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Show off (a little) (DW#545)

Today’s marriage hack is especially important for women: we women tend to bond over sharing our woes and life’s challenges. We believe that it brings us closer to others. And one of the challenges that we sometimes talk about and bond over, are the (perceived) failings and foibles of our spouses.

Make no mistake: this habit (which we think is harmless fun) is destructive for our relationships. Our spouses do not think it is funny or cute when we are sharing their idiosyncrasies in public.

This habit is also destructive in another way. It normalizes low expectations from men and marriage, and it normalizes talking about our spouses in a disrespectful way. It is no wonder that modern society in general and young people in particular are so disenchanted with the institution of marriage.

So instead of complaining about your marriage or your spouse, try this hack: Try bragging a little. Compliment your spouse in public. Point out their positive qualities. Talk about what they...

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Play footsie or hold hands (DW#544)

When people first get together with their spouses, they find every opportunity to touch each other. (Remember playing footsie under the table or holding hands while watching a movie?)

Couples who have learnt to hack their marriage know that it is vitally important to maintain pleasant and playful touch in their relationship beyond the physically intimate relationship. 

Why is touch so important? 

Firstly, it is a fundamental human need. Touch is essential for babies’ development for their physical, emotional and eventually social health. In fact, touch is the first of the five senses to develop. The need for positive touch, the connection, and reassurance it can bring is hardwired in us. We now know that touching someone in a loving and positive way releases Oxytocin – a feel good and bonding hormone which results in attachment to the person who causes the release of this hormone within us.

Moreover, to touch someone you love is to acknowledge their presence...

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Apply the stranger standard (DW#541)

This week, let’s continue talking about marriage hacks – shortcuts or easy ways to make our relationships better. Attitudes and behaviours that don’t take much time or effort but may have a major impact. 

Today’s hack is about applying the stranger standard at home. 

What is the stranger standard? It is the standard of behaviour that we use with strangers and outsiders. The minimum level of courtesy, respect and goodwill with which we deal with the world in general. 

Sometimes we take our closest relationships so much for granted that we "use up" our best self for strangers, acquaintances and others who don’t really matter that much. We are able to be respectful and kind to those who we come across for short periods. We use up our good will and bring home only what is left over. The tiredness, the grouchiness and the frustrations. 

The stranger standard hack means that you are at least as respectful and courteous inside...

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A list of what you love (DW#539)

The first two marriage hacks we will explore consist of making lists. 
Today’s list is all about what you love about your spouse. 

Your list can include qualities and characteristics that you love and admire in your spouse. It can also include all of the moments in your relationship that confirmed for you that you wanted to be married to this person. It can include funny things and sad things and all the happy memories that you have, even if they are really really tiny. 
This is your list so feel free to put anything on there that is meaningful to you even if they would sound silly or meaningless to someone else. These are reminders for you of why you chose this person and why you want to keep choosing this person.

The way you met and got together. What about them or their personality first attracted you?
How they supported you in challenging times
The way they looked at you at a particular time
How they reacted at the birth of your first baby
A small kindness that they...

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Operationalize your intention (DW#536)

A huge thank you to all of you who showed up and bravely shared your intentions on social media. 

Grateful, shining, patience, forgiving, love, joyful, mindful, authentic, honest, helpful, proactive, consistent, peace, positivity, kindness, calm, vastness. These are just some of the inspiring intentions set by our fellow seekers and the Daily Wisdom tribe. You are awesome :) 

When we set our intentions, they are necessarily broad and abstract. That’s the point. We cannot micromanage how we will bring the intention to action on a daily basis when we are setting it.

However, once we have set the intention, we can dig a little deeper. This is the time to consider what it means to live our intention. 

So let’s reflect on the following questions:
·     If I was living my intention in the various domains of my life (health, work, relationships for example) how would I be behaving? What would I be doing differently?
...

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Express your intention in one word (DW#533)

The thing with setting intentions is that they need to be short and simple. If we are writing paragraphs (or pages!) about our intention, it’s a sign that we are over-complicating things. 

So go ahead and set an intention to set an intention! Once you open to the possibility, your one word intention will come to you. And not necessarily when you are trying hard to think of the "perfect" one. 

And once your intention does become clear to you, it can act as a guiding north star for you, directing your actions and behaviours. 

This does not mean that you will always act according to your intention. But it does mean that whenever you do stray away from it, you can recommit in the moment and reconnect with your intention, adjusting your behavior accordingly. 

For example, if my intention is to relate with honesty (or just "honesty" or "authenticity" or "vulnerability") and I am tempted to be less than this, as soon as I become aware of it, I...

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Challenging Cognitive Distortions Summary (DW#520)

Here are the 10 ways to challenge cognitive distortions that we have been exploring over the past few weeks. (and here is the link to catch up on any that you may have missed)

1)    Clear weeds from the garden of your mind [DW#508]
2)    Separate facts from interpretations [DW#509]
3)    Be an observer and develop a practice of thought watching. [DW#510 and DW#517]
4)    Explore what happened and what did you make it mean? [DW#511]
5)    Ask yourself if your interpretations are helpful. [DW#512]
6)    Come up with more helpful interpretations. [DW #513 & DW#514]]
7)    Ask yourself what your wisest friend would advice you in this situation?  [DW#515]
8)    Take the advice that you would give to a dear friend [DW#516]
9)    Develop and use a list of questions to challenge...

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Are you willing to choose happiness? (DW#519)

People who are successful and happy in this world have as many negative thoughts as you and I do. Really. 

The difference is that they find ways to remind themselves to focus on the narrative that they want to live rather than focusing on the mental chatter in their heads. 

Because if we continue to believe every thought that we have, and if our thoughts continue to be negative, it will be very challenging to live a life of positivity, purpose or peace. 
What we allow to settle in our minds and what we focus on will surely become our reality. 

So how about focusing on the narrative that we want to live? How about becoming aware of where our attention is, and being intentional about directing it where we want it to be? 

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What advice would you give to a dear friend? (DW#516)

This week, continue our conversation on challenging unhelpful, negative or distorted thinking. 

We have talked about how valuable it can be to consult with a friend when our negative thoughts are getting the best of us. 

Sometimes, however, such a friend is not at hand, for whatever reason. What do we do then?

We can access our own inner wisdom by asking ourselves: what would we tell a friend or a younger sibling in this situation? 

Many of us are very good advice-givers. Superb advice-givers, in fact. 

When someone who is emotionally charged or triggered comes to us, we can look at the situation without the emotional triggers and come up with a balanced perspective. We can see the pros and cons of thinking this way and come up with helpful suggestions on how to combat this negative perspective (especially if we have been reading Daily Wisdom regularly ;) ) 

So while we have all inner knowledge, it can be hard to apply it to our own situation – unless...

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But this is not the truth!! (DW#514)

As you are completing this exercise, your mind is likely to be screaming internally: But this is not true.

That’s okay. You’re right. It is probably not.

But then neither are those interpretations that you put in the second circle, are they?

And that is the point: our judgements and interpretations are mostly conclusions that are mind comes up with to make sense of situations when we do not have complete knowledge. We make assumptions and arrive at conclusions with very limited information and perception.

So why not come up with explanations and interpretations that are helpful and empowering rather than distressing and disempowering?

Makes sense?

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