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What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One

What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One
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You probably think that couples that have a good relationship don’t fight, rarely go to bed angry, spend all their time together and are super romantic. This is the mindset that makes many couples feel defeated in their relationships, especially when they are going through conflict.

Just because you disagree with your partner every once in a while; or probably a little bit more than that, doesn’t mean that you cannot have a great relationship. Even the almost perfect relationship experiences misunderstandings, arguments, and disputes.

Your relationship is one of the most crucial components of your life. Many people put all their effort on the flirting and the dating, and then totally ignore their relationship once they are together. Developing and maintaining the relationship with your partner is the most important thing you can do for yourself.

Your relationship affects your stress levels, health, and happiness. No relationship is perfect all the time. However, connecting with your partner emotionally, physically and romantically is such a fantastic thing that it deserves all your effort. Here are some tips for building a healthy relationship:

1. Communicate with patience

Communication is one of the essential qualities of a great relationship. Unfortunately, experts indicate that many couples do not know how to communicate appropriately; or even communicate at all.

Healthy couples vocalize their love for one another. They take time to discuss their feelings, and they don’t leave their partners trying to figure out what’s going on. When partners make assumptions, expectations are set and just as quickly, they are deflated. The unmet expectations then leave partners questioning the viability of the relationship.[1]

Partners in a healthy relationship discuss even the most challenging subjects and agree to disagree. They know that they will not always see eye to eye and that’s ok. They, therefore, respect each other’s opinions and ideas.

They talk about sex openly and honestly. When partners tell each other what they find enjoyable and what they don’t like, they have better sex and, consequently, have a stronger relationship.

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Some couples even go as far as seeing a counseling service. Your insurance may even cover a set amount of sessions per year. So if your paying for them why not use them. Otherwise the cost is anywhere from $5 to $300 per hour,[2] this typically depends on your location and any entitlements/benefits you are eligible for.

2. Compromise

Every relationship will be punctuated by conflict. It is not a conflict that affects your relationship, but how you handle issues. The most crucial element in solving the conflict in your relationship is compromise.[3] You cannot be the one who is right all the time and it shouldn’t be you who always has the answers.

Keep an open mind, and you will be surprised at how a bit of compromise can go a long way.

3. Appreciate often

Many times, couples fall into patterns and take for granted all the things that their partners do for them. Notice all the small things that your partner does for you and thank them.

Appreciation is an excellent motivator to your partner, and it generates positive feelings within the relationship. Also, when you consciously practice appreciation and gratitude, you will focus more on the good instead of fixating on the negatives, and you will be much happier in your relationship.[4]

4. Always respect each other

Your relationship with your partner will thrive if you both feel respected by each other.

Respecting your partner comes in many forms: being mindful of their feelings, beliefs, time, and trust.

Conversely, many things can break down the respect in your relationship:[5]

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  • Name calling
  • Talking negatively about your partner to friends and family
  • Threatening to leave the relationship

5. Allow for personal space

Your relationship will be healthy if you allow room for each other to foster individuality. Allow each other time for friends, family, hobbies and other individual interests. This will help you and your partner to not only maintain separate identities but also nourish a healthy sense of self.

Spending all the time together might not only make you and your partner feel as if you are suffocating in the relationship but will also create an unhealthy co-dependence.

6. Be each other’s rock

Everyone goes through tough times, and when your partner is experiencing a personal challenge, your support can make the world of difference.

Also, no matter how independent you are, teach yourself to lean on your partner for support. Going through hard times together will bring you closer and strengthen your relationship.[6]

7. Be responsible for your happiness

Sometimes, partners expect too much from each other. People who were never happy hope to be happy because they are in a relationship; those who were never confident hope to feel confident; those who never felt they had value expect to feel valued just because they are a couple.

Unfortunately, looking to your partner to provide you with happiness and self-worth will lead to gross disappointment. It is entirely in order to expect your partner to treat you well, but your happiness and self -worth should come from within.

8. Learn more about each other

Who is your partner really? What excites him/her? What are their goals and dreams? You can become consumed by what you think your partner needs as opposed to knowing what truly resonates with them.

Remember, what your partner wants does not have to make sense to you: you just have to understand it.

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9. Learn to validate your partner’s feelings

Validating your partner increases the emotional security of your relationship, which is a crucial component of a healthy relationship. Listen to your partner without the urge to analyze, solve or fix things.

Even when you do not understand your partner’s point of view, you can always say: ‘I hear you!’

Validate your partner’s feelings unconditionally, and you will help them feel that you are a safe ally and that they are not alone. No feelings are invalid.[7]

Here’s why your lover doesn’t want your advice, but your validation.

10. Check in with each other

At the end of a long day, the standard question between couples is: ‘How was your day?’ Generally, the question will yield a superficial answer such as ‘Fine. How was yours?’ This will not in any way improve the connection between you and your partner.

Instead, ask questions like ‘What was the most challenging part of your day? And you will be amazed at how much insight you will gain into your loved one.

Seek to become an expert on your partner, and you will find it much easier to make them happy.[8]

11. Fight appropriately

Disagreeing is perfectly healthy. Just because you are fighting does not mean that you do not love each other or that you are headed for a breakup. You merely have a difference of opinion.

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Remind yourselves that you are on the same team. Negotiate your disagreements successfully by assuring yourselves that ultimately, you want the same outcome: peace and fulfillment in your relationship.

When you have things in the right perspective, you will not attack or intentionally hurt each other during arguments. Instead, you will strive to understand each other and work towards a solution.

12. Sleep on it

If you realize that your argument has hit a dead end, shelf it to another time; the next morning or later in the day. However, experts recommend that do not wait longer than a full day to revisit the issue.

13. Keep things interesting

You will change over and over again in the course of your relationship and so will your partner. Keep things in your relationship interesting by trying new activities and breaking out of your normal routine.

Seek to stay attractive with each other not only physically, but also intellectually. Bring new ideas and perspectives into your relationship and bring up topics that are genuinely engaging to your partner.

Learn from this article how to keep the spark alive in a relationship.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, if you want to build a great relationship, aim to make your partner feel good about themselves. The times your partner spends with you should not make them feel apprehensive but excited and energized.

The secret is to ensure that the good times in your relationship are more than the fights and the arguments. Your relationship should not feel like a second job, but a source of pleasure, fun, and comfort. You should look forward to being together after a long day at work.

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Finally, do not compare your relationship with others: their homes, jobs, vacations. Things are seldom what they look like.

Featured photo credit: Juliana Malta via unsplash.com

Reference

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Randy Skilton

Randy is an educator in the areas of relationships and self-help.

Do Rebound Relationships Work Out? Why They Will and Won’t How to Improve Communication in Relationships and Increase Intimacy What Defines a Good Relationship? 13 Tips on How to Foster One How to Set Marriage Goals That Make Your Relationship Stronger 10 Fun Relationship Quizzes to Strengthen Your Bond with Your Partner

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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  • 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

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