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10 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Happy And Healthy

10 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Happy And Healthy

Being in a relationship isn’t easy, but healthy couples know how to take the ups and downs; how to weather the storm. Learn from the experts, with these ten ways to keep your relationship happy and healthy. (And yes, you should be having sex every day!)

1. Communicate Openly

Research shows that communication style is more important than commitment levels, personality traits or stress in predicting which couples will stay happy. Healthy couples don’t avoid conflict, but they do know how to keep the lines of communication open. Happy couples know that the best conversations happen without the distraction of phones, tablets and laptops.

2. Don’t Forget the Small Things

Saying please and thank you shouldn’t be reserved for the company. Manners are important – even with the person you’ve been with for 20 years. Extend the same respect to your spouse as you would to a visiting guest. Say please and thank you, make polite conversation and why not offer your partner a drink? A few manners and niceties will go a long way to maintaining a culture of mutual respect.

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3. Exercise Together

Studies show that couples who exercise together are not only healthier, but more satisfied with their marriage. Psychology Today cites several studies that report that the symptoms of physiological arousal (the type of high you get from exercise) mimic the effects of sexual and romantic arousal. If you work out together, you will feel sexy, and in love!

4. Go On Vacation

A couple’s retreat can be energizing for a relationship, but so can traveling separately! Many happy, healthy couples take their own short vacations, or have regular trips away with a social group. Being alone, meeting new friends, or enjoying adventures without your partner can be very empowering. Ultimately, you will return to your partner energized, enthusiastic- and more in love than ever.

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travel alone

    5. Laugh

    Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system and releases endorphins. Laughter expert, Lesley Lyle, author of the book Laugh Your Way To Happiness, says that smiling and laughing will make you feel better -even if it is forced! So, even if you and your loved one are both having a hard day, try smiling and laughing for no reason at all. The physical act of laughing will make you happier and healthier.

    6. Eat together

    Families that eat together, stay together. The supper table is a place for couples and their family members to connect and to receive nourishment – both physical and spiritual. Eating healthy food together at a table will not only encourage good family nutrition, but provides a regular, sacred space for conversation and laughter.

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      7. Have Sex Every Day

      Having sex every day removes the anxiety that some couples feel when it comes time to “perform”. In his book, How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!), author Douglas Brown claims that having sex every day not only reduced this tension, but brought him and his wife closer together, after 14 years of marriage. Plus, sex itself can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, reduce stress and even prevent prostate cancer! Couples who have sex every day, claim that it not only strengthens their relationship, but improves their health.

      8. Switch roles once in a while

      Boredom and routine can make a relationship stagnant. If hubby always drives, why not switch it up next week, so she can take the wheel? Or if she always cooks, why not suggest a few meals prepared by him? Switching roles will not only mix things up a little- it may make you appreciate things from your partner’s perspective. It goes without saying that switching roles in the bedroom can spice up a relationship. If your partner usually initiates sex, maybe it’s your turn!

      9. Never Go to Bed Angry (But Do Sleep On An Argument)

      There is an old saying, “never go to bed angry”. But is half-past midnight really the time to discuss a problem? If you have a disagreement in the evening, do not discuss things if you are both tired. Set a time to talk the following day, say goodnight, and sleep on it. Things will be much clearer in the morning.

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        10. Be tolerant of physical change

        As your partner and you grow old together, you will both mature and change – and because you have grown so comfortable together, you may be quick to point out flaws in each other. But, if you want your happy relationship to last, you should never mention the the stretch marks, the beer belly or the bald spot! No matter how old and wrinkly you both get, the answer to “How do I look?” is always: “You look beautiful (and I love you)”.

        Featured photo credit: Prawny via mrg.bz

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        Last Updated on January 24, 2021

        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

        How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

        Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

        For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

        But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

        It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

        And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

        The Importance of Saying No

        When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

        In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

        Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

        Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

        Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

        “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

        When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

        How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

        It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

        From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

        We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

        And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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        At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

        The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

        How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

        Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

        But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

        3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

        1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

        Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

        If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

        2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

        When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

        Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

        3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

        When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

        6 Ways to Start Saying No

        Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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        1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

        One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

        Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

        2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

        Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

        Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

        3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

        Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

        Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

        You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

        4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

        Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

        Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

        5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

        When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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        How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

          Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

          Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

          6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

          If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

          Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

          Final Thoughts

          Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

          Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

          Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

          More Tips on How to Say No

          Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
          [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
          [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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