As a domestic violence educator, I am a relationship counselor and relationship educator by default.
Many of my clients whether male or female have grown up with some form of power and control beliefs, which can be demonstrated with violence to a mate, or a child, or an elder, a sibling, or even a pet.
My job is to get them to move towards a relationship of choice, where offering choice is the rule rather than the exception.
I like to describe this as operating from the heart's intelligence, because heart intelligence is affiliative and cooperative. Not passive, not aggressive, but affiliative and cooperative.
A quick and easy way to train affiliative and cooperative hearts is to teach both members of the couple to do Heartmath or heart rate variability biofeedback. More on that later.
I use the tools from John Gottman,Ph.D., and his wife, Julie Gottman, LCSW, when I put on my relationship counselor/trainer hat.
The Gottman tools are very easy for my clients to grasp, since they are video tools, and involve pencil and paper exercises, and discussion.
When I had couples do the exercises together, it never failed that they would calm down and begin to remember some positive fun times, even though there were still many gridlocked issues to move to perpetual dialogue.
Here is a quick video of the John Gottman, Ph.D., talking about his relationship counselor ideas.
How to Nurture Positive Emotions
The Gottman's provide an interesting tool for the anger management component of their workshop.
They go into a some detail talking about what they call Diffuse Physiological Arousal (PDA), which most of us have grown up calling fight or flight.
In their explanation, the Gottman's talk about the difference between men and women's responses to PDA.
Men need as much as 20 minutes to calm down when PDA strikes them, and that calming down is important to pay attention to. Men should not do the calming down haphazardly.
The Gottman's suggest that you take your pulse, and if it is over 100 beats per minute, then dedicate the next 20 minutes to calming down.
Their are many great ways to calm down, breathing and cognitive behavioral therapy being too.
Another is to use the Heartmath tool I spoke about above. Here is another quick video about Heartmath and heart intelligence.
I trained several couples to do Heartmath individually and then brought them together to do Heartmath together. I would ask them to achieve coherence individually and then together, and to pay attention to what they were thinking and feeling when they moved out of coherence.
Couples learn to pay attention to their physiology as frequently as heart beat by heart beat.
All the participants had an experience of how fast their thoughts change their physiology. One partner's physiology can be incoherent, when the other is coherent.
Getting the Heartmath experience learned is a real feel good experience.
If I am feeling good, it is much easier for me to keep myself operating from my affiliative and cooperative heart intelligence rather than my power and control memories.
Not only does Heartmath make my relationships much calmer, it opens the higher perceptual centers in my brain.
When I am physically calm, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, the higher perceptual centers in my brain are more active and available.
When I am stressed as in PDA, I am very narrowly focused, and the higher perceptual centers of my brain have been taken over by the limbic system.
If you have been reading anything at all in the last year about the brain fitness craze, then you know that we can enhance neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in our brains, which no one knew we could do until about ten years ago, by attending to the pillars of brain fitness which are physical exercise, nutrition, stress management, and sleep.
Heartmath is the number one stress management tool in the marketplace according to Alvaro Fernandez of Sharp Brain.
So one tool works for your emotional intelligence, enhances your relationship skills, and opens up your higher perceptual centers for increased IQ?
Yes, and there is some research to prove it. If you want to try some very effective brain fitness tools, try the following.
Would You Share What You Are Most Grateful For?
Very early in my personal growth experience, a wise person taught me to use the phrase "gratitude is the attitude" when I was resentful or afraid and that phrase has helped me feel better tens of thousands of times.
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