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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 December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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