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How to Prevent Arguments & Feel More Connected with Your Partner

How to Prevent Arguments & Feel More Connected with Your Partner

The New Science is Here

The New Science of Relationship helps us understand how to prevent arguments and stay connected. One of the most powerful ways to do that is through an exercise developed by Dr. Stan Tatkin: “The Welcome Home Exercise.” With the Welcome Home Exercise, you sync up nervous systems with your partner in order to build a connection at the deeper, unconscious level. Without words, the welcome home exercise gives you both a sense of being tethered and relaxing into each other. That can prevent arguments before they even happen and provide a deep sense of connection.

Most of Our Partner Interaction is Unconscious

The welcome home exercise works on a simple premise. Most what our brain is processing during partner interactions is unconscious (as much as 90%!). Much of that is happening in the simple, more primitive part of the brain that determines safety and threat. The fight or flight system, if you will. When our partner is that close, the brain makes a calculation that they must be safe to us, otherwise they would be eating us like a tiger. Unless your partner is actually eating you like a tiger, then that assumption of safety relaxes the fight or flight system.

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Sync up For The Win!

The exercise also relies on another important premise. Our guts have more neurons than the spinal cord. When we hug belly to belly, these neurons start to sync up with each other, literally getting on the same wavelength. When partners take the time to relax into each other, the syncing up generates a real sense of being in harmony with one another. This foundational sense of connection telegraphs safety to the thinking brain, which helps it stay out of trouble.

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Welcome Home

    How to do it

    So, in order to do the welcome home exercise properly, these are the important components:

    • Hug belly to belly before words are exchanged
    • Hold the hug until both partners relax
    • Do not let others (dogs or kids) interfere with the process

    Basically, you need to take the time to feel your partner relax. You’re waiting for a sigh, or a drop of tension in their muscles. Prioritize each other and the reunion before you turn to others. And wait to talk until the ‘syncing’ has happened. At that point, it can be nice to make eye contact and ask about your partner’s day, etc., or greet the kids. The unconscious brain is already feeling safer and more connected.

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    Using Physiology Masterfully

    The welcome home exercise is just one example of how to use the power of brain science to make life with your partner easier. These are true life hacks. Once you understand how to speak directly to the more primitive part of the brain, you can get important things done quickly, like soothing your partner, helping them feel loved, and keeping a sense of connection between you.

    The Transition To Together

    You can use this welcome home exercise anytime you need it, and anytime you’ve been apart. For example, if you have been in separate rooms of the house for a couple of hours, do the Welcome Home before you start interacting together in the same room again. It will connect you more quickly and at a deeper level than talking at the usual distance can.

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    Few people know that when we are by ourselves, even for an hour, our nervous system syncs to itself and we become accustomed to our individual state of being. This can make it difficult to jump smoothly into another person’s space. Transitioning the nervous system to interacting with another person takes longer for some folks than for others, but we all need some sort of transition. The welcome home exercise is one of the most effective ways to bridge that gap quickly and avoid arguments before the thinking brain comes up with them. Have fun with it!

     

     

    Featured photo credit: ostill / 123RF Stock Photo via 123rf.com

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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