Advertising

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

Advertising
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.

Advertising

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.

    Advertising

    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”

    Advertising

    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. ”

    Advertising

    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.

      Advertising

      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

      More by this author

      Daydreaming Indicates A Well-Equipped Brain, Study Says How Weight Lifting Can Change The Structure Of Your Brain, Science Explains Weight Lifting Might Lead To 46% Reduced Risk Of Death Applying Vicks On Your Feet Can Clear Cough? Experts Explain To The Babies Who’ve Gone to Heaven, You Won’t be Alone

      Trending in Communication

      1 How to Live a Happy Life: 10 Keys to Happiness 2 10 Signs You Are in a Codependent Relationship (And What To Do About It) 3 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 4 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 5 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on July 20, 2021

      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

      Advertising
      How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

      You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

      Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

      Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

      Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

      1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

      According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

      “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

      Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

      Warming up

      If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

      If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

      Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

      Advertising

      1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
      2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
      3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

      Stay hydrated

      Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

      To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

      Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

      Meditate

      Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

      Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

      Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

      Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

      2. Focus on your goal

      One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

      Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

      Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

      Advertising

      Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

      If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

      3. Convert negativity to positivity

      There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

      ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

      It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

      Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

      Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

      Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

      4. Understand your content

      Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

      Advertising

      However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

      “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

      Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

      Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

      One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

      5. Practice makes perfect

      Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

      In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

      Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

      6. Be authentic

      There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

      Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

      Advertising

      Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

      To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

      With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

      Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

      7. Post speech evaluation

      Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

      Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

      We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

      You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

      Improve your next speech

      As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

      Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

      Advertising

      • How did I do?
      • Are there any areas for improvement?
      • Did I sound or look stressed?
      • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
      • Was I saying “um” too often?
      • How was the flow of the speech?

      Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

      If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

      Reference

      Read Next