Savouring ..

Our Brilliant Holiday

Our Brilliant Holiday

Have you ever had a really great day then ended up talking about the terrible items on the evening news once you got home to your partner?

On average, we tend to have three times as many positive experiences during a day compared to negative experiences, but in spite of this our natural ‘negativity bias’  causes more bad news to feature in our everyday conversations. This tendency was vital to our survival as cave dwellers but research has shown that .. “an enthusiastic or supportive response correlates with commitment, satisfaction, intimacy and trust.

A recent study looked at the benefits of sharing good news. Lambert and his colleagues (2013) proposed, “…that the sharing of positive experience will uniquely contribute to positive affect.” Across four separate studies findings indicate that the sharing of a positive interaction not only is related to a momentary increase in positive mood but is also correlated with higher life satisfaction when it is practiced long-term.

This differs from simply attempting to savor an experience or write down things you for which you are grateful. To put it another way, we sometimes make the mistake of treating happiness as if it is a personal, individualistic pursuit. It is important to remember that humans are social creatures and that happiness can often be found in our interactions. In this case social savoring by sharing positive experiences can pay happiness dividends. The people in your life have the potential to increase your happiness and you theirs. This idea-that we are “co-responsible” for one another’s happiness-can seem radical to those who believe that happiness is related to “self-help.”

We could all be just a little bit more satisfied if we shared what’s going well in our lives!”

(Newsletter 01/10/2013 http://positiveacorn.com)

Savouring in your relationships can be as simple as:

Sharing with others
– Seek out others to share your experiences and tell them how much you value the moments you share.
Memory building
– Take mental and photographic snapshots, as well as physical souvenirs from events in your life, and reminisce later with your loved ones.
Congratulate yourselves
– Don’t be afraid to tell yourself how great you are for getting this far, and remember how much work got you here.
Sharpen your perception
– Focus on certain senses and block out others: try closing your eyes when listening to music.
Absorption
– Allow yourself to become totally immersed in your experiences, or in your partner, and try not to think .. just feel ..

What moments would you like to savour?
I’d love to read your Comments on this page, or let me know at www.facebook.com/apcounselling

Acceptance ..

I spend a lot of time reading up on the latest relationship research and debates so you don’t have to. One blog post I read recently suggested a couple ‘really gets married’ somewhere around the 5th year after their wedding. So why, I got to wondering, was this?

One answer comes from Harriet Lerner’s wonderful book Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and The Coupled Up, described as “Required reading for anyone hoping to interact successfully with any other human” .. (a great idea for a wedding gift by the way).

Lerner’s Rule #1 (let’s call it the Uber Rule) is Respect Differences!

In the first, hot, part of a relationship we think our partner is perfect in every way, that we are ‘two halves of the same coin’ and other such sayings. But as time goes on this naturally fades, we become more secure in our friendship and start to really show ourselves. Maybe he really likes nothing more than to sit in his tracksuit pants in front of the football, while she is sulking because he used to take her out for dinner on a Saturday night .. and neither understands why things have changed .. and before long a thousand little niggles have convinced each of them ‘this is the wrong person for me’, or “I love him, but I’m not IN LOVE with him”.

Lerner advises that for a loving relationship to flourish we should not:

“.. get too nervous about differences”, or ..

“.. equate closeness with sameness”, and instead “work on staying emotionally close to a partner who thinks and feels differently than you do without needing to convince or otherwise fix [them].”

When couples can accept and celebrate each other as they truly are the marriage really begins. Which is when she can say “Sweetie, I really don’t get football, but I’m happy you’re enjoying the match”, and he says “Honey, put on your best dress, and when the final whistle goes we’re going out on the town”.

Sometimes getting there needs some independent help, a fresh perspective from an outside source. If that’s what you need get in touch with a well qualified and experienced relationship counsellor who should be able to work with you to achieve your relationship goals.

 

Tell, Be With, Give, Do or Cuddle?

I get a number of relationship blogs delivered to my email Inbox every day, and to be honest sometimes I hit delete pretty fast as I go through them. This morning though, one email caught my eye, and my imagination, and I clicked through to Gary Chapman’s website at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ to see what the fuss was about.

I’d recommend taking a look too and doing the free questionnaire to find your preferred love languages, whether you’re trying to save your marriage, preparing to make a commitment or single. This tool would help in all relationships, particularly with your children and teenagers as they grow and develop their own ‘Love Language’ which may be very different to your own.

It’d be nice if our partners magically knew what we need, and sometimes in the early stages of a relationship it seems that’s the case. But in reality knowing yourself in a relationship is vital to being able to clearly ask your partner for what you need and to make your relationship work. This is a great tool to find out what your partner can do that’ll really make you feel special.

And don’t forget them! Send them the questionnaire and talk about the similarities and differences in your ‘Love Languages’, it might be why they get so much out of a quiet night on the sofa for Date Night, while what lights you up is being read poetry.

Have a go and get in touch to let me know how you get on ..

 

What can you live with?

A very dear friend recently posted on Facebook that she had met up with a guy from a dating site:

‘First rule of dating please use deodorant … may of overlooked the fact that he was 5 inchs smaller than on his profile if he smelled nicer … lasted 42 mins’

Of course my first reaction was to laugh out loud, but next I got to thinking .. Is it better to try to have a relationship with someone who may not shower often enough (or to be fair, might have been REALLY nervous!) or someone who’s not truthful?

Of course no one can ever fulfil the perfect idea we’re sold on TV and films of the person we’ll spend our lives with (imagine trying to BE that person and you’ll quickly drive yourself crazy). Instead, in any relationship we choose the things we can tolerate in a person (or ask a person to change) and those we need to reject in order to keep ourselves safe.

Someone who doesn’t feel they need to bend the truth will listen when you suggest they might want to make friends with the soap dish .. but however nice he smells a liar is a whole different proposal. And if someone thinks it’s a good idea to lie to you about something as obvious as how tall he is, ask yourself what else he’s prepared to hide ..