Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Specializing in Health and Wellness located at 9 North Main Street, Suite 11 in Lombard Illinois 60148 recently shared in a Lombard Town Center Newsletter the following very helpful information.
Relationships are a crucial part of who we are and something that most people need in order to feel they’ve lived a fulfilled life. Although relationships are common, it doesn’t mean they are easy. Whether you are looking to strengthen romantic, friend, work, or family relationships, building and sustaining healthy, meaningful relationships require time, energy, and consistently practicing the following five habits:
- Listen. When your partner talks to you about their day, listen. When you are having an argument, listen. When your partner is struggling with a difficult decision, listen. (Shocking that a psychologist would value listening, huh?!) Listening involves putting aside your own thoughts and being fully present and available in the moment for them. Listen without the worry of what you are going to say next. There is power in listening and in being heard. If both of these things are practiced regularly you and your partner will experience a heightened sense of connectedness as well as improved communication. (Que next habit!)
- Communication. Learning healthy productive ways to communicate can be a relationship game changer. How you communicate can make the difference in whether your relationship will last or be one in the past. Healthy communication involves sharing what you love about your partner, but also bringing up things that are troubling you. Sweeping things under the rug, rather than discussing them openly and honestly, will undoubtedly build resentment and a faulty foundation.
- Gratitude. Want to be happier? Start practicing daily gratitude. Want to have a happier partner? Make sure the source of your gratitude involves them. We may think of how much we appreciate others, but we may not always voice that appreciation. Simple acts of gratitude and appreciation can go a long way. When your partner feels remembered, loved, and appreciated, they are happier and more motivated to keep the relationship strong and healthy.
- Choose Your Battles. No one is perfect, so that means no relationship is perfect.
It’s very easy to fall victim to only noticing the negatives in our partner, especially when other areas of our life become stressful (Politics anyone?). Our partner can very easily become the target of all that is going wrong in our life. Before lashing out, take a step back from the situation, assess if it’s a relationship battle worth fighting, or perhaps you might identify that you are hurting from something else in your day, rather than the fact they forgot to take the trash out (again).
- Maintain Your Own Identity. Quality time spent together is so important, but so is time spent apart. A loving relationship should be one in which you are encouraged and supported to be the very best self you can be, not one in which you lose yourself completely. Spend time either alone, with friends, or family without your partner. When you are reunited you’ll feel refreshed and recharged
and more appreciative of them.