers in your communication and connect better as a couple. If your partner hesitates about going, make sure you let them voice their concerns first. Remind them that it can benefit both of you and make you stronger as a couple.

A couple’s therapist seeks to help people improve their relationships by recognizing and resolving all types of conflict. Many couples don’t know how to communicate with one another, so if you don’t feel heard, this might be an option for you.

10 – Remain positive.

Your partner will likely respond to negativity in the same way, so try your best to remain positive when you express yourself. Even if you’ve been hurt, try to frame your thoughts in a way that isn’t accusatory. For example, you could say, “I know you’ve been busy lately, but I miss having dinner together on weeknights.” In this way, you haven’t accused him/her of neglecting you, which would likely prompt a defensive response.

Final thoughts on how to express yourself when your partner refuses to hear you

When you have arguments with your partner, you want to express yourself to resolve the issues at hand. However, sometimes miscommunication causes your partner not to hear you, which only ends in frustration and heartache. If you want to get your own message across clearer, try to avoid talking when you feel angry. Also, please keep an open mind and let them speak their side of the story.

If you don’t feel heard in a relationship, consider that your partner may not either. If you can both work together to make one another’s needs known, you will have a happy, long-lasting relationship.

Lifestyle

12 Ways to Stay Calm During Relationship Struggles

12 Ways to Stay Calm During Relationship Struggles


Relationship struggles happen with every couple from time to time, but they don’t have to make your relationship spiral out of control. It’s important to stay calm during conflict so that both people hear each other out and come to a compromise. You might think that never fighting points to a healthy relationship, but experts say the opposite is true.

One study found that over 14 years, couples who argued often had the least likelihood of getting separated. The study followed 79 couples across the Midwest and found that the healthiest couples clashed and reconciled immediately afterward. So, don’t think that arguing a lot signals a strained relationship. It may strengthen your bond, depending on how you react after the argument.

Here are 12 ways to stay calm during relationship struggles:

Below, we’ll go over a few easy tips for remaining calm amid a disagreement. Remember, arguing is normal, and how you respond to your partner makes all the difference.

1 – Don’t expect perfection.

Many good, solid relationships fail because of unrealistic expectations. By expecting perfection from your partner, you never give them the freedom to make mistakes. They won’t feel comfortable in the relationship because of the impossible standards you’ve set for them. When you have relationship struggles, remember that both of you likely contributed to the problem.

This way, no one will get all the blame for the issues, and you can talk openly about your feelings. Of course, if you did nothing wrong, you have nothing to feel sorry for. If it was indeed on your partner, remember that they’re only human and likely didn’t purposely hurt you.

2 – Listen first, respond after.

Sadly, many people react without actually listening to someone’s point of view. However, make sure to stay calm and give your partner the chance to talk. You will learn more this way and perhaps understand why they reacted a certain way. Listening makes up a massive part of a successful relationship. Studies have shown that those who actively listen have better relationships.

What is active listening, exactly? It usually consists of the following:

  • Put away your cellphone or any other distractions.
  • Maintain eye contact with your partner
  • Restate or summarize what they’ve said for clarity
  • Acknowledge that you’re listening by saying “Mmm-hmm” or “yeah” occasionally.
  • Have empathy and understanding for your partner.
  • Most importantly, listen to understand wholly, not to reply.

3 – Try to remember you’re a team.

Don’t look at your partner as the enemy; instead, look at the problem you face as the real opponent. In relationship struggles, it’s easy to blame your partner for everything. However, this won’t get you any closer to solving the issue at hand. For any problem you face, you’ll want to stay calm and actively brainstorm on a resolution together.

4 – Keep in mind that every relationship has ups and downs.

Don’t get discouraged when you and your partner have disagreements; these will come up in any healthy relationship. Life does not come complete with an instruction manual. Indeed, you’ll face tons of challenges along the way. However, learning how to tackle problems as they arise helps you become stronger as a couple.

Of course, if a relationship goes through more bad times than good, you may want to reevaluate where you stand with them. Perhaps they haven’t been pulling their weight or have an overly negative attitude. As long as you work together and put in equal effort, you can get through anything.

5 – Don’t say anything you’ll regret later.

In the heat of the exchange, you may get a case of word vomit and say a few things you don’t mean. It happens from time to time. But if you wish to smooth things over easier, try to take a few breaths before you speak. Nothing good comes from anger, including lashing out at your partner during a disagreement.

Take time to formulate a response before you say anything because this can prevent a lot of heartaches and hurt feelings.

6 – Walk away for a few minutes to stay calm.

If taking a few breaths doesn’t work, you may need to walk away and get some fresh air. Or even revisit the topic later that day or the next day if you need to. Never put yourself in a situation where you don’t think you will have control over your response or reaction. This will only cause hurt to your partner and perhaps damage your relationship in the long-term.

7 – Put yourself in your partner’s shoes.

Sometimes, the best way to overcome relationship struggles involves a hearty dose of empathy. If you want to resolve a problem, try to get inside your partner’s head. Where are they coming from? What can you learn from their side of the story?

You always want to approach relationship struggles as a team rather than you vs. them. You will only cause more strife and turbulence by trying to get your way or discarding their feelings.

For example, if your partner didn’t come home in time for dinner, they probably have a perfectly reasonable explanation. They may have gotten tied up at work or had a flat tire. Make sure to hear them out and get their side of the story before you react.

8 – Remember the positives of your relationship.

Many people ruin a perfectly good relationship by focusing too much on the negatives. In fact, according to the Gottman Institute, contempt in marriage is one of the most significant predictors of divorce. An excerpt from an article on the book’s website states:

“After watching thousands of couples argue in his lab, he was able to identify specific negative communication patterns that predict divorce. He called them The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and they are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.

Contempt is the most destructive of The Four Horsemen because it conveys, “I’m better than you. I don’t respect you.” It’s so destructive that couples who are contemptuous of each other are more likely to suffer from infectious illness than couples who are not scornful of each other. The target of contempt feels despised and worthless.”

However, even if you have a pattern of talking down to each other, you can always reverse this behavior. Relationship struggles can take a toll on a couple, but you can overcome them by recalling positive aspects of your relationship. Think back to when you first met and remember why you love your partner. If you can revive the fondness and admiration, you feel for each other. You’ll approach problems as a team.

9 – Put your partner’s happiness first.

Sadly, many people look to others to fill a void within their hearts, but this can quickly drain the other person. Of course, you should have a partner who makes you happy, but your relationship shouldn’t be primarily self-serving. In other words, you should want to make them feel fulfilled and put their needs first. If you both can do that for each other, you’ll have a higher chance of a successful relationship.

People who only think about their personal needs often end up jumping from one relationship to another. If you want a relationship, it takes a lot of sacrifice and selflessness to make it work. Sometimes, you must be willing to put aside your desires to make your partner happy.

10 – Practice mindfulness.

To stay calm during relationship struggles, you should remain mindful and present. Don’t recall old arguments and mistakes, and hold them over your partner’s head. This will only add more fuel and fan the fire and make your partner resentful or unwilling to discuss things with you. Tackling only the problem at hand makes it easier to smooth things over, and you’ll have the mental focus necessary to do so.

11 – Be open to being wrong sometimes.

You can’t be right all the time, especially in a relationship that requires humbleness and vulnerability. If you want a successful partnership, you’ll have to have an open mind and admit when you’re wrong at times. Focusing more on overcoming the issue instead of having to be right will ensure success in the problem getting solved.

12 – Don’t make assumptions about your partner.

Your partner may not be giving 100% lately, which makes you feel resentful and neglected. However, try to put yourself in their shoes– don’t assume they don’t care about you. Maybe they have a lot going on in their life, and asking them about it opens the floor for a heartfelt discussion. Not sure what’s on your their mind? Ask them–their inattentive behavior might be an outcry for help.

Final thoughts on how to stay calm in relationship struggles

Every relationship goes through phases, and it won’t always feel like the best time of your life. Anyone in a long-term relationship knows it takes enormous sacrifice and understanding to make things work. However, if you can apply some of the tips we’ve listed above, you can get through any relationship struggles that arise.

Lifestyle

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even if You’re an Introvert)

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even if You're an


“That’s all small talk is – a quick way to connect on a human level – which is why it is by no means as irrelevant as the people who are bad at it insist. In short, it’s worth making the effort.”— Lynn Coady

 Introverts naturally despite small talk because, in some ways, it seems forced or unnatural. However, deeper connections have to begin somewhere, which means sitting through a few generic conversations to start with. An easy question like “What do you do for work?” can easily lead to other exciting topics. Just because the discussion doesn’t include in-depth issues right off the bat doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to know someone.

If you think about it, all connections begin with some form of small talk that an introvert seems to dread. Thinking back to your very first date with your significant other. You can probably recall it being a little awkward. You may also have not talked about anything beyond surface-level stuff, like your jobs, family, or favorite movies. Humans need to build up a level of comfort before they delve into the more complex or sensitive conversation.

An introvert doesn’t digest this well, however, as they have a more challenging time with small talk. They crave stimulating, deep conversations and want to skip the awkward phases. Many introverts (and maybe even some extroverts) find typical conversation topics uninteresting and impersonal. For introverts, the societal rules surrounding social interactions between new people seem oppressive and inauthentic.

Why introverts hate small talk

  • It usually lacks in depth and meaning. Introverts need either in-depth intellectual discussion or an emotional connection. They don’t want to know “what’s up.”
  • It creates barriers between people. Talking about societally acceptable topics such as jobs, the economy, or kids gets boring for introverts. They believe this doesn’t allow room actually to get to know someone on a soul level.
  • It seems forced or fake. An introvert needs authenticity, and small talk seems like the exact opposite of that. They crave conversations where they can get lost for hours and truly vibe with someone.
  • Small talk lacks real emotion. Since introverts thrive on emotional connections, small talk drains them. They may overshare when getting to know someone because of this.

If you have trouble with small talk as either an introvert or extrovert, perhaps the following tips can help you.

9 Ways to Master Small Talk (Even as an Introvert)

1 – Ask the other person to tell a story, or suggest one yourself.

If you feel unsatisfied in your conversation with someone, maybe ask them to tell a story about themselves. People usually love to tell personal information about themselves, which gives you a chance to get to know them. Try these questions when the conversation stalls or you want to shift in a new direction:

  • “What’s the most interesting thing about your job?”
  • “What’s your favorite thing about where you grew up?”
  • “How did you choose your career/job?”
  • “What would you do to earn an income if money was no object?”
  • “What is the coolest place you’ve traveled to?”

These questions don’t cross any lines or push boundaries, so they still fit in with small talk. However, they allow you to get a little more out of a person than the usual questions. They can also make great icebreakers that lead to even more in-depth conversation.

2 – Be authentic.

Introverts crave authentic conversation and people but may have trouble expressing themselves honestly. However, if you want to attract these types of people, you have to be bold. Don’t pretend or hide who you are for the sake of fitting in. People love honesty, and if you don’t want boring conversation, bring something interesting to the table.

Express your real thoughts and feelings, even if you feel afraid of what others may say. Just remember that your people will love your realness, and the people meant for you will stick around. Not everyone will love you, but don’t let this stop you from being yourself.

For example, if you find yourself at a party, you can use these as your guide:

  • “I honestly don’t go to parties much. I feel kind of awkward being here.”
  • “I am kind of bashful at first, but I warm up after a while.”
  • “I’m better at listening than talking, honestly.”
  • “Sometimes, I want to walk away from my job and travel. Do you ever feel that way?”
  • “It took all my energy to come to this party! Being an introvert is hard.”

Of course, you can tweak these to fit your personality and life circumstances. This will hopefully give you a few fresh topic ideas for your next social event, though, and help you feel more comfortable.

3 – Share small details about yourself.

It would help if you did not get too deep with this, but sharing facts about yourself helps others feel comfortable, too. For example, you could talk about what you love to do after work or a cool place you recently traveled to. Small talk doesn’t have to equate with the mind-numbing, flat conversation. The more you contribute and share, the more others will follow your lead.

4 – Ask more why questions.

If you ask someone’s favorite ice cream flavor, you get an answer and then move on to something else. However, when you ask why questions, it helps the conversation expand. For example, if you ask someone about their career, you could ask why they chose it. This could apply to anything, such as why someone prefers nighttime to daytime or why they drink black coffee.

Simply put, asking people why makes them contemplate their answer more, which can lead to some interesting conversation avenues.

Here are the habits of introverts that most people.misunderstand.

5 – Keep in mind that small talk can boost your happiness.

If you have an aversion to small talk, keep in mind that even an introvert can benefit from a brief conversation. In fact, studies have proven that idle chit-chat or “shooting the breeze” increases feelings of belonging. It also boosts people’s happiness, whether they had a quick conversation with a mailman or their barista. Humans were wired for connection, but in our fast-paced world, we often miss out on it.

We spend train rides staring at our phone screen or listening to music instead of saying hi to the person next to us. However, this disconnection only increases tension and anxiety. If you want to feel more engaged with your surroundings, smile at a stranger or give a compliment to your neighbor. You’ll feel better, even as an introvert.

6 – Don’t overthink it.

We realize that overthinking and introvert often belong in the same sentence, but they don’t have to! We overcomplicate so many mundand things in our lives by thinking about them too much. When you socialize with people, go with the flow and don’t force conversation. Listen if you feel more comfortable doing that, and talk when you have something to contribute.

If you worry about awkward silences, remember that the other person probably feels the same way. Try to remember that other people are human too and that we all have some degree of social anxiety. If you genuinely listen and act friendly toward people, you’ll make a good impression.

7 – Talk about something meaningful to you.

Small talk only gets a bad rap because people expect of others what they won’t give themselves. In other words, conversations with people don’t have to stay superficial and devoid of meaning. If you want to steer any conversation in a different direction, talk about things you enjoy. Perhaps the other person will find the topic just as interesting and have a lot to contribute as well.

8 – Try to find some common ground.

Maybe you and other people have similar hobbies or went to school for the same degree. Finding common ground with people helps you establish a bond and perhaps a friendship. If you find similarities between you and someone else, you’ll feel less awkward during small talk.

9 – Listen and be engaged with the conversation.

You don’t have to talk constantly to have a good connection with someone. Do not put a lot of added stress on yourself about what you’ll say next. Instead, practice active listening, don’t look at your phone while they talk, and smile when appropriate. If you decide to look forward to social interactions rather than dread them, it could change your whole outlook on small talk.

Final thoughts about how to master small talk as an introvert

Many introverts loathe small talk, but perhaps it just requires a change in perspective. Instead of dreading it, think about how you and the other person can benefit from it. What can you learn from the other person? What can you share with them that could improve their life? Look at social interactions as a chance to make an impact on someone’s life and vice versa.

This way, you’ll start looking forward to small talk instead of wanting to avoid it at all costs.

Lifestyle

15 Ways to Make a More Positive Environment Every Day

15 Ways to Make a More Positive Environment Every Day


Your environment has a lot to do with your mood. Indeed, many people don’t realize how much their environment affects their happiness and even their outlook on life. A positive environment or a negative situation has a massive impact on whether you’re a positive or negative person.

One study, published by researchers at IOP Science, shows that having green areas such as trees and landscaping in a neighborhood positively correlate with a “joyful” factor. Other things will also keep your environment positive.

Here are 15 ways to create a more positive environment at home or work

1. Let in some light.

It’s no secret that darkness and depression go hand in hand. There have been numerous studies done linking these two things. Always being in a dark environment can alter your mood. You won’t be as happy and positive as you could be.

If you work in a dark environment, you can’t do anything about that. However, on your breaks, try to relax in a well-lit room or even outside. In your home, try to stream in as much natural light as possible. Natural light puts you in a better mood than artificial light.

2. Decorate your space to your liking.

Dull, boring, bare walls don’t inspire much. This is especially true if your walls are a flat, dull, stark color. This is one reason why people hate working in cubicles so much.

Adding some personality to your space can go a long way when it comes to putting you in a positive and inspired mood. Personalizing your space, whether it’s home or work, is a great way to create a positive environment.

3. Put affirmations on your walls.

This is probably one of the easiest ways to create a positive environment. Being able to read positive messages throughout the day can subconsciously put you in a positive and motivating mood. It’s almost like tricking yourself into being positive.

You can buy fancy wall messages if you want to be more decorative, but you could also write out your affirmations and stick them on your wall. This might be a little more logical if you work in a cubicle. Either way, get some positive messages up in your line of view.

4. Socialize more.

Lack of social interaction can make you feel lonely, negative, and depressed. Even introverts need to interact with people sometimes. If you’re always by yourself, you need to push yourself to get out and meet people.

You don’t have to become a social butterfly, but you should at least make an effort to make a friend or two. You can easily do this by joining a group. A book club, a fitness class, or volunteering are great ways to get out and meet people.

5. Take care of background noise.

Background noise, also known as noise pollution, can have a dramatic effect on your mood and your health. In some cases, you can’t do anything about the noise. Urban areas are drowned in background noises like traffic, sirens, and people.

Unfortunately, background noise has been linked to an increase in high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression, among other things. While you might not be able to get rid of it, you can do something to reduce it. Earplugs help, or you could try a white noise machine.

6. Keep your work in your workspace and keep your relaxing space work-free.

It would help if you had clear boundaries in your home to maintain a positive environment. This means that you should designate a place in your home for work only. If you have an office that is great, but if you don’t, you should block off an area and let that be your work area.

Doing this allows your mind and spirit to relax fully when you’re in your relaxation areas. Being able to relax has a significant impact on whether you’re positive or negative. If you can never relax, you can be sure that your mood is going to lean more towards the negative side.

7. Clean up clutter.

Regularly seeing piles of clutter everywhere throws off your brain’s dynamic. It can make it hard for you to focus, affect your memory, and decrease your productivity. Even worse, the effect is cumulative, so all of this continues to pile on until you’re left feeling uninspired and unmotivated.

Cleaning up clutter helps to keep you in a positive spirit. Your brain isn’t thrown off by disorganization, and you can focus more. You’ll find yourself happier and in a better mood.

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

8. Surround yourself with positive people.

If you’re always around positive people, that positive attitude is going to rub off on you. Even if you think of yourself as a leader and not a follower, surrounding yourself with the wrong people will eventually have a negative effect on you.

Instead, keep your circle full of people with a positive outlook on life. This could mean cutting some people out. Sometimes even family and friends are the ones you need to drop from your circle. It doesn’t mean you should not ever talk to them again. It just means to keep them at a distance, so they don’t influence your environment.

9. Start a garden or buy some plants.

You don’t have to become a gardener, but greenery and pretty flowers have been known to increase happiness and positivity. If you don’t want to grow plants, buy them. It could be a small plant for your desk, or it could be large floor plants for your home.

You don’t even have to buy real plants. Fake plant arrangements that look great can have the same effect. This way, you can reap the benefits without having the stress of keeping them alive if you don’t have a green thumb.

10. Enjoy the little things in life.

There is so much to enjoy in life. If you’re continually ignoring these little things, it can take the joy out of your day. Wake up, go to work, come home, do it all again. That’s a monotonous cycle that doesn’t inspire a positive mood.

Try enjoying the warmth of the sunshine for a few minutes. Smell the flowers outside of your job before you go in. Watch a street act—Pet a puppy. Admire an elderly couple who is still in love after decades. It’s the little things that make life worth it.

11. Make sure your environment smells good.

According to Rachel S. Herz, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Brown University, odors can affect your mood, but not like it does for everyone else. You must have associated that odor with something in your life. Therefore, if a scent is offensive to you, it can put you in a bad mood, which can crush your positive environment. For anything else that smells bad to you, do what you can to remove the odor from your situation.

12. Don’t stare at screens all day.

Studies show that the average American spends 7 hours a day staring at screens, and it’s causing vision problems, eye strain, headaches, and neck pain. With all of this going on, it can be hard to remain positive. Try to limit your screen time as much as possible. Put up your phone and read a book instead of watching tv.

13. Exercise more.

When you feel good physically, you feel good mentally. The effects of regular exercise on your mood is no secret. It’s been studied over and over again. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good and puts you in a great feeling. You’ll feel better and be in a more positive mood.

14. Be kind to people.

Being helpful to people will inspire people to be kind to you. You’ve heard that old saying – treat others how you’d want to be treated. Treating other people well will make you feel great and make them feel great. Then they’ll want to make you feel great, and it becomes an environment where everyone is making everyone feel great. How can you not think positive like that?

15. Eat healthily.

You are what you eat. You’ve probably heard that several times before. Studies have shown that certain foods can affect your mood and even the way you feel about life in general.

Eating healthy is a great way to feel good about yourself. As stated before, feeling good mentally equals feeling good physically and vice versa. Your mental state is as much a part of your environment as any tangible object, so eat healthy to keep yourself feeling good.

Final Thoughts on Creating a Positive Environment

Creating a positive environment starts with yourself. You must make your physical environment warm, happy, and inviting. You must also have excellent mental and emotional health to keep you in a positive spirit. Don’t be afraid to remove anything that inspires negative thoughts or emotions. The more happiness, light, and positivity you invite into your life, the better you’ll feel and be. Before you know it, being positive will be a way of life.

Lifestyle

Family Therapist Explains 10 Ways to Win Over Your In-Laws

Family Therapist Explains 10 Ways to Win Over Your In-Laws


Getting married is an exciting adventure filled with love and plenty of planning. One thing that the happy couple doesn’t prepare for is what it’s like to meet the in-laws. There have been movies made about the dreaded encounters when you meet your mother and father-in-law, and they learn that you will take the hand of their son or daughter. The good news is it makes for great movies and videos, but you can have a beautiful relationship with your family, and everyone can live in harmony. Now, it all comes down to the personality of each party and their views on things. Some people are easier to win over than others.

Not only can an awkward relationship with your love’s family cause you anxiety, but it also puts your partner in the middle of any disputes. Over the long-term, your partner will also suffer stress from this predicament.

10 Tips to Build an Excellent Relationship With Your In-Laws

If you want to have a good relationship with your in-laws and win them over from the start, here are some tips that can help you accomplish this task.

1. Respect Their Religious Beliefs

Whenever you join two families together, you are bringing different backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs. You must respect their family and their views, even if they don’t align with yours.
In some faiths, women wear caps over their heads as a covering. Here are some examples. In the Mormon faith, they don’t believe in drinking caffeine of any kind. In the Muslim faith, alcohol is a no-go.

It’s easy to see how just these three examples could bring about major conflict with some people. However, while you don’t have to live by their rules and regulations, you should follow them while you’re in their home. So if the family is against drinking, you shouldn’t bring a flask in for dinner.

These little gestures of kindness can have a significant impact on your relationship with your in-laws. Additionally, you want your husband or wife to feel that you have respect for their family, or it can cause a significant rift. Being positive about religious diversity will go a long way, according to studies.

2. Always Show Kindness

It would help if you treated your partner’s parents how you want your parents to be treated. Even if they step across the line or say inappropriate things, you want to make sure that you treat them with respect. It’s perfectly acceptable to say something like, “I respect and value your opinion, but we will have to agree to disagree.”

There’s no need to argue and fight when you can state your feelings and move on. This world would sure be a boring place if everyone had the same opinions.

3. Include The In-Laws When Appropriate

One of the things that cause rifts with the in-laws is they feel excluded. When a son or daughter starts spending time with a love interest, the family often feels left out. They may not be present at Sunday dinners anymore, or they may not be as readily available to help with household needs.

You will probably encounter a lot of ill feelings because you take him or her away from them. The vital thing to counteract these feelings is including them. If Sunday dinner is a big thing at their house, then make sure that you attend also.

Though it’s difficult, you need to make sure that you don’t cut off people that were so special just because you’re busy being in love. You will need those relatives one day, so it’s best to start on the right foot.

4. Be Up Front and Honest

Honesty will go a long way with your future relatives. It’s easy to want to embellish your accomplishments to put yourself in a brighter light. Frankly, who doesn’t want the family of their future husband or wife to think they are going places?

It would help if you remembered that the things you say could and will impact your relationship at some time. If you exaggerate your salary or social standing, eventually, they will know the truth. Dishonesty can cause you plenty of problems when it comes to your in-laws, so it’s best to stick to the facts and be truthful from the start.

5. Defend Them When They Feel Slighted

One way to get on your mother or father in-law’s right side is to come to their defense. According to research, family members care if others in the unit feel they receive justice. Even if it’s just in family arguments or disagreements with the cell phone company, you need to play their defender.

When you rush to their defense during times of adversity, it shows that you are rooting for them and on the same team. They will appreciate that you stand up for them, especially when it seems like they’re on the losing end.

6. Laugh at Their Jokes

Some new family members may try to win you over with levity. Even if they tell the dumbest jokes you’ve ever heard, and they are not remotely funny, you still need to laugh.

When you give them the pleasure of thinking they’re funny, it’s a form of bonding. They want someone who is not only going to treat their son or daughter properly but will also listen to what they have to say.

7. Keep Conversations Light

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your future relatives is to delve into in-depth topics too soon. Never discuss politics or religion unless you have no choice. These two subjects have caused war and many violent encounters across the country, and the last thing you want to do is talk about such matters with the family.

Try to keep things neutral and positive. Please talk about the weather, sports, and your partner when they were a child. If you want to make a good impression, then don’t get into anything controversial.

8. Offer a Helping Hand to the In-Laws

If you want to butter up the in-laws, then you can offer to lend a helping hand. A mother loves nothing more than their soon to be daughter in law to help peel potatoes or do other mundane tasks.

Perhaps, they need a new light hung in the Livingroom as the old one is on the fritz. If you have electrical skills and can hang that light for them, they will bond instantly with you. Helping them doesn’t mean making them feel like they can’t do something for themselves.

You want to tread lightly because some people may find it offensive if you try to take over their home, and this is especially true about a woman in her kitchen. Make sure it’s known that you want to help and not take charge.

9. Become Interested in Family History

Every family has a story. They may be relatives of a famous person, or they may have some well-to-do millionaires that they are close too. When you are going to marry someone, you must know about their family.

Additionally, family members will like the fact that you seem interested in their clan. Therapists advise that there are always destructive dynamics that you want to steer clear of in every family. So you should learn as much as you can about their history.

10. At Least Consider Taking Their Last Name

The older generation is a bit more old-fashioned. It was always commonplace for the women to take the man’s name in marriage. However, millennials have changed things dramatically. These days, you can hyphenate your name, keep it the same, or the husband can take the wife’s name.

If you want to impress them and let them know that you love their family, you can at least consider changing your name to match theirs. They will respect the fact that you at least considered the possibility.

Final Thoughts: What Not to Say or Do to The In-Laws?

Now that you’ve learned all the things you should do to get in your new family’s good graces, there are a few things that you should avoid. Here are the top things to avoid when dealing with your in-laws.

1. Don’t talk about religion or politics.
2. Avoid Subjects about alcohol or your consumption.
3. Don’t criticize their parenting skills or offer suggestions.
4. Never put down their son/daughter’s ways to them.
5. Don’t call them mom or dad right away without being told it’s okay.
6. Never tell them they have a standing invitation to your home.
7. Avoid making them feel inferior to your family.
8. Don’t talk about your family’s finances or yours either.
9. Avoid discussion holiday schedules in advance.
10. Don’t let the relationship turn into a power struggle.
11. Keep your not-so-nice opinions to yourself.
12. Never discuss the not-so-savory circumstances you’ve faced.

Dealing with in-laws can be a nerve-wracking experience. You want to put your best foot forward and hope they like you. Remember, these are the people that you’re going to see on every holiday, birthday party, or other special occasions. You want to forge a good relationship with them even if you don’t like them.

No one says that you must be good friends with your relatives, but you must find ways to get along even if it’s just for your spouse’s sake. If you want to win these people over, then you must be cautious during your first few encounters.

Lifestyle

Therapist Reveals 15 Ways Nagging Harms Relationships

Therapist Reveals 15 Ways Nagging Harms Relationships


In a relationship, nagging usually doesn’t accomplish anything except making both partners distance themselves from each other. Therapists agree that it is something that can tear a relationship apart.

Sally Connolly, LCSW, LMFT, a therapist with over 30 years of experience, says the following about this behavior:

“Nagging, or making the same request over and over again, usually does not get the desired result. Instead, it generally leads to a downward spiral with negative thoughts and feelings about each other and withdrawing, feeling discounted, misunderstood, controlled or unimportant.”

If you find yourself in a continuous cycle of pestering your partner about the same things, you can be doing more harm than good. You may not even realize the damage it’s doing until it’s too late.

15 Ways That Nagging Can Cause Hard Feelings in a Relationship

Here are 15 ways that, according to therapists, nagging can harm your relationship.

1. Your partner feels like you aren’t listening to them.

At some point and time, your partner may have revealed to you why they won’t do whatever it is you keep bugging them about. Maybe you didn’t agree, or perhaps you forgot. Either way, your partner will feel like you just aren’t listening to how they think about a particular situation. When a person feels like they aren’t being heard, they stop trying to talk to you. They may feel like the situation is hopeless.

2. There is a breakdown in communication.

This goes hand in hand with the first tip. Because your partner feels like you aren’t listening, they may stop trying to communicate with you altogether. There will be no more feedback on what you’re saying. They may begin to ignore you entirely, which will probably make your nagging worse. Eventually, you’ll start to feel just like your partner does – that they aren’t listening – and communication will break down between the two of you.

3. Arguments become more passive-aggressive.

After a breakdown in communication, the only thing that’s left is taking jabs at each other. Talking is getting you nowhere. Arguing is getting you nowhere. Now you’re left with resentment, which can manifest itself in the form of passive-aggressive behavior. This can further alienate your partner, as well as yourself. You’ll find yourself in a hostile relationship, which isn’t healthy for either one of you. It won’t last long with things being that way.

4. It can make your partner feel like you’re trying to his or her mother.

People love their mothers, and they may even seek out partners that have the same traits as their mother. This is especially true for men. However, that doesn’t mean they want to date their mother. You don’t want to be your partner’s mother any more than they want you to, but when you constantly nag your partner, it can remind them of how their mother used to get on them.

5. It just makes life dull and annoying.

No one wants to be around someone that gets on their nerves all the time. Just imagine if you must be around someone who is always pestering you, bothering you, telling you what you’re doing wrong, or getting on you about something. Yes, it’s frustrating being around or living with someone who won’t listen, but being a nag is never the answer. You need to find common ground on the situation.

6. It can make your partner tune you out.

The silent treatment. That would probably get on your nerves more than arguing would. Your partner may decide that they aren’t going to deal with your nagging. They are just going to ignore you and tune you out when your lips start moving. This can get irritating because they may begin tuning you out even during times that you aren’t a nag. They ignore you all the time now.

7. It can put your partner under a lot of stress.

Your partner may not know what to expect from you when you continuously nag them, and this can put them under a lot of stress. They don’t know how to act in front of you, what to say to you, or how to react to you. They may feel like you resent them or that they can’t please you. Not knowing what to do or say in front of someone you care about can create so much stress that you don’t want to be around that person. This is what can happen to your partner.

Here are five signs of poor communication in a marriage (and why this spells trouble!)

8. Your partner may begin to dread seeing you.

From the last tip, where your partner is stressed out, they’ll begin to dread seeing you because being around you isn’t a pleasant experience. They’ll start to expect drama from you, and no one likes to deal with drama. You can be sure that once you get to a point where your partner dreads seeing you, your relationship will be close to coming to an end.

9. Your partner may begin to confide in someone else.

You can probably think back to when you and your partner could talk about anything. That may not be the case anymore. You may begin to notice that you don’t speak as much or at all. This means your partner is probably confiding in someone else. It could be a friend or family member. You should hope that it’s not another romantic partner. Just keep in mind that your partner is human. If you make it difficult for them to talk to you, they’ll end up talking to someone else.

10. Your partner may begin to speak ill of you to others.

When your partner begins to confide in others, it might not be all pleasant talk. It’s going to hurt if you find out that your partner is saying bad things about you behind your back. Your partner probably needs an outlet to express how they’re feeling. Unfortunately, if you constantly nag them, they probably aren’t feeling good, so they’re probably not saying good things.

11. Your partner might lose their self-esteem.

When someone is continuously told that they’re doing something wrong, they may begin to feel like they can’t do anything right. It will start to weigh on their confidence and self-esteem. The last thing you want to do is to make your partner feel bad. You nag because they aren’t listening to you, and it can be frustrating. However, it would be best if you found a better way to communicate because you’re only making your partner feel bad about themselves.

12. It can make your partner react in a way they’ll regret later.

All that passive-aggressive behavior and the hit to their self-esteem can make your partner react in a way that they don’t intend to. Remember, your partner is human. People can only take so much before they snap. Don’t let things get to that point. Cut out the nagging before things escalate to the point of no return.

13. Your partner might stop coming home.

If you live with your partner, you probably expect them to come home each night. You may begin to notice that your partner has to “work late” all the time. It may get to a point where your partner stops coming home altogether. That’s going to cause a lot of additional problems in your relationship.

14. It can lead to depression.

When you constantly nag your partner, everything starts to break down, as discussed in the previous tips. This can lead to both of you being extremely unhappy with each other. You may love each other, but you can’t stand to be around each other. Now you’re both depressed, and your relationship is in jeopardy.

15. It can lead to substance abuse.

When all other methods of coping fail, substance abuse could be next on the list. This can happen to you, as well as your partner. This is probably the worst thing that could come from constant nagging. Substance abuse will introduce a whole host of new problems to the relationship. Old issues won’t even stand a chance of being solved. You should stop being a nag before things get to this point.

Final Thoughts on How Nagging Can Cause Breakdown of Love and Trust in Your Relationship

Understandably, you nag your partner because they aren’t doing something right, no matter how many times you bring it up. You’re irritated and frustrated, and you probably don’t know how else to get through to your partner. However, nagging is never the answer. It only makes things worse.

You need to sit down and have an in-depth conversation with your partner. Get their feedback on what’s happening between the two of you and make sure you listen and consider their side of things. This should help to clear up the situation, but if it doesn’t, then you need to consider the fact that the issue may never be resolved. You need to decide if it’s a relationship dealbreaker or a quirky habit that you can live with.

Whatever you decide to do, stop nagging your partner all the time.