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If You Want A Happy Relationship, You Need To Treat It Like Your Bank Account

If You Want A Happy Relationship, You Need To Treat It Like Your Bank Account

While the formative years of a relationship are usually incredibly positive, it is hard to imagine any changes later on. As feelings change and relationships grow to take on greater responsibilities, it is easy to become mired in a cycle of negativity that overwhelms any feelings of passion and love that remain.

We have all experienced this. Initial feelings of passion and excitement slowly give way to sadness, apathy, and, in some instances, resentment. These feelings can create a relationship with more negative interactions than positive ones, which exacerbates the existing issues further and places an intolerable strain on each individual involved.

Why You Should Imagine Your Relationship as Though It Is a Bank Account

In order to understand this further, let’s consider another scenario where it is possible for negative transactions to outnumber positive ones. If you have a bank account, for example, you may have experienced periods where your outgoings and monthly payments are greater than your earnings during the same period. As you will know, such a scenario will leave you in the red, either trapped in a predetermined overdraft or indebted to the lender.

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This type of situation cannot continue indefinitely either, as a continued excess of negative transactions will eventually force you to foreclose on the account.

In order to avoid this, you must adopt a proactive approach to resolving the issue, while taking practical steps to build the number of positive transactions in the account and restoring a healthy balance. This requires courage and understanding, while it also encourages you to constantly work on your financial management and seek out creative methods of maintaining a positive balance.

The Golden Ratio: 5 Times More Positive Interactions Than Negative Ones

This is a principle that can be applied directly to your relationship, as research conducted by Dr. John Gottman underlines. His theory is based on the basic principle that the existence of ongoing and unresolvable issues within a relationship is perfectly normal and healthy, and that the key is to balance this with positive interactions.

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According to Gottman, the golden ratio for a healthy relationship is to experience at least five times more positive interactions than negative ones[1], as this creates a balance that can sustain a union even through testing times.

This is often referred to as a “relationship bank account”, where an excess of negative interactions and withdrawals (or conflicts) quickly drains any credit that exists and edges the union close to zero or the precipice of a break-up. If you are able to establish a healthier balance and the type of ratio referenced above, however, you can build the credit and level of sentiment within the relationship, creating a safety net that minimizes the impact of arguments and ensures that individual issues are kept in perspective.

How to Keep a Positive Balance of Your Relationship Bank Account

While this logic holds true, however, the question that remains is how can couples pursue such a healthy balance? The first step is to recognize the realities of human relationships, which dictate that conflict is inevitable and should be embraced as a key part of adult life. From there, it is easier to manage your relationship while seeking out opportunities to build positive interactions and memories.

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When it comes to forging positive interactions, it is crucial that you focus on your relationship and look to seek out shared passions and hobbies. This ensures that you spend quality time with one another, and ensures that you enjoy positive experiences and interactions that can quickly build credit between two individuals.

This requires effort and application on both sides, of course, while there should also be a willingness to set aside specific periods of time for such activity.

By managing your relationship as though it was a bank account and adhering to Dr. John Gottman’s golden ratio, you can create a positive and sustainable relationship that can survive even difficult periods of time. If you do need any more motivation to follow this path and invest time into cultivating such positive interactions, just consider the consequences of allowing negative interactions to build up and the permanent impact that this can have on relationships.

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Featured photo credit: Sunshine-D / Flickr via flickr.com

Reference

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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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