Successful Relationship



I like to think of successful relationship as being built thought by thought, heart beat by heart beat.

Back in the early days of my personal addictions experience, and I do mean early, when the outcome was far from assured, for even a day at a time, I heard some wise person say that thinking about what you had to be grateful for was a good habit to cultivate, and so I did.

I got it that when I felt resentful or afraid that I should switch my thought to something I was grateful for, and very quickly I felt better, much better.

The problem was that 'feel good' feeling did not last long.

For awhile I thought I was destined to only very brief moments of the feel good chemistry in my body, until I got it that my feelings are linked to my thoughts and that if I regularly repeat gratitude thoughts I have longer and longer periods of feeling good. (This was long before I had ever heard of REBT or CBT, which perhaps was just an inkling in Aaron Beck's mind).

I believe that successful relationship is built the same way. Successful relationship is a function of short bursts of thinking and feeling and regular practice of those thoughts which leave you feeling good about your relationship(s). (Gratitude is the Attitude).

How short a burst are you talking about?

Heart beat by heart beat.

(You can get more precise and use EEG biofeedback, which works in cycles per second).

After all, if your heart stops, do you need to worry about relationship.

Can we break our awareness of our thoughts down to heart beat by heart beat?

Yes we can, using a wonderful biofeedback tool called Heartmath.

But before we talk about Heartmath, I want to mention that many relationship experts talk about relationship as a function of doing exercises which build intimacy.

In particular, Robert Epstein,Ph.D., has written recently about how couples in arranged marriages in India succeed in staying together for a life time and growing in happiness even though they may have met once prior to their wedding.

John Gottman,Ph.D., has studied couples for 30 years and put together a workshop that couples can do together to learn the skills that the couples that Gottman calls the Masters of Marriage do naturally.

And Helen Fisher,Ph.D., has done wonders describing the process of romantic love, how it works, and why it works.

But none of them talk about how fast this wonderful brain of ours works to change the chemistry in my body.

Paul Ekman,Ph.D., another wonderful researcher, has been studying facial expressions for 30 years, and has discovered that some of what we humans do with our expressions is cross cultural. For example, all of us humans respond to a look of contempt in about 1/25th second. That is about 2 and 1/2 times faster than I can blink my eyes, and I am going to argue that for successful relationship to happen, I need to manage my thinking as quickly or as close to that quickly in order to give myself a choice.

Most often, I am going to feel the deepest hurt when my mate looks at me contemptuously, and if I am not careful, I will respond with anger, which covers the primary emotion of hurt, faster than I can create a question asking about her feelings right now.

In that 1/25th second, my physiology has created a response which impacts the success of my relationship.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a tool to use to get back to my heart's affiliative and cooperative intelligence in a heart beat?

After all, just because my mate is contemptuous of some choice of mine doesn't mean I need to respond without thinking, does it?

Successful Relationship by Heartmath

About ten years ago, I ran across mention of the Heartmath tool in an EEG biofeedback list serve, and decided to try it out.

Heartmath, or heart rate variability biofeedback, is a tool that grew out of the discoveries in a new field of scientific inquiry called neurocardiology, which is the study of the heart's own nervous system.

Your heart has a lot of neurons in it, as does your gut, enough neurons that the heart can learn and make decisions on its own.

The heart regulates its own beat and sends a great deal of data up about emotions, and that heart intelligence, when I activate it, is cooperative and affiliative.

In other words, I can establish a cooperative and affiliative (like gratitude) physiology heart beat by heart beat.

This physiology is not contingent on anything other than my thoughts and feelings, and it feels good, and I can cue it regularly, and keep it for long periods of time.

Sounds like the perfect physiology for successful relationship doesn't it?

Of course, my anger management clients and domestic violence clients will argue that both people need to learn it, and I say that is very doable.

Imagine this. Each partner learns individually how to do Heartmath, then I bring them together, hook them up to tandem computers, ask them to get coherent, and then hold hands.

What emerges is a heart beat of the relationship, and both partners get it that they impact this heart beat, a living, breathing heart beat, by each thought they have.

They can keep the relationship heart beat coherent by attending to it in brief, regular bursts of attention, perhaps every five minutes for two heart beats.

I can do that without missing a keystroke on my computer.

By the way, this kind of work does not mean that there won't be issues to address and settlements to negotiate around sex, vacations, savings, parenting, ect.

What it does mean is that both members of the relationship can argue their values and ideas from a physiology of cooperation and affiliation.

If you click on the Heartmath link below, you can go to their store and check out the video tutorials. Good luck, and if you are really wondering, dark chocolate has a molecule in it that prepares your brain to expect something exciting to happen.

HeartMath LLC

Helen Fisher,Ph.D. says that we have the best chance for successful relationship if we find a compatible personality type to have chemistry with. That means dopamine chemistry, which keeps you awake and talking about everything under the sun for months even years, writing bad poetry, long walks in the rain, holding hands, and no one exists but her or him. To find your matches, and a lot of them, click below.

3 Months for the Price of 1

Can a Couple's Workout Increase Your Chances for Success?

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.

Would you share your favorite gratitude story by clicking here? Your story may be just what another person needs to renew themselves.

Your story becomes part of this website (which shows the site's most recent pages) and a permanent part of Ask Mike the Counselor2 for others to read!

And I'll tweet your Web page at my Twitter account, too!

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