The Best Ways to Keep Your Relationships Healthy
Just as a good actor can play different parts, we also assume various roles in our everyday lives. But there’s a vast difference between the roles actors play and the ones we play. When an actor takes on a role, it’s a conscious and deliberate choice. The roles we play are less conscious and are often outside our awareness. As you go about your daily routine, think of yourself as an actor and try to become more mindful of the different roles you play.
Everyone’s an Actor
Most of us play different roles at different times, with different people. Being aware of what makes you act, or react, in certain situations can benefit every relationship in your life. We’re all capable of shifting between submissive and dominant roles depending on who we’re with at the time.
Imagine a barbell shape – two circles connected by a line. The two circles represent you and another person. The connecting line represents your relationship.
If the barbell is horizontal, the relationship is a safe one. There is openness and honesty. Both individuals accept the other for who they are. This is the sign of a growing and developing relationship. Neither party dominates; there’s a safe equality.
A vertical barbell represents a hierarchical relationship, one in which there’s a real or imagined power imbalance. One party is above the other and dominates the relationship. Think in terms of top and bottom. The top represents winning, dominating, and controlling; the bottom is losing, dominated, and controlled. Each role defines the other.
It’s difficult to break out of an adversarial pattern, which is often brought on by miscommunication and disagreements. In a vertical relationship, there’s a tendency for individuals to think in black and white terms. We regress to a more primitive, fight-or-flight limbic system way of functioning – aggression, struggle, lying, self-protection.
What’s the Limbic System?
The limbic system, also called the emotional brain, lies near the center of the brain. Considering its size – about that of a walnut – it’s packed with functions critical for human behavior and survival. The limbic system stores highly charged emotional memories and affects sleep, appetite, mood, and bonding. When the limbic system is less active there’s generally a positive, more hopeful state of mind. When it’s overactive, negativity can take control.
It’s been shown that enhancing emotional bonds between people will help heal the limbic system. How you relate to other people can either help or hurt your limbic system. The better you get along with those around you, the better you will feel.
Here are 3 helpful tips for how to keep your relationships safe, healthy and enjoyable:
Focus on the Positive
It’s easy to notice what you don’t like in a relationship, but when you spend more time appreciating what’s working well, you’ll be more likely to see an increase in positive behavior.
Listen Before You Speak
Instead of trying to convince the other person that your viewpoint is correct, attempt to see things from their perspective. The main objective isn’t to win the argument but to remove potential threats, address concerns and find common ground with the other person. Building a bridge is the best way to avert a quarrel before it even starts.
Deal with Difficult Issues
Whenever you concede a point just to avoid a fight, you give away a little bit of your power. Over time, this loss of control will make you resent the other person. Avoiding conflict in the short run often has devastating long-term effects. In a firm but kind way, stick up for what you think is right. This will help keep the relationship balanced.
The brain influences every part of our relationships. Healthy brain function is associated with better quality relationships, while poor brain function is linked to escalating tensions and relational conflict.
Brain SPECT imaging helps people understand the underlying psychological or medical reasons for their relationship problems by:
• Demonstrating that symptoms and behaviors are not imaginary, thereby reducing emotional pain and stigma
• Gaining a better understanding of what is actually going on inside the brain
• Helping to target treatment specifically to the area of the brain that is struggling
Our Full Evaluation of your biological/psychological/social/spiritual history, coupled with two brain SPECT imaging scans (in concentrating and resting states), cognitive testing, and clinical assessment is designed to address unique needs and offer targeted treatment options.
At Amen Clinics, we’re committed to restoring and healing relationships. If you or someone you know is dealing with a troubled relationship, call us at 888-288-9834 or visit us online to schedule an appointment today.