positivepsychology

Positive Psychology in Relationships

Relationships, no matter what level they are on, can have ups and downs. They can make you happy and at times sad. We are all looking for ways to enhance our relationships and make them better. When the relationships in our life are in unison, everything seems in sync.

One new view when it comes to enhancing a relationship is that of positive psychology. Many people think that psychology mainly focuses on the mental aspects of things. While it does, positive psychology has a different view. Positive psychology doesn’t focus on what’s wrong, but looks more at promoting a sense of well-being. It looks at how to get the life and relationships you want. It’s about your life experiences having a sense of happiness and pleasure – and ensuring that it all has meaning to you.

So how can you use positive psychology to enhance your life and your relationships? By utilizing these positive psychology techniques, you will become a better person and thus be better when it comes to the relationships in your life. These techniques include:

  •  Enjoy the moments in life by being aware of the things that give you pleasure. It’s OK to feel a sense of pleasure when something good happens. Enhance that pleasure by sharing it with others. Let them know about your experience and how great it was. Sharing a positive experience allows you to share the experience with others and assists in enhancing your communication skills with one another.
  • Try to avoid repetitive behaviors and experiences. It’s common knowledge that anytime you share an experience with someone, the first time you experience it is typically the best time. If you try to keep repeating that experience, it will never be as good as the first time. Try new experiences as often as you can. By introducing new experiences, you’re giving your relationship a chance to experience something new and thus creating a new bond with each experience.
  • Invest time in your friends and family. Building strong personal relationships has proven to enhance a person’s well-being.
  • Let go of any anger and resentment in your relationships. While it may feel like you’re doing something good, you’re actually hindering your happiness and adversely affecting the relationship when you hold onto these feelings. Try ridding yourself of the anger and resentment by writing it all down.

Developing a strong bond in your relationships needs to happen on all levels. A relationship that has a strong bond and sense of well-being in the good times has the foundation already built to get through the bad times as well.

Positive psychology is becoming more popular as time goes by. While the techniques look simple – and in a sense they are – there needs to be focus on the techniques to make them work. If you don’t give them your full attention, then they won’t be beneficial in the relationship or in your life. Relationships are a large portion of our lives. So making them the best that they can be is important. Use these techniques, and you are on your way to achieving a greater sense of well-being in your life.

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Relationship Connection

Connected relationships lead to a greater stability in all of your relationships – including family, friends and coworkers. To create shared meanings and values in your relationships, identify the shared meanings you already have and decide what new meanings you may want to add. Shared meanings help people, whether family or friend, settle conflicts and collectively pursue the goals that really matter to them and the relationship.

Some examples of shared meaning goals are raising a healthy child, building a successful business, or helping an elderly relative pass peacefully – all depending on what is being presented by each specific relationship. When two people find a shared meaning, they are willing to support each others dreams, even when there is little to gain personally from doing so, which is important for satisfying relationships.

Attaining A Shared Meaning In Your Relationships

Recognize The Conflict – Conflict often stems from inner dreams and ideals. If you uncover the ideals hidden behind another person’s position during a conflict, you can often find some common meaning. However, this strategy does not come easily for most people. Practice self-compassion and mindfulness to really take notice of what conflicts you may need to resolve within yourself. Looking inward is a great first step to solving anything. Once you are able to broaden your discussion to include dreams and hopes, you can see where your visions merge and find room for compromise.

Talk About Your Dreams – Encourage one another’s support for these aspirations. Keep in mind that talking about life dreams and what they mean to you requires some degree of trust between you and your partner (or friend/coworker). Such discussions can bring up issues so important and deeply felt that you may feel vulnerable. Just as with many high-risk propositions, there is also potential for high gain. Talking about your dreams and aspirations can lead to stronger emotional connections with the people in your life who matter most.

Meaningful Activities – Regularly engage in planned meaningful activities that draw people together emotionally. Most of us were raised in families in which some rituals were considered important (religions holidays for example). Create your own rituals – whatever you wish for them to be – it could be as simple as the ritual of a shared family dinner once a week. Rituals with family and friends will give those relationships more shared meanings.

Shared meanings are a big reason why we connect in our relationships in the first place. Harvesting these meanings will only create better connection.

Five Creative Ways to Increase the Intimacy

Five Creative Ways to Increase the Intimacy

Many couples hit a snag in their relationship where they feel as though there is nothing more to increase when it comes to intimacy. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to boost your relationship – whether you’ve been together one year or 20 years. If you feel as though your relationship is stagnant, consider these tips for boosting your love.

Cure Exhaustion

The biggest mood killer among couples is exhaustion. Whether it’s from children or career, there comes a time where you are too tired or too busy for your partner. Sometimes putting that exhaustion aside is too difficult, but often you can put aside what is causing the exhaustion. Today’s couple tends to act like a power couple, which means days that are longer than eight hours at work. By the time you get home, you’re too exhausted for your partner. If, however, you cut back by even four hours per week you may notice a great difference in your energy level and you and your partner will have four spare hours per week to spend with one another.

Be in the Moment

How often do you and your partner try to be intimate only to find yourself thinking about all you have to get done? If you’re not concentrating on the moment, you’re not going to enjoy it. Be in the moment by only focusing on what is going on – right then and there. Forget about what you need to do after or what else there is to do for the day.

Timing

You may have noticed that intimacy isn’t something you both time simultaneously. When you’re ready to be intimate, your partner may not be and vice-versa. You can overcome this lack of scheduling by talking with your partner. Find out when they’re feeling most intimate and desire you the most. By knowing when it works you can avoid any frustrations of either person being shot down when they’re in the moment.

Be the Best of Friends

If your partner is your best friend, you’re off to the right start. Many people have the misconception that if your partner is your best friend, it means you won’t be romantic with one another – but this isn’t true. In fact, having a partner in the bedroom who is your best friend creates more intimacy than a couple that isn’t comfortable and close with one another on a physical and emotional level.

Laugh

A sense of humor can actually improve intimacy in a relationship. Humor is, in fact, one of the keys to making a relationship thrive long-term. Since life is full of unexpected events, stressors and times of feeling down, having the ability to simply laugh, appreciate the irony in a situation, etc. can help any couple. Letting go and enjoying life together – regardless of what curveballs come your way, can help improve the relationship a lot more than you would expect.

In any relationship there will be times where you’re on the same page and times where you can’t seem to get along. Staying focused and working hard to improve intimacy between the two of you can help improve those “down times” and make the time between them much further.

 


 

Photo Source: courtesy of Stuart Miles / Free Digital Photos

The Brain Science Behind Love

The Brain Science Behind Love

Psychologists have demonstrated that it takes most people between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide whether or not they are attracted to another person. It is an almost instant feeling that is caused by a chemical reaction in your brain.

What makes us fall in love with a particular person?

Our brains are actually what entice us to fall in love. Love is one of the most exhilarating of all human emotions, and it is driven by brain chemicals and sexual hormones. Our bodies can become suddenly attracted to someone else based on how our brain responses to the person’s body language and tone of voice. Researchers have demonstrated that it has little to do with the actual content of the conversation.

Love Starts with Lust

Unfortunately, love at first sight is actually lust at first sight. The initial chemical reaction is considered to be more of lusting for each other that is driven by oestrogen and testosterone. It is the first stage our brain goes through when we are interested in someone, and it can lead to love if it is nurtured.

Lust Turns into Attraction

The next stage in love is attraction, which is also caused by a chemical reaction in your brain. Attraction can be broken down into three main neurotransmitters: norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. In most cases, the feeling of falling in love triggers your stress response, which increases your blood level of norepinephrine (adrenaline). These chemicals can cause your palms to feel sweaty, your mouth to feel dry, and your heart to race.

The release of dopamine during attraction gives you an intense rush or pleasurable feeling that makes you want to spend more time together and the lack of serotonin found in love-struck couples is what makes your brain block out potential issues or problems in the relationship. The entire attraction stage in the relationship changes your natural thought process and is the reason why it takes so many people so long to realize they are in a bad relationship.

Attraction Becomes Attachment

Once you have spent so much time together and the chemical reaction caused by your initial nerves wears off, you will have already become attached to the other person. Researchers believe that there are two critical hormones that inspire this feeling of attachment: vasopressin and oxytocin.

Vasopressin and oxytocin are both powerful hormones that women and men produce when they have an orgasm. They are sometimes referred to as the cuddle hormones and they are released to strengthen the couple’s bond after having sexual intercourse. A couple’s bond will become stronger the more often they have sex. The same theory also explains why so many couples seem to fall out of love once they stop making love.

Lust, attraction, and attachment can all cloud our better judgement because we are not directly in control of how our brain will react to another human being. This brain science doesn’t mean that love isn’t real or valid. The chemical reactions shouldn’t be strong enough to keep two people together if the relationship is lacking trust, compassion, and commitment. In most cases, your brain is a good judge of character and will connect you with someone that can transform the chemical reaction into a true love for each other.