Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You: Stress Less... Stress-Management Technique 3


a good, happy relationship paves way for a stress-free life... As to how we can achieve that, here are some tips from the experts:

50. DO LITTLE THINGS (sometimes it's the little things that matter the most)
  • do something positive everyday to "deposit" a good feeling in your relationship (eg. a note on a napkin, a kiss on the cheek, a helping hand on a home project)
  • if you feel good about yourself, that's also a great gift to give someone you love (i have to attest to this. Feeling good radiates from the inside out.)
  • plan time together for just the two of you
  • share meals when possible, take a walk, hold hands, or just sit on the couch and catch up while the kids are in the other room playing wii (sometimes it's a bit difficult to find couple time when you have growing kids around. But it really doesn't need to be a date in a lavish restaurant or something to that effect. My husband and I sometimes go for a quick breakfast at McDonald's when the kids have already gone to school. Or we just enjoy couple time watching tv when the kids are already asleep at night.)
  • you're never too busy to give compliments
  • a well-timed "Great hair, Honey" can prevent you and your partner from taking each other for granted
  • remember what you and your spouse or partner was like when the two of you first started dating
  • focus on the characteristics that first attracted you to each other
  • a lot of us have trouble giving feedback to each other - really good, genuine feedback - especially in our romantic relationships
  • relationship problems can be an enormous source of stress
  • our "feedback" comes off as criticism, snarky remarks, and attacks on character
  • use these strategies when you're trying to help each other (giving feedback) - to really help, and not hurt:
    • Be Specific = feedback must be based on observable behavior, not one's feelings or the conclusions drawn from the behavior. Specific compliments help.
    • Be Timely = do it now. Don't let criticisms fester.
    • Be Actionable = make sure it's based on something over which a person has control.
    • Be Positive = give both positive and critical feedback, but tip the balance in the positive direction
  • when receiving feedback:
    • listen without comment, looking directly at the person
      • when he/she has finished, don't make any statements, but do ask questions if you want clarification
      • don't accept, don't deny, and don't rationalize
      • listening should be as active a pursuit as speaking
    • recognize the courage it took to give you the feedback, and consider it a sincere gift intended to help you grow
      • thank the giver for the feedback
      • make it short but something you can say sincerely (eg. "you've really given me something to think about, thanks")
    • know that feedback can be tough to receive, even if we solicit it and are grateful for it
      • feedback can shake up your feelings about yourself
      • plan to do something nice for yourself when you know you're facing tough feedback
      • try to do something that bolsters self-esteem (eg. have dinner with friends or engage in activity that you are particularly good at)
  • sex can serve as that nirvana moment between couples - a time when you feel complete happiness and intimacy, a time when you express your love to your mate
  • sex is designed to make you feel good. Really, really good.
  • those feel-good moments are wonderful ways to help stress melt away
    • men who have sex three times a week can decrease their risk of heart attack and stroke by 50%
    • women who enjoy sex tend to live longer than those who don't
  • great sex makes your body feel and be equivalent to tow to eight years younger
  • partners in any relationship need a little space and can actually thrive on it
  • they need to live their own lives, as well as develop their own interests and friends
  • couples grow when individuals can remain individuals, because each of you will bring more back to the marriage if you're relaxed and refreshed
  • doing novel things with another person (like bungee jumping, river rafting) stimulates dopamine (the feel-good chemical that's elevated when you're in love)
  • the dopamine is actually firing high when you first get together but not necessarily on the 18th date, so it's even better to make special new adventures or variations more common the longer you are together
  • stepping out of your norms will help you feel energized in your relationship and in life
  • a good foot rub works for body and mind:
    • it elevates levels of oxytocin, which are the hormones that make you feel warm and fuzzy (the same hormone that a mother's brain secretes when she's breast-feeding)
    • it causes arousal, as the foot contains its own set of sexual nerves
    • it stimulates lymphatic drainage. Massage helps drain waste material out of your system
  • how to do it:
    1. Clean up. To make your partner comfortable, clean his or her feet with a warm washcloth or in a shallow basin of warm water.
    2. Use the right lotion - one scented with lavender, which is perceived as an aphrodisiac by both men and women. Or just share some lavender aroma.
    3. Do the whole foot. In reflexology (which shares some philosophical roots with acupuncture), the foot is seen as a metaphor for the body. The big toe is seen as the top of the head, and the sensitive area at the base of the toes represents the neck. The inner sole of the foot is the belly, while the outer sole is the spine. If an area is bothering your partner, spend more time there to get the good vibes flowing.
    4. Work your way up. We store a lot of tension in our ankles, so move the foot around passively to help relax the joint. Start with the heel and push up toward the leg; pull it down and work it side to side. On the bottoms of the feet, use firm pressure with your thumbs (too light and it'll be ticklish). Use slow, deep pressure, and work the whole foot and in between toes. Pull each toe for ten seconds. Rub the calves from ankle toward knee. Since the calves and feet are farthest from the heart and fighting gravity, it is challenging for them to move lymphatic waste along.

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