How to practice empathy in relationships and at work: 6 ways

In the holiday season, and in general, it would be great to figure out how to see the world from another person’s perspective. This can help us become aware of the situations of others, which in turn can help us practice generosity. In situations with our families, romantic partners, or even work colleagues, how can we practice empathy?

How to Debate the Family Idiot — 11 Tips for Surviving Holiday Politics

We all experience a crushing dilemma: do I dare engage with an ideologically-blinded family member, or do I abstain? Save the world or save the meal? If disinterested, how do we forgo a political skirmish? If involved, how do we maintain our poise? And if cornered and depleted, how do we escape? These 11 tips can help...

The 4 worst relationship behaviors to avoid, based on science

Fighting with our loved ones can feel terrifying, and it’s easy – if we don’t know what we’re doing – to get trapped in bad habits that lead to the deterioration of our marriage or long-term relationship. Fortunately, as we discussed earlier, conflict is natural and to be expected. However, there are four behaviors to avoid when in conflict, according to the Gottmans’ copious research.

Stresses of parenting that everyone needs to know about

Welcome to Part 2 of our “book club” on Gottman and Gottman’s “And Baby Makes Three”. In Part 1, we introduced the book and the scope of the problem. In this installment, we share insights about the stresses of parenting that are common yet rarely talked about. You’re not alone – that’s the point of Chapter 1. Many couples feel alone in their parenting because gender roles and parenting values have shifted so much in the past twenty to thirty years that many young couples may feel they can’t look to their parents for advice.... And you may not have an older, wise person to call on for advice (like a mentor or friend from a church or other group). Add to this the tendency for men not to talk about their emotions (though this can affect men or women) and you’ve got a recipe for silence and pent-up tensions that lead to relationship problems getting worse rather than resolved.

Gratitude: A Practical Guide to Manning Up (Part 2 of 2)

Previously on gratitude, we discussed how to establish a gratitude buddy practice, backed by scientific research on the benefits of gratitude. Here we examine more strategies as well as results one may find by keeping such a practice. Again, these are observations from my own gratitude practice (with my friend Kyle) for both your edification and amusement.

Gratitude: A Practical Guide to Manning Up (Part 1)

"Chin up!" "Move on!" “Let it go!" Often when guys express a sense of loss or sadness, the response from friends and loved ones is frighteningly simplistic. We’re frequently advised to do something we’ve been told our entire lives on the football field or rugby pitch: "Suck it up!" As men, we're often expected to keep our emotions suppressed and carry the burdens of our daily lives in silence. Even more troubling, the idea of suppressing our grieving process and discounting our need to examine is often suggested by people whose opinions and advice we respect. It's not for lack of trying; our confidants and guides often want to see us restored to our former glory -- so not dignifying the complexities of our feelings seems a natural solution... For me, the path to happiness (or at least temporary sanity) comes from the concept of gratitude...

How to embrace anger and not repress it: insights from poetry

Do you handle your anger, or does it handle you? We need to skillfully deal with anger when it arises, lest it derail our better intentions and lead to hurtful words and actions to those around us. We get angry for legitimate reasons. A plan didn’t turn out as we’d hoped. We feel hurt by someone’s actions or words. But that doesn’t mean the best response is to lash out while we feel ablaze with fury. Doing so usually pushes people away – intimated or scared by our fiery side – or escalates a confrontation instead of allowing us to negotiate productively. How can we engage with anger, instead of treating it like a feared tornado that rages into our psyche without warning, razing our best-laid intentions?

9 strategies to counter anxiety with reflection and relaxation

In this article I wanted to share some ways that stress has manifested itself physiologically for me and some tools that you can use to become more aware of stress and its effects on your body. It’s important to accept the mind-body connection – the idea that your state of mind can affect how you feel physically, and vice versa. If your body is not relaxed, the same is likely for your mind. For several decades, clinical studies have shown that interventions like relaxation, visualization, and meditation can improve various physical conditions like healing after a heart attack or battling insomnia.

4 ways to practice understanding how you feel

Men often get criticized for not being in touch with their emotions. “Men live from the neck up,” the American poet Robert Bly said in Bill Moyer’s 1990 PBS series, “A Gathering of Men” (highly recommended; more on Bly and Moyers in a future post). Or perhaps: men live from the neck up and the waist down. For some reason all this reminds me of the bad guy, T-1000, in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991). Near the end of the film, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character shoots T-1000 in the belly with a shotgun and leaves a gaping, metal-rimmed hole. Being a man, it’s like that – life’s downers can rip gaping holes in our emotional cores, yet we hardly know the wounds exist. Let alone how to heal them. ...If you want to do some emotional weightlifting, there are two pieces: cultivating your awareness of feelings, and expanding your vocabulary. First you need to know how you feel. Then can you practice talking about it.

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