Relationships

21-Days of Social Connection For Health, Happiness, & Longevity

Every day is a good day for building and strengthening relationships, and not just because it feels good but also because it is essential to good health. Can improving your social abilities really make you healthier and happier? Absolutely! Recent research backs it up! That’s why we’ve provided this free 21-Day Social Connections Calendar, to … Read more

7 Wholehearted Communication Strategies for Blissful Relationships

​Most people long to be engaged in whole-hearted relationships, especially during Valentines’ Day and other holidays. Unfortunately, many people experience loneliness even when they are in a relationship.   ​Loneliness in a relationship can be one of the loneliest places to be. Because you are in a relationship, you feel like you’re supposed to feel … Read more

Don’t Let Your Devices Become Divisive! – 5 Ways to Prioritize People above Technology!

Don’t Let Your Devices Become Divisive! – Prioritize People above Technology! Have you heard about the loneliness epidemic? It’s caused by social isolation. Why does this matter? Because, an 80-year Harvard study states that “loneliness kills.” Many people have heard about how babies in 3rd-world orphanages can die from “failure to thrive” or “lack of … Read more

6 Ways Sleep Affects Your Relationships

6 Ways Sleep Affects Your Relationships

6 Ways Sleep Affects Your Relationships

Did you know that a lack of sleep can affect your relationships? It’s true! According to the National Sleep Foundation, 7-9- hours is optimal for adults. Yet, 42% of Americans report getting less than 7 hours of sleep per night.

Since the 1940’s the average amount of sleep adult Americans get has decreased by more than an hour. Average sleeping hours have gone down and the divorce rate has gone up. You may or may not think that those two are related. Nevertheless, sleep does have an effect on your relationships. Here’s how:

  1. Lack of sleep and poor sleep can deplete your willpower and can decrease your self-management and emotional intelligence. This can exaggerate minor disagreements in your relationships and blow them way out of proportion. In a 14-day daily experience study, participants reported more conflict in their romantic relationships following poor nights of sleep. If you find that you’re experiencing more stress in your relationships, consider going to bed earlier.
  2. Lack of sleep can also adversely affect your relationships by decreasing your sense of humor. This may seem like a small thing; however, a good sense of humor has been shown to positively affect relationships. Humor is an effective stress buffer. It has also been shown to be a source of attraction, so if your tired and grumpy? You may not seem as attractive!
  3. Sleep affects your mood. People who are sleep deprived have reported feeling more easily irritated, more overly-sensitive, and more depressed.

When we were first married, we got a lot of good advice from family and friends. One piece of advice, however, actually proved detrimental.  And this advice was repeated to us by several people: Here it is: “Never go to bed angry.” Although it sounds good on the surface, we found that trying to stay up late to resolve an issue only increased the level of the conflict. The later it got, the more depleted our willpower. The more depleted our willpower, the more grumpy and stubborn each of us got.

Over the years we’ve discovered that when disagreements happen at night, it’s best to call a temporary truce, go to bed and then discuss the issue again in the morning, after each has had a good night’s sleep. In the morning, we’re usually able to have greater empathy and understanding and much more patience to assist us in resolving the issue. We could also see the humor in our depleted dialog and ridiculous reasoning from the night before. Our experience fits right in with recent research on conflict and relationships. Here’s a direct quote from the study:

“One partner’s poor sleep was associated with a lower ratio of positive to negative affect (observed and self-reported), as well as decreased empathic accuracy for both partners during a conflict conversation.”

Ok, that’s enough bad news. Here’s some good news facts on how getting enough sleep can benefit your relationships?

  1. The research we quoted earlier also shows that “conflict resolution is more likely to occur when both partners have had adequate sleep.”
  2. Studies also show that getting regular, adequate sleep each night, increases optimism. And couples who are more optimistic have a greater outlook on life and on their relationships.
  3. People also report experiencing greater levels of gratitude with an increase in proper sleep. Gratitude in relationships builds positive emotion which increases happiness and wellbeing.

So, there you have it. Based on the research, chances are if you improve your sleep habits, you’ll also improve your relationships! In other words, if your partner is weepy, he might just be sleepy! And if you find that you’re snapping, you may want to try napping! Thanks for joining us!

 

Healthy Relationships are Crucial to Wellbeing

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, “Healthy Relationships are Crucial to Wellbeing!” Studies show that “Healthy relationships enliven and heal!” AND that unhealthy relationships are actually as harmful to your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s why it’s crucial to place top priority on your relationships and learn solid strategies … Read more

Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown

To watch these videos and read the blog, click the photo & scroll down.
Did you know that GRATITUDE is the SECRET to ABUNDANCE?

Thanksgiving is about a week away, so, we thought it would be fun to do a short video everyday about the virtue of gratitude all of all its amazing benefits. We’re calling this video series:

“Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown”

T: Over the past 15 years, there has been tons of scientific research linking the practice of consistent gratitude with a host of positive outcomes for our lives. It turns out that gratitude inspires feelings of abundance and can lead to improved health, heightened happiness and overall wellbeing and life satisfaction.
Every day we’ll be sharing 1 video in our countdown to Thanksgiving. Each short video will include stories, statistics, and some science, plus engaging gratitude-building activities for you to do as an individual or with your family. We’ll also be asking you to share some of your gratitude practices and traditions so that we can all learn from each other.

Day #1

A Week of Gratitude – A Countdown to Thanksgiving

Activities for Day #1
“Pass the pumpkin” – With your family and/or friends, pass a small pumpkin around the dinner table as each person names something for which they’re thankful.
“Gratitude Journal” – Write 3 – 5 things you’re thankful for (in a journal, on your phone, or anywhere).
Research shows that expressing gratitude builds happiness, optimism, improved physical health, and stronger relationships. Expressing gratitude is most effective when it’s shared verbally or in writing (rather than just keeping all those thankful thoughts in your head).

Please watch this video (DAY 1) today, then join us tomorrow for DAY 2 (and on to day 7 which is Thanksgiving Day). Wishing you and yours a season of gratitude, abundance, fulfilling relationships and joy!

Day #2

Have you ever wondered how some people can seem to have a naturally optimistic attitude? They seem to go through life in a mindset of abundance and positivity, regardless of the challenges they may be facing. What is their secret? Watch DAY 2 to find out.

DAY 2 "Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown."

Day 2 Gratitude Building Activities:

First, Take a nature walk. As you walk, use all of your senses to mindfully savor the beauty all around you. This experience can enhance gratitude because it builds a sense of awe, as you come to recognize that you’re part of a grander whole. If you’re with a friend, your spouse, or a child, you can take turns naming your “gratitudes” as you walk.

Another idea is to make a cornucopia or a collage with pictures of all of the things for which you are grateful. Children especially love this activity.

Best of all, do what Dr. Georges and her son do. Find someone to serve. That way you can LIVE in thanksgiving, as you lift the burdens of someone in need.

If YOU want to live in abundance and become a “practiced optimist,” stick with us on this gratitude countdown!

Day #3

On Day 3 we talk about how gratitude can build resilience and inspire hope during times of adversity. We’ll also teach how to recognize and overcome roadblocks to gratitude, that can sometimes get people stuck. Finally, we’ll share activities that can help you leverage gratitude, to bring about growth during hard times.

DAY 3 "Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown."

Day 3 Gratitude Building Activities:

Gratitude Reframe: When facing a challenge, ask yourself, “Even though this is hard, what can I be grateful for in this situation?” OR “What strengths & resources do I already possess to help me rise to meet this challenge?”

Resilience Reflection: Write in your journal about a time when you faced a challenge. Then express your gratitude by making a list of what you learned & how you grew stronger because of it. You can help your kids do this too. Young kids can draw pictures (instead of writing).

 

Day #4

Research shows that EXERCISING GRATITUDE can bring you a host of upgrades in your physical health and overall wellbeing. After years and years of research, Dr. Robert Emmons concluded that “Gratitude is literally on of the few things that can measurable change people’s lives.”

DAY 4 "Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown."

So are you ready for an easy upgrade in your health? Here’s a game that will improve your health in 2 ways (exercising your muscles and exercising your gratitude)

Gratitude ball – (it can be ping-pong, four-square or basketball). It’s is an easy game where you receive the ball and then when you send the ball away, (whether tossing it, throwing it, or hitting it with the paddle), you say something you’re thankful for. Game changer rule: You can’t say the same thing twice and you can’t say something that someone else has said.

 

Day #5

Today we’re talking about Helping Kids develop Gratitude. How do we teach gratitude to children who live in a world of entitlement and abundance? Even parents who consider themselves in the lower income range tend to have far more money and luxury than they themselves had growing up. It’s normal for parents to want to give their kids a more abundant life, but how much is too much?

DAY 5 – "Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown"

Here are 4 ideas to help kids overcome entitlement by developing gratitude:

1. Don’t always give kids EVERYTHING they ask for.
2. Teach kids to work, earn, and save for the extra toys and gadgets they want.
3. Teach them to serve and to enjoy helping others in need.
4. Establish regular gratitude practices and routines (such as
gratitude journaling, writing “thank you” notes, etc.).
5. Give your favorite family games a “gratitude twist” to help
kids associate FUN with GRATITUDE!

Day #6

Research shows that gratitude deepens bonds and nurtures relationships. This is true in a marriage, a dating relationship, with your children, your extended family, and even co-worker connections. Everyone needs to feel appreciated. Studies show that the more appreciated someone feels in a relationship, the more committed they become to it and the more motivated they are to invest in and build it. When people feel appreciated they are more likely to continue thoughtful and generous behavior. You might call it a gratitude cycle and it begins with just one expression of gratitude.

DAY 6 – "Week of Gratitude – A Thanksgiving Countdown"

Gratitude activities to build and strengthen relationships:

1. Use specific,”others-centered” gratitude & process praise (publicly & privately).
2. Spend quality time with others and listen attentively to what they have to say.
3. Tangible “gratitudes” (flowers, chocolates, and “thank you” notes) are also nice.
4. Service is a great way to show gratitude. Doing what the other person
needs, in the moment, will be the most valuable.
5. Express gratitude to others for their support in your accomplishments & give
them credit for the part they played in your success.

Challenge: Express gratitude in 3 of the most significant relationships in your life and do it TODAY. You can choose an idea from the list we just gave you or make up your own way show gratitude. Whatever you do, make it meaningful and specific.

Day #7

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s the recap of a “A Week of Gratitude.”

Giving thanks is not just for Thanksgiving. It’s something we should do every day. In the words of William Arthur Ward, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” Wishing you and yours an abundance of thanks giving blessings AND Thanksgiving blessings!

Wishing you and yours a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Our Gift to you: As part of our Thanksgiving celebration, we want to share with you a special song of deepest gratitude: “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” ENJOY!

Come Thou Fount – Rick Starr

Relationship Tips From Couple Married 81 Years

It seems that everyone these days is looking for happiness. Yet many don’t know where to find it. A 78-year Harvard study shows that the #1 predictor of happiness in life is the quality of your relationships. It also shows that loneliness kills. With so many years of research pointing to quality relationships as the precursor to happiness, perhaps we need to take a longer and closer look at the lives of those who’ve found true happiness through long, fulfilling, relationships.

Dale and Alice Rockey were married 81 years. The video tells about their love story and their incredible marriage that spanned 8 decades. It’s interesting to note that the reporter in the video stated , “They leave behind no formula, no easy path for getting marriage right.” When I heard him say this, I wondered how he could’ve missed it. Their formula was played out on the video through their words, actions, and body language. Watch the video and see if you can find the 4 steps on the path of Marital Success which this sweet couple left behind.

A storybook romance's final chapter

Did you discover the Rockey’s 4 Steps to Marital Success? If not, watch it again. It’s a beautiful thing to see.

Here’s their formula – according to my observations:

  1. Sense of Humor and Playfulness. How many times did you count them laughing and joking with each other? Their playfulness was inspiring! It would seem that their longevity is partly due to their daily fun and laughter. Confirming perhaps that “Laughter is Still the Best Medicine. Research shows that “Humor is Healing” (not just for the body, but also for the mind, the soul and for relationships).
  2. United in their faith. The saying “Couples who pray together stay together” appears to be a valid statement when you consider the Rocky’s 81 marriage. Each of their 5 sons are also still very happily married (to their original spouses).
  3. Service and Kindness. You can see that performing daily acts of kindness was a way of life for the Rockeys. Did you notice Dale helping Alice with her chair?
  4. Affection and devotion. After 81 years, the Rockeys are still holding hands. It’s easy to see that they enjoy being together and that they truly are Best Friends Forever.

Did YOU observe any other steps in their formula for a successful marriage? We would all do well to follow the example of this most amazing couple! And if we do, perhaps one day we can echo their words:

DALE: “What a wonderful ride we’ve had!”

ALICE: “[81 years] It does sound like a long time.”

DALE: “Well, it has been! A GOOD long time!”

Final Message: RELATIONSHIPS! Invest your heart and soul in them! They are the source of happiness, the fountain of youth, and the much desired secret of THE GOOD LIFE!

For more relationship building articles, click here.

To help you build more POSITIVITY IN YOUR LIFE, check out our FREEBIE!

Embracing Your Innate Strengths

Hello, it’s Teresa here with some ideas that I hope will knock your socks off because today I’m talking to you about Shoes, (AND Strengths).

As I sat in my closet (actually it was my daughter’s closet – you can see her recently worn bridal gown bag hanging up behind me), I started thinking deeply about shoes and the various types we all wear. Some shoes work best for working and others are best for play. Somehow it got me thinking about the innate core strengths each of us brings into this world. So here are a few of my thoughts (or you can just watch the video below).

Embracing Your Innate Strengths

First off I picked up my “A to B shoes.” They’re my trail runners, my powerful – get the job done, climb that mountain shoes. The have extra tread and a curved toe that helps me push off and run fast – even in rugged terrain. These are my “power shoes.”

The shoes I wear most are my “connector shoes.” They are built to be comfortable & allow me to connect with others without worrying about my feet. They are very supportive. I can Work hard in these shoes to meet the needs of those I’m serving in my daily work as a teacher.

Then there are my “go out on the town and have a good time shoes.” These shoes are classy, flashy, fun & sassy! I would never wear these on a trail run – but then again would I wear my trail runners out for a classy night out on the town with my husband. These are my “FUN shoes!” My “let the good times roll shoes!”

Finally, there are my “peaceful shoes.” They are the next best thing to being barefoot shoes. They’re comfortable, relaxed, and very practical. My feet feel at peace in these shoes.

People are like shoes. We all have innate core strengths and we usually feel most purposeful in life when we share our gifts, talents and strengths with others. It’s important that we also appreciate and value the innate gifts and strengths of others.

Unlike shoes, people can develop strengths in other areas. Although I feel most comfortable in my “connector shoes,” I can choose to develop the character strengths found in my “A to B power shoes.” It’s also important that I allow myself opportunity to wear my “fun shoes” every once in awhile. This rejuvenates me and reminds me that life is to be enjoyed, not just endured. And then there are those times when I just need to take time to be at peace. I shouldn’t expect myself to be serving others ALL the time. Sometimes I just need to be still and be comfortable. And that’s when I slip on my “peace shoes.”

My message:
Embrace and value your core strengths, appreciate and value the strengths of others and be willing to increase your character by trying on a different kind of shoes, in other words be willing to have a growth mindset and strive to stretch yourself to develop strengths in other areas. That’s how your build CHARACTER.

In a nutshell, love your shoes, love others’ shoes and try on a new pair every now and then, just for the fun (and the growth) of it.

To find out more about YOUR innate core strengths, take the FREE Hartman Personality Profile Test, Click HERE.

To learn more about The Power of Strengths, Click HERE.