Blog

Why focus on emotions? (DW#450)

emotions feelings opinon Sep 14, 2018

How are you feeling today? If you are feeling good, happy, confident it is likely that you feel ready to take on the world. You feel like nothing can get in your way. You are productive and energetic. 

If on the other hand, you are having a bad day, feeling sad, anxious or upset for any reason, you may be lacking this confidence and energy. 

If you are angry, and you end up losing control, your emotions can get the best of you and cause you to act in ways that you later regret. 

So let’s be honest: how we are feeling on a day to day basis impacts how much we enjoy life and how productive we are. 

But emotions do much more than that. 

Here are some reasons, we need to become smarter about our own emotional state: 

1)   Emotions motivate us to act. The word emotion itself comes from a word which means to move – in other words emotions cause us to take action
2)   Because they motivate us to act, they predict...

Continue Reading...

You’re right. (DW#441)

We have been discussing the best words and phrases to say in a close relationship. Last week we explored the importance of speaking up when we disagree with something or see it differently. 

Today’s phrase is the other side of the equation. Saying "you’re right" can be very calming and disarming to a loved one who is trying to get a point across. It can be very tempting to go into defensive mode when a spouse or a family member is expressing a complaint. Stubbornly sticking to our point of view in the face of all evidence, however, can be exhausting, emotionally draining and very damaging to the relationship. So if we can just breathe, calm ourselves in the moment and try to see even a grain of truth in what they are trying to express, we will be richly rewarded. 

Research by Dr. John Gottman has shown that this is particularly challenging for men and men who are able to accept influence from their wives are much happier and are in happier relationships. Of...

Continue Reading...

I feel... (DW#435)

Many of us have been trained to deny, suppress or hide feelings from others, and sometimes even from ourselves. Suppressing and hiding feelings is almost guaranteed to result in personal distress, and in emotional distance and detachment in relationships as opposed to connection. 

And so it is a good idea to practice emotional literacy – that is to get in touch with what we are feeling – and then to share those feelings with our loved ones to build connection and intimacy. 

The first step to sharing feelings is, of course, to recognize and label the feeling itself. 

Once we recognize how we are feeling, sharing those feelings is quite simple, really. It begins with two short words: "I feel….". 

I feel happy.
I feel neglected.
I feel respected.
I feel grateful.
I feel distraught.

Notice that there is no "I feel that  . . .". The word "that" usually indicates that what will follow is going to be a thought, not a feeling. 

For...

Continue Reading...

Your mindset and your love life (DW#383)

One of the most profound applications of Dweck’s research on mindset has to do with its application to our closest relationships. 

Dweck and her colleagues found that people’s mindsets greatly impacted how they dealt with their personal relationships. 

Over the next few days let us look at key ways in which our mindset can help or hinder our family relationships. 

Firstly, Dweck’s research implies that people with a fixed mindset tend to believe that there is one special ‘soul mate’ for them, a ready made person who will complete them, make them happy and provide them with everything they have ever longed for. According to Dweck, "In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect, and perpetual compatibility. Like it was meant to be. Like riding off into the sunset. Like "they lived happily ever after."

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, are more likely to engage with someone who has a realistic perception of them, who may see...

Continue Reading...

The 36 Questions that lead to love (DW#366)

Have you heard of the 36 questions that lead to love?

 
The theory behind this experiment was that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness.
 
The authors said: "One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure."

Being vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult (especially these days when we spend so much effort in self-protection), and so this exercise encouraged self disclosure by asking a set of structured and increasingly personal questions. 

The study involved asking strangers to engage in a 45 minute conversation where they asked each other the set questions. After 45 minutes of engaging in such a dialogue, the participants that they felt closer to the other person and...
Continue Reading...

Express physical affection (DW#345)

Science is making it clear that our brains and our bodies are designed to thrive with affectionate touch from our loved ones.

While we affectionately hug and cuddle young children naturally, this seems to taper off as they grow, although human beings never actually outgrow their need for loving touch.

Various studies have shown that people of all ages experience increases in physical and emotional wellbeing when they experience affectionate and appropriate touch.

Studies have found that when a husband holds his wife's hand during labour, for example, her pain measurably decreases. And interestingly, the more empathy a person feels for the person in pain, the more their brains are synchronized and the feeling of pain diminishes.

Scientists have also found that subliminal touching (touching so subtle that it’s not consciously perceived) dramatically increases a person’s sense of well-being and positive feelings toward the ‘toucher’.

One study found that people...

Continue Reading...

More than a peck (DW#344)

According to our friend Dr. Gottman, couples should kiss for at least 6 seconds at a time, every day, to maintain a healthy relationship.

Why six seconds? According to Dr. Gottman, this "kiss with potential" is "long enough to feel romantic," yet it doesn’t make the kids late for school :)

It turns out that kissing has many many health benefits as well: it releases oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which means that the more you kiss, the more you bond.

Kissing also releases dopamine, which stimulates the pleasure centers of your brain. The butterflies you get in your stomach when you kiss? They come from epinephrine and norepinephrine, which increase your heartbeat and send oxygenated blood to your brain. Some studies have even shown that kissing can cause a reduction in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, so kissing could help lower your blood pressure and prevent heart attacks.

So for part of the OTL challenge, kiss your spouse for 6 seconds twice a day for the...

Continue Reading...

Looking for OTLs (DW#338)

We have been talking about nurturing love in our lives by practicing micro-moments of connection with others.

But given that in today’s world, we live in a "cocoon of self-absorption", how do we move from *disconnection* to connection?
One of the simplest ways to practice the art of connection is to intentionally be on the lookout for opportunities to perform
acts of intentional, deliberate connection and kindness in daily life.

Small gestures such as making eye contact with the check out clerk at the supermarket, asking how their day is going and being emotionally present to the answer, holding a door open for someone, allowing another driver to enter your lane, helping someone carry a load, moving over to make room for someone all have the potential to count as OTLs.

Simply pause for a moment to notice and become present to the feeling of goodwill between you and another human being in these micro-moments.

You will have delighted another with your small gesture, but you will...

Continue Reading...

You can love anybody – and everybody (DW#337)

One of the most exciting things about the upgraded version of love that we have been discussing these days is that it’s not limited to our most intimate relationships (yet, very importantly, can be practiced most frequently within them).

When we allow ourselves to open up to the possibility of creating micro-moments of connection, we can create this positivity resonance with others and experience the extraordinary gains in health and happiness that go with practicing this supreme emotion.

So go ahead. Look for opportunities to share a positive micro-moment of connection with another human being.

How many opportunities to practice love (OTLs) will you take advantage of today?

Continue Reading...

Your love hormone (DW#336)

Have you heard of oxytocin?

Oxytocin is called the "bonding hormone" because it surges during sexual activity between people and during lactation in nursing mothers. When oxytocin surges within, human beings feel good and bond with another human being, creating new attachments or cementing existing ones.

The surge of oxytocin is so large during these particular moments of relationship activity that until recently, scientists did not realise that oxytocin is also released during subtler and low key moments, such as playing or cuddling with your children, getting to know someone new, sharing a personal story, trusting someone or being trusted by them.

During such everyday activities oxytocin is also released, leading to good feelings and attachments with others.

Oxytocin also works in another way. It turns off the "alarm system" of the brain by calming the amygdala so that you can put down your guard and get closer to the other person. To put it another way, the release of oxytocin...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3
Close

50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.