1. Be a value finder and not a fault finder.
Look for what your partner, family members or friends, are doing right, and tell them you appreciate them for it. Your mental health and your immune system will thank you for it!!
“That’s kind of you hanging out the washing-thank you”.
“I love the way you guys gave Dad a hug this morning”.
“I really enjoyed watching you play with the kids last night”.
Modern psychology focuses on the positives and what we can do to improve our behaviour, instead of getting stuck in negatives of the past.
When we reward positive results and behaviour, the brain puts its focus on that; not on the opposite.
Try saying this to someone, for example: “DON”T think of a fierce looking Grizzly Bear with green eyes and a purple tongue sticking out, doing the hokey pokey with a green mermaid”. Not possible, right? That what the brain does when we tell someone: “Don’t keep ignoring me”, for example.
Try rewarding positive behaviour. One of our grandchildren had a teacher who rewarded positive behaviour in her pupils. She did not waste energy on correcting negative behaviour and instead was a genius in bringing out the best in her pupils by rewarding the positive. She had a reputation amongst fellow teachers, as well as past and present pupils, as the most effective teacher ever. And the most loved!
Make a decision to remove criticism from the culture of your relationship.
That includes not criticising yourself and that is perhaps the toughest one of all for some of us. Criticism of self or others, sucks! It is destructive and it doesn’t even work.
2. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude.
Involve the whole family and do it together at the evening meal, for example. Or get yourself a note book and write down 10 things you are grateful for before you go to sleep every night. You may be surprised at how positively different you feel about yourself, the situation you are in, and about others.
“I’m so grateful I can see”
“I’m so grateful I can walk”
“I’m so grateful that we have foo.”
“The highpoint of my day was…”
“I’m so grateful that you are in my life”
“I’m so grateful that the Covid 19 curve is flattening”
“I’m so lucky that I have you as my partner”
“I’m so lucky knowing that you will really listen to me, no matter what”.
This simple exercise can help us ‘see differently’ through another set of eyes.
It can shift our focus and help us change our mind, so that we can change our life, literally- especially when we feel isolated and cut off from connection with others.
3. Tap into the Power of Love by letting go of fear.
When you feel frightened or anxious:
a) Take a breather-literally. With mouth closed, breathe in through the nose to the count of three, and out through the mouth for the count of five.
b) Connect to the fear. Feel it, acknowledge it. Then close your eyes. Imagine yourself outside a dark cloud with a beautiful warm and bright light in its centre.
Imagine yourself moving slowly through the dark cloud towards the bright light and then allowing it to fill and nourish you.
4. Forgiveness is the Key to Happiness.
At this unique time in our history, we are washing/sanitising hands and isolating ourselves from damaging virus contact.
Here in West Australia, we have seen the hard evidence. Our practical action with intelligence slows the spread rate, saves lives and makes a tangible difference to the health of loved ones and our communities.
How willing are we to do the same with the lethal virus of resentment and holding on to past grievances that we are carrying around in our brain and body?
I remember once meeting a peaceful and very much alive 75 year old woman, and asking what the secret of her happiness was. She replied:
“When I walked out of Auschwitz as a teenager when we were liberated, I decided that I was never going to spend another day of my life again in that terrible place where so many of my family were murdered. I hated and detested what those people did to my loved ones. But I forgave those murderers, in the name of my own freedom. In doing so, I was free. I have never looked back.”
“I’m sorry, can we start again?” can be a useful proven and effective thing to say to the other person, particularly when your unresolved conflict is still warm and the brain cells are still firing.
We are not condoning destructive behaviour, or pretending it does not distress us. Pushing away the pain has a habit of making it stronger and effecting us more deeply later on. We are simply acknowledging our resentment, connecting to it, feeling it, then letting it go.
Forgiveness can be compared to letting go of a huge helium filled balloon that wants to soar away into the skies. What we do not forgive, we are doomed to live.
Letting go of past hurts and resentments, is a great way of clearing out the junk within ourselves and in our relationships with others.
And making room for the love we all want. Once again, our mental health, our brain and our immune system, are the beneficiaries and will be forever grateful. This can be especially true when we are in isolation, living in each others’ pockets, amongst the stresses of this Covid 19 lockdown.
That does not mean we do not communicate what is distressing us. It is just that we use effective skill sets and strategies to do so. These skill sets, correctly used, actually leaves us feeling more empowered as well as connected to ourselves and partners.
This is true especially when we learn to share how we are feeling, without criticising. And especially when we have learned how to listen and feel emotionally safe enough to be listened to and heard.
5. Giving and Receiving are the Same.
What do you want most for yourself right now, or from a partner, child or loved one? It might be to feel respected, wanted, valued, listened to.
We might have a core need within that is not being met, like being supported by practical help with the kids, by being caringly held, by resolving conflict, addressing issues that we have swept under the carpet for too long, or spending meaningful time together.
It helps us when we give the very thing that we want most, as a gift to the other person, whether that is our partner or your teenager.
We need to make sure that we know what gift in particular our partner wants.
As well, this can all be a bit tricky. If we’re not careful, we can get caught in: “I did this for you, why aren’t you doing the same for me.”
The trick is: “I give this to you as a gift. I’m doing this for my own freedom. No strings attached. The benefit to me is that it frees me up. I feel happier and more connected to you. It really is a gift to myself.
6. Get Coaching.
What a difference a great coach can make. 18 months ago, tennis champion Ash Barty, was way down the list of the worlds most successful tennis players.
Her key to becoming the world number one, was getting a great coach. Not theory; not half baked ideas. But proven, evidence based and practical strategies/ skill sets, that are put into action again and again, until they become part of her, when she is under the pressure of being on centre court, or in our case, under present day Carona Virus isolation and the pressure of living with others.
Let us help you get what you want most and help you overcome any emotional challenges you may be experiencing in your life right now, or in the relationship and family you are in.
In this current climate, we would like you to know we are there for via Zoom and Skype or FaceTime.
There are generous GP referral or Health Insurance rebates available for both you and your partner, that can make it affordable for you in these challenging times.
Our Practice has arranged Zoom facilities commercially for us, so your connection is already established and easy to access. Olivia will simply and easily connect you to Zoom or Skype in plenty of time for your appointment.
Any assistance you may need in these challenging times, is literally only a phone call or email away.
We’d love to help.