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Couples Who Communicate Openly Are Less Likely To Suffer From Back Pain

Couples Who Communicate Openly Are Less Likely To Suffer From Back Pain

Couples who have learned to talk to one another in a meaningful way may actually live healthier lives. Studies have revealed that there is a link between communication styles in couples and their health. We have all heard the stories of what can happen to our bodies and health when we hold on to stress.

Doctors have discovered holding on to stress can cause a slew of detrimental problems from cardiovascular disease to high cholesterol. Now researchers have determined that how we communicate or do not communicate with a life partner or spouse may be a major player in health problems including back pain.

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back pain
    (Photograph courtesy: Dr. George Gertner, webmd.com.)

    The Study:

    To test the hypothesis that the way we communicate may cause health problems Robert Levenson, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, decided to conduct a longitudinal study where they videotaped couples every few years while asking questions. A longitudinal study is one where researchers observe and gather data from the same subjects over a long period of time.  In this study the researchers were interested in how the couples communicated with one another, and about their health. During the observation couples were closely watched as they communicated with each other.

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    The observers were watching the couple’s body movements, eyes, facial expressions, and even at how tight they held their mouths closed. These observations led to some very interesting findings. Researchers found that if one of the individual’s in the conversation appeared to explode or yell louder they were the one at risk for health problems such as high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. If one partner appeared to shut down in the conversation, which generally means that they are bottling up their emotions, this person would be more likely to suffer from back problems or even stiff necks.

    The Findings:

    When the study had concluded Levenson (2016) stated that: Our findings suggest particular emotions expressed in a relationship predict vulnerability to particular health problems, and those emotions are anger and stonewalling”

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    These findings coincide with another study conducted by Tugade, Fredickson, and Barett on how positive emotions and coping skills play a role in health. These researchers (2005) found that “emotional disclosure can produce significantly enhanced health functioning”

    Couples that learn to communicate effectively, which means without explosion and without shutting down emotions, may live healthier lives. Luckily there are couples therapy sessions for those of us who are not sure how to openly communicate with our significant other. In a study on couples distress researchers Lebow, Chambers, Christensen, and Johnson (2012) found that:  “Couple therapy positively impacts 70% of couples receiving treatment. The relationship between couple distress and individual disorders such as depression and anxiety has become well established over the past decade. Research also indicates that couple therapy clearly has an important role in the treatment of many disorders. ”

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    couple talking
      (Photograph courtesy: Willy, flickr.com)

      The Test of Time

      Couples who have lasted for years, have already found that open communication between them is the key to it all. These couples are physically and mentally healthier, and they are happier because of it. Open communication helps couples to develop closer bonds with one another, which leads to more intimacy in the marriage.

      When hard times hit in this life, we need a partner who without question will help us through it. We need to depend on our partner and trust them to be there. We need to be that person for them as well. We do not want to see our partners in pain or see them ill so we learn to talk to them, share with them, and build a life through that open style of communication.

      Featured photo credit: Photograph courtesy of Joanna Kitchener via flickr.com

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      Last Updated on December 10, 2019

      5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

      5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

      Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

      Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

      But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

      Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

      But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

      Journal writing.

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      Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

      Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

      Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

      1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

      By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

      Consider this:

      Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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      But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

      The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

      2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

      If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

      How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

      Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

      You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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      3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

      As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

      Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

      All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

      4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

      Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

      Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

      The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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      5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

      The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

      It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

      Kickstart Journaling

      How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

      Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

      Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

      Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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