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12 Influential Ways To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

12 Influential Ways To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

The upkeep on a fresh and healthy relationship might seem like a daunting task to manage some days, but thankfully it’s not hard. Check out these 12 influential ways to keep your relationship healthy. You’ll see what a difference it can make, and you might be inspired to come up with some other tips on your own!

1. Be open and honest with each other.

Honesty should come naturally in a serious, committed relationship – but sometimes that’s when it’s the hardest! Make sure you and your partner have a strong foundation of trust that allows you to tell each other anything. Being up front about anything on your mind or that has happened during your day will make you feel more connected to each other, which in turn will make your relationship more loving and healthy.

2. Encourage each other.

Being in a relationship means you have your own built-in cheerleader. You should be excited to come home from a good day at work and share what amazing things happened to you. Your partner will be there to cheer you on, congratulate you, and pump you up for the next step. Encourage each other to do everything, from anything as small as asking for a new project at work, to something as major as applying for a daunting dream job. Knowing you get that degree of support from your partner will help your relationship grow strong.

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    3. Stay fun and flirty!

    Just because you’re in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you can’t flirt! Be playful with your partner! Smile and bat your eyelashes from across the room, hold hands while grocery shopping, bump hips and fall into a kiss while cooking dinner. Everything doesn’t have to be efficient business-as-usual just because you’ve been together for a long time. In fact, keeping things light and fun will help your relationship feel fresh and new, and last longer!

    4. Try something new.

    A lot of couples have date nights, where they leave the daily grind of their home lives behind and go out to have fun together. Try to implement this with your partner, but make sure to try new things on these dates. Don’t go to the same restaurant every week, or always sit in the same seats at the movie theater. Try that hip new club downtown, or go to a restaurant on opening day.

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    5. Give each other space.

    You and your partner are in a committed relationship, and sometimes that can seem like too much. You don’t always have to be together. Give each other a night off, where he can go run errands on his own, or she can go out with friends. Even if you want to spend all of your free time together, you can still give each other space. One person can watch a movie in the den while the other reads in the bedroom. Give it a try and see what works best to foster your relationship!

    6. Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.

    Just like being honest, it’s sometimes really hard to show emotions in a relationship. You want to be understood as strong and independent, not someone who needs the other too much. Acting this way, however, will create a barrier between you and your partner. If you seem too independent or closed off, the relationship can suffer. Don’t be an overly emotional wreck, but if you feel something, make sure your partner knows. They can help you through things, and you need to work together in order to keep your relationship working.

    7. Learn how to resolve conflicts.

    It’s too easy to fight until you’re tired, and then just let it go. Don’t do this! You have to resolve the issue when you’re fighting, otherwise it will keep coming up and causing trouble for you both. No matter how exhausted you are, how many tears have been shed, make sure to resolve a fight before you drop it. This goes beyond the old “never go to bed angry” adage – if it takes time, let the fight stretch over a day or two. The resolution is the healthiest, and most important part – not how quickly you come to it.

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    8. Be open to changes.

    Being committed to someone else means you have to roll with the punches. You have to be ready for changes that occur in his life to affect your life as well. These changes might not always be positive, and they might not always fit into the plan you mapped out, but you have to be open to them. Being willing and able to change with your partner makes the difference between a relationship that seems rocky, and one that will stand the test of time.

    9. Understand each other.

    You don’t have to finish each others’ sentences, but understanding your partner on a deep level is a healthy foundation to have. Understand how he thinks, how he approaches issues, comprehend him, and problem solve. Know that his silence doesn’t mean he’s angry, just thinking. And make sure your partner understands you. Even if this doesn’t come naturally to either of you, take time to sit together and talk it out so you can understand each other in the future.

    10. Break up the routine.

    Date nights, trying something new, making dinner together, making dinner for each other – whatever you can do to break up the routine, try it! Don’t just get up, go to work, and come home to each other. Go shopping together, or go for a walk when you get home. Even if the activity isn’t exciting, the fact that you’re doing something different – together! – will make a huge difference in the day and how you feel about each other.

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    11. Be social outside the relationship.

    Just like needing time and space to yourselves, make sure you keep up relationships with people other than your partner. You need to nurture friendships you had before you became part of a couple, and you shouldn’t turn away new friends you might encounter once you’re happily paired off. Having people outside the relationship helps keep you both grounded, gives you sounding boards, and gives you things to talk about besides your life together.

    12. Look your best.

    This sounds contrary, right? Being able to look like a slob is one of the best parts of being in a committed relationship. Knowing someone will love you even though you’re wearing sweatpants is one of the warmest feelings ever. And it can stay that way! But it’s equally important to take time to look good for your partner. Get dressed up for her, brush your hair, try a new cologne. Looking good doesn’t mean you’re trying to impress someone else, but it will show your partner that you appreciate her still, and don’t take her for granted.

    Featured photo credit: Marley Cook via flickr.com

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    Published on May 18, 2021

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

    We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

    The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

    Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

    Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

    There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

    Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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    Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

    We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

    Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

    A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

    The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

    Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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    Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

    Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

    Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

    While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

    Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

    These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

    Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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    Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

    Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

    Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

    Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

    Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

    Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

    As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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    This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

    Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

    Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

    These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

    Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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    Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

    More Tips Improving Listening Skills

    Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

    Reference

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