Love coach: 6 Tips to end relationship conflicts
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- Fitness & Health
- Published on Sunday, 15 November 2020 11:20
- Last Updated on 17 November 2020
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In my previous article, we explored the causes of relationship conflicts and why regulation is the key to ending conflicts. If you did not read that go check it out before reading this article.
The essential tool to avoid conflict is learning to regulate our stress response.
Once that takes over, it’s a downhill path.
Once we go into our primal brain, it’s game over.
Our fight, flight, or freeze is an adrenalin response meant to give the muscles a burst of energy to tackle a threat.
Until you have given the adrenalin an outlet, your body will remain in a state of high alert and is more likely to continue to get triggered.
We learn to suppress our natural response because we can’t just hit someone or start running away whenever we get triggered.
But we can hit something or run somewhere. So, let’s get physical.
I will either go for a jog to release the adrenalin or punch my boxing bag.
If you don’t have one, a pillow will do.
The aim is to use as much of the adrenalin as possible through activity.
If your natural response is flight and to get away from a threat, then running might work better for you.
If a fight is your natural response, then boxing might work better. Be creative!
Running can be replaced by any physical activity you enjoy, but these two are our natural expression of the stress response.
I recently had a client in online marriage counseling, and every time he got upset with his wife, I would get him to stand up and move.
That allowed him to come back and to both hear and acknowledge his wife’s experience, and as you can imagine, that brought them closer.
If you are looking for marriage counseling near me then check this out.
Now that your body has moved and released the adrenalin, we can access other parts.
Breathing is a fantastic tool to calm your mind and nervous system down.
But it’s not practical if you are in high states of stress and triggered, so I always recommend physical exercise as the first port of call.
Our rate of breathing affects our nervous system, and either increases or decreases the stress response.
Fast and shallow breathing can increase your stress response, making it worse, while deep and slow breaths tell your body there’s no danger and will allow it to come
to a calm resting state.
You can sit or lie down and make yourself comfortable.
Count slowly to 4 as you breathe in and four as you breathe out.
Notice your sensation in your body.
How do your feet feel on the ground?
Are your muscles tense or relaxed?
Just sense your body and keep breathing deeply and slowly for 15 minutes.
Now, you have calmed down and can go back to your partner to resolve the attachment issues.
What your partner wants to know is, will you be there for them when they need you?
You can reassure them of how important they are to you; how much you care and that you want to know how you can be, therefore them.
In my relationship counseling, we focus on the five love languages to make your partner feel valued.
A simple exercise I do in my marriage therapy is eye contact.
Our eyes are one of life’s most fantastic mysteries.
Through our eyes, we let the world in.
Through our eyes, we search for each other; we see each other, we connect — or have the potential to connect — with our fellow humans.
We convey that we’re here, we’re interested, and we value the person we’re within this precious moment.
Healthy emotional attachment is nurtured through eye contact with an available and attentive parent; it helps infants grow and develop.
Although we’re wired with a longing to connect, we may not take full advantage of our eyes, which offers a remarkable capacity to connect us with others.
People often complain that their partner does not make enough eye contact, leaving them feeling lonely and disconnected.
We want to be understood, appreciated, and valued.
We want to be seen, but at the same time can fear being seen due to judgment or shame, and so we avoid eye contact and lose the connection.
Perhaps they’ll see our flaws, our unworthiness, our insecurities.
Part of being a socially accepted individual means our antennae are always silently probing for any hint of being shamed and criticised.
If we look away, we don’t have to bear the brunt of any possible negative perception.
We can spare ourselves the shame of being seen in a diminished way.
When you look into another’s eyes, do you notice yourself judging them or simply being with them?
Do you tend to put people in a box, or do you look at them with open curiosity, spaciousness, and contact availability?
Try staying relaxed with your breath and body, allowing your eyes to soften, being with them, and letting them in; we’ll notice how our presence will enable them to relax and move towards us.
The more we hold ourselves with gentleness and caring, the more we may find ourselves present through our gaze, especially with people we feel close to.
Eye contact and the connection it may bring can become a mindfulness practice.
If it feels right for you, perhaps notice how you feel extending your gaze with your partner.
Settling into more relaxed eye contact with a good friend might also bring greater fulfilment.
What is happening in your stomach or heart as you gaze into your partner’s eyes?
Do you experience delicious warmth or expansiveness or a fear of being seen or losing yourself?
Can you stay with your bodily felt experience rather than leap out of yourself as you sense a delightful or threatening feeling?
This doesn’t mean staring at people or making them feel uncomfortable.
There is a natural rhythm of looking at people and looking away.
When it feels right, perhaps we can hold our gaze a little longer, relishing a moment of human connection.
Life becomes more fulfilling as we become present to the rich connections that are freely available.
Dedicate 5 minutes just to sit or lay down with your partner and gaze into each other eyes. *
Try not to judge them but focus on compassion and see the world from their view.
Hear their story.
The solution is to focus on the attachment needs to create safety.
Hopefully, eye contact has made you feel closer, and that will make it easier to become more responsive to your partner’s needs.
When we are drained emotionally or triggered, we can’t be as responsive to our partner’s needs, so that’s why we start by establishing calmness and then some connection through eye contact.
By now, you will likely both be ready to listen to the other person’s needs.
We address how to discover and express your needs clearly in another section of this book.
Right now, it’s just essential you both take turns in expressing what you need.
Be careful not to fall into any blame traps and tell the other what they did wrong.
Focus on what you need, and as the listener, focus on hearing their needs too.
If you can’t give it to them for any reason, such as it violates your boundaries, your capacity, or any other reason, then remember you don’t have to fulfil every need.
It’s not your responsibility, but you do have to acknowledge every need and show acceptance and understanding so they feel heard and seen.
And when you can’t accommodate the need, sit with them in their disappointment and show understanding of how disappointed they feel.
Ensure them you will be here with them as they process the disappointment.
We will talk more about how to do this in the section on dealing with disappointment.
The first thing we experience as comfort as we come into this world is touch.
We are held close to the warm skin, and that is our first sense of safety.
Touch can resent our nervous system and release hormones such as oxytocin, referred to as the “bonding hormone.”
This causes the release of other feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin, and reduces stress hormones, such as cortisol and norepinephrine.
Touch is a great way to re-connect and regulate stress; however, if your partner sees you as the cause of their stress, then touch might not be beneficial to do at that moment. Wait until they have self-regulated with the tips above.
If your partner is stressed due to outside circumstances such as their boss, work, or friend, touch can help them calm down and restore a sense of safety and connection.
Both non-sexual touch and sex can have this effect.