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Asking for what you need(DW#744)

Yesterday we talked about how to support your family members if they are feeling down or having a bad day.
 
What about you, though? Are you brave enough to ask for support from them? Many of us may be used to being there for others and find it challenging to ask for support in return.
 
If so, consider this: when we ask others to support us, we are actually giving them a gift:
 
The gift of letting them into our internal world
The gift of feeling emotionally connected to another
The gift of being there for someone else (and we know that feels good, right?)
The gift of modelling what intimacy looks like
The gift of being able to language emotions (emotional literacy)
The gift of recognizing that it is okay to have emotions and we do not need to act on them. That they will come and go
The gift of recognizing that we have the ability and the power to be there for a loved one and to make them feel better or feel supported.
 
So are you brave enough to share your...
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Understanding does not equal agreement(DW#742 )

In any relationship, we will not always be "on the same page". We will see things differently and have different reactions to the same event. This is quite common and even healthy. To have a strong and healthy relationship, we do not need to have the same thoughts and opinions about everything.

One of the things that trips many of us when we are practicing validation is when the other person views things very differently from how we do.

For example, if our spouse gets upset at her co-worker because she is late to work every day, we may struggle to understand why this is such a big deal. It may not matter to us what time our co-workers get to work and we may even empathize with the co-worker because she is a single mother with small children.

It can be very challenging to listen to someone whose world view, thoughts and opinions are different from ours.

When this happens, we need to remind ourselves that listening and trying to understand where the other person does not...

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Check your understanding(DW#741)

Here is another thing about trying to understand someone’s inner world: You will get it wrong. Quite often in fact.

As we develop our validation skills, we may get the emotion, the experience or the meaning behind it wrong.

This makes sense, because after all, we are trying to get a glimpse of someone else’s experience from our world view. Our lens and their lens are not the same. Our experience is not the same as their experience. We are trying to visit a foreign land and we may struggle to understand the language and the customs.

So, when you are trying to validate and get it wrong, remind yourself that it this is common and that you are learning. Your continuing effort to do this is the most important thing for your relationship.

To clarify your understanding of your loved one’s internal world, try some open-ended questions such as:

Can I ask some questions to help me get this?
I need your help to understand this better.
Is this a good time to talk?
Tell me...
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Examples of validation (DW#740)

We have been talking about demonstrating our care and understanding of our loved ones by validating their emotions and experiences.

There are, of course, many many ways to validate. The essence of validation is to demonstrate that you recognize their emotions and that given their experience and world view, it makes sense that they would feel that way.

Here are some examples:

Here is what I am hearing you say (summarize what the other person has told you).

I can see that you are (sad, scared, angry, etc.)
I can see you are doing your best and are working hard.
Yeah, I can totally see how that would make you feel really (sad, scared, angry, etc.)
It makes sense that you would be so upset about that.
Tell me more (shows interest).
I can see you are overwhelmed. Can we talk about it?
It sounds like you are scared and this is hard for you.
I can see that this is important to you.
Given your values, this must really mean a lot to you.
Of course… that makes...
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What to do instead of trying to cheer people up(DW#739)

Yesterday, we discussed how trying to get people to look on the bright side rarely works to cheer them up.

So what should we do instead?

Try validation.

Very briefly, human beings desire to connect. We communicate because we crave connection. And that connection comes from being heard, understood, and appreciated.

 
Validation is the art of communicating the understanding and appreciation of another human being. The message of validation is: you matter to me. You make sense. You are important.

Validation is one of the most important relationship skills and one that few of us are naturally proficient at. We need to be intentional in developing it. This is the hard work of being in relationship but the rewards in terms of connection and intimacy are SO worth it.

Effective validation has two main components:

 
 1.    It identifies a specific emotion
2.    It offers justification for feeling that emotion – this is...
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Are you trying to get loved ones to look on the bright side?(DW#738 )

We have been talking about checking in with family members.

What do we do though, if they share that they are struggling or not feeling great emotionally?

How do we make them feel better? How do we cheer them up?

Have you tried any of the following?

·      You’ll be fine.

·      Let’s focus on gratitude.

·      It could be worse!

·      We have it better than so many people.

·      At least it’s not [fill in the blank].

·      Look on the bright side

·      Just put a smile on your face and tough it out.

·      This too shall pass.

·      Don’t worry; things will work out.

·      You/We shouldn’t feel that way.

...

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A basic emotional check in(DW#735 )

During these times, it is a good idea to check in with family members about their emotional and mental health each day.

Simply sharing and being able to speak about challenging situations and how they are impacting us can be very helpful in coping with these challenges.

Today’s check in is very simple:

At a set time each day (morning or evening), ask everyone around to rate their mood on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst mood and 10 being the best.

 
Once everyone has rated their mood, you can simply thank them for sharing, offer them a hug or ask if they want to say more, elaborate or explain.

Please remember to listen with LUV and to resist offering "helpful advice" for now. The focus is simply to check in and validate whatever they may be feeling at the time.

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6 Reasons why you must share your feelings(DW#733)

emotions family feelings Apr 08, 2020
I am hoping that you have been trying on the practices for tuning in and checking in with yourself.

Today, let us take this one step further and explore why it is a good idea to share your feelings with your spouse and family.
 
Here are 6 reasons:
 

1)   When we give name our feelings rather than acting them out, we give ourselves and each other the gift of connection rather conflict. Sharing our inner world is the gateway to intimacy and connection.
2)   When we announce where we are at emotionally, we take responsibility for our own state rather than blame those around us for causing our distress.
3)   When we declare that we are having a hard time right now, we relieve others around us of thinking that they are the cause. They then do not have to walk on eggshells around us.
4)    When we are emotionally open, it gives our family something they need desperately right now: certainty. Rather than guessing if...

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Balance your mind (DW#685)

Have you ever heard of, or tried, alternate nostril breathing?It’s an ancient yogic technique that’s been shown to effect brain waves and reduce anxiety and stress while inducing a calm, balanced mind.

Research from UCSD indicates that the nasal breathing cycle corresponds to the dominance of the left or the right hemisphere of the brain. The study suggested that the "cycle of hemispheric dominance" could be manipulated by using breathing techniques: "Closing the right nostril and forcibly breathing through the left nostril produces greater EEG activity in the right brain and vice versa. These changes in the pattern of EEG dominance occur almost instantaneously; at most, they require periods of about five minutes."

Here’s how alternate nostril breathing works. Please note that it sounds much more complicated than it is in practice.

Place your right thumb over your right nostril and rest your pointer finger on your forehead. Inhale through your left nostril. I like...

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Self-care and resilience (DW#673)

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to remain calm in the face of stress or disaster while others appear to come undone? People that can keep their cool and maintain their balance have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to cope with problems and setbacks.

Resilience has been defined by the American Psychological Association as "the human ability to adapt in the face of tragedy, trauma, adversity, hardship, and ongoing significant life stressors." To put it very simply, resilience is the ability to "bounce back" from challenges.

Resilience does not mean that you experience less distress, grief, anxiety or external life challenges than other people. It does mean that you can handle such difficulties in ways that foster strength and growth. That you are able to bounce back when you are knocked down and you may even emerge stronger than you were before you encountered the challenge.

The good news about resilience? It is like a muscle that can be developed through...

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