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4 Ways to Rebuild Struggling Relationships

4 Ways to Rebuild Struggling Relationships

Most people that have made it through their teenage years have at least a few failed relationships under their belt. Failed relationships are a part of life and can often be extremely helpful in maintaining current and future relationships.

That doesn’t make it any easier when you are in the middle of a failing relationship. Some relationships just don’t have what it takes to make it, but others can be saved. Those that make it through the stressful times often come out with a better relationship than ever before.

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Here are a few things that can be helpful in helping in getting a failing relationship back on track before it is too late:

Love Language

There have been numerous studies in recent years about love languages and how they play into a relationship. The five love languages are words of affirmations, quality time, acts of service, receiving gifts, and physical touch.[1] These languages are essentially the way that we as individuals prefer to be loved. For example, some people like to be loved by being served. They love to be surprised with a clean house or breakfast in bed. For others, they prefer a more physical form of love.

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The important thing to know about love languages is that when you are showing love to a person in a relationship, you should do so in their love language, not your own. You can figure out their love language through trial and error, or go the quicker route of having an open and honest discussion. Obviously, the latter is the preferred method.

Rebuild the Spark

Typically, people get in a relationship based on an initial spark. They are attracted to each other and they use that attraction to build a relationship based on other things. Fortunately, even after lost, that attraction can be rekindled. Sometimes there are things that those in the relationship have done to damage the attraction. Simple things like giving up on looking nice for your partner, or changing your hygiene habits can do this.

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It could also be an issue with what is called pheromones.[2] These are essentially what lead to attraction between people. If the issue is just a lack of passion or attraction, doing something with pheromones could be what you need to spark up your relationship again.

Go Back to What Worked

In every relationship, there is typically at least one point in the relationship where things were great. This is generally the beginning. There are usually reasons that things were going so well then, and are no longer going quite as well now. Take a little time and try to remember what it is that originally sparked the relationship. Try to display some of the same qualities that were originally displayed. If your adventurous spirits are what attracted you to each other then go on an adventure together! Whatever it was that worked before, try it again.

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Service

When all else fails you can try just loving and serving each other. This will not only help build mutual appreciation, but oftentimes, people find themselves loving those that they serve, as strange as that may sound. The reason is likely that when you try and help someone, you often put yourself in their shoes and start to see what their life is like and why they may be the way they are. Suddenly, you find yourself relating to them and things become much easier.

These are by no means the only ways to improve a relationship, but implementing at least a few of these can be incredibly helpful in helping get things back on track. Rebuilding a relationship is hard work and don’t be surprised if things don’t seem to be working at first. Stick to it and things will always improve!

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via huffingtonpost.com

Reference

[1]Web MD: 5 Love Languages, 7 Days, 1 Couple
[2]House of Pheromones: Pheromones for Men

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Spencer Mecham

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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