Saturday, July 15, 2017

Being Close With Your Grandparents Means You’ll Have A Healthier Life

Grandmas and Grandpas everywhere, rejoice!

You now how another reason to spoil your grandkids, and it’s actually been recommended by scientists!

A new study out of Boston College looked at the relationship between a close relationship with your grandparents and your overall mental health, and what they found is pretty concrete.

“We found that an emotionally close grandparent-adult grandchild relationship was associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations,” said Sara M. Moorman, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and the Institute on Aging at Boston College. “The greater emotional support grandparents and adult grandchildren received from one another, the better their psychological health.”

It also benefits the grandparents as well! The study found that grandparents who gave (and received) tangible support like rides to the store, help with chores, or money when things get tight, experienced fewer symptoms of depression over time.

“Grandparents have a wealth of experience — they’ll often tell stories about their lives and how things worked when they were young, and once kids become adults, they’re able to maximize those lessons,” said Moorman.

But Shalhevet Attar-Schwartz, the author of a similar study in Israel, also points out that it’s largely up to the parents to help bridge that relationship between their kids and their parents.

“Parents should be aware of their role as gatekeepers in the relationship between their children and their parents,” Attar-Schwartz said. “They should also be aware of grandparents’ potential to be an important resource in their children’s lives, especially if the family is undergoing a change, such as divorce or remarriage, or if the child is undergoing a painful or challenging experience… Sometimes children feel that it is easier to open up to their grandparents and share their difficulties and dilemmas with them.”

So now that you know your presence as grandparents is beneficial for their health, there’s never an excuse for your kids to not visit with their little ones!

This is why you need to stop eating tilapia ASAP

Eating seafood is a great way to get vital nutrients and vitamins. Tilapia is the most popular farmed fish in America because of its affordability. But health experts are warning consumers to stay as far away as possible from Tilapia.

Tilapia Contains Few Nutrients: Researchers from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine released a report on the omega-3 fatty acid content in popular fish. Tilapia scored far lower than most other fish on the list. Omega-3 fatty acids give fish most of their benefits, including Alzheimer’s risk reduction. Tilapia contains a TON of omega-6 fatty acids, which are terrible for you. The quantity of omega-6 in tilapia is higher than a hamburger or bacon.

Tilapia Could Cause Alzheimer’s: One of the omega-6 fatty acids in tilapia goes by the name of arachidonic acid – a compound which significantly increases the type of inflammatory damage that precedes Alzheimer’s. So while eating healthy fish like mackerel, halibut and sardines would reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s, this fish actually increases it.

Most Tilapia Is Farmed: Tilapia is the second most commonly farmed fish in the world. This is largely due to the fish’s hardiness; it can eat just about anything. Good for farmers, bad for consumers. It means they don’t have to spend lots of money on fish food as they would were they raising salmon. Farmers commonly feed the fish chicken and pig poop. The fish are also stuffed with antibiotics and genetically modified to grow faster.

Tilapia May Cause Cancer: Tilapia can carry up to 10 times the amount of carcinogens as other fish. This is because of the food the farmers feed the fish – poop, pesticides and industrial-grade chemicals. One toxic chemical researchers have found in the fish is dioxin, which is linked to the development and progression of cancer.

What’s more, your body doesn’t actually flush out dioxin for a whopping 7-11 years. Make sure the SHARE this your friends on Facebook that eat tilapia!

Inspirational Quote – July 15, 2017

“It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

We can be extremely talented and skilled at what we choose to do in life and may even be respected and admired because of it! However, rightly or wrongly, other people judge us by the company we keep, the words we utter, and how we conduct ourselves in private and in public. They do this for the simple reason that these tend to truly reflect the choices WE make and, in turn, show us for who we really are. Therefore, wouldn’t it be to our advantage to put thought and care into these choices? I know I do.

Awakening Compassion at Work

In their new book, 'Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power that Elevates People and Organizations,' Drs. Jane Dutton and Monica Worline discuss the theme of compassion, how employees and organizations can utilize it, and why it's valuable. It is important to recognize that western society often encourages a fear of compassion, particularly fear of being seen as weak or being taken advantage of. However, practicing compassion benefits an organization by boosting morale, increasing efficiency, and creating employee and client loyalty, thereby helping with retention and reduced turnover. Companies and their employees can practice competent compassion by recognizing and acknowledging the suffering of others, and responding in a way that allows the employees to determine what level of response best suits them.

Friday, July 14, 2017

What Happens When You Break a Bone

What Causes Bones to Break?

From the crunch of a sports injury to an accidental fall, people break bones in all kinds of ways -- usually from some sort of impact. Bones are strong and even have some give to them, but they have their limits, too. They can even bleed after a serious break. Diseases like cancer and osteoporosis can also lead to breaks because they make your bones weaker and more fragile.

What Kind of Break?

Doctors talk about broken bones, also called fractures, with a few basic terms:

o Open or closed? Closed, or simple, fractures don’t break through the skin. Open, or compound, ones do.
o Partial or complete? Partial breaks don’t go all the way through the bone. Complete breaks mean the bone is in two or more pieces.
o Displaced or non-displaced? If the broken pieces still line up, it’s a non-displaced break. If they don’t, it’s displaced.

Types of Fractures

Common types of breaks include:

o Transverse: breaks straight across the bone
o Stress fracture: a very thin crack, also called a hairline fracture Oblique: breaks at an angle
o Greenstick: breaks on one side, but bends on the other--like a fresh stick from a tree
o Comminuted: bone breaks into three or more pieces

Other types include compression fractures, which often happen in the spine, spiral fractures, and avulsion fractures, when a tendon or ligament pulls off a piece of bone.

What It Feels Like: Pain

Sometimes, kids get small fractures and don’t even know it. Other times, your body may be in shock so you don’t feel anything at all--at first. But usually a broken bone means a deep, intense ache. And depending on the break, you may feel sharp pain, too.

What It Feels Like: Other Symptoms

Aside from pain, your body sets off all kinds of alarms to tell you something’s really wrong. You might feel chilly, dizzy, or woozy. You might even pass out. Around the break itself, you might notice:

o Bruising
o Stiffness
o Swelling
o Warmth
o Weakness

You may also have trouble using that body part or see that the bone doesn’t look right -- like it’s bent at an odd angle.

Bone Repair: Step 1

Bone repair begins within just a few hours of the injury. You get a healthy swelling around the break as a blood clot starts to form. Your immune system sends in cells that act like trash collectors -- they get rid of small bone pieces and kill any germs. Also, you grow blood vessels into the area to help the healing process. This step may last a week or two.

Bone Repair: Step 2

Over the next 4-21 days, you get a soft callus around the broken bone. This is when a substance called collagen moves in and slowly replaces the blood clot. The callus is stiffer than a clot, but not as strong as bone. That’s part of the reason you get a cast -- it holds the healing bone in place. If it moved, the soft callus could break and set back your recovery.

Bone Repair: Step 3

About 2 weeks after the break, cells called osteoblasts move in and get to work. They form new bone, adding minerals to the mix to make the bone hard and strong as it bridges the broken pieces. This stage is called the hard callus. It usually ends 6-12 weeks after the break.

Bone Repair: Step 4

Now you’re in the homestretch: bone remodeling. Here, cells called osteoclasts do some fine-tuning. They break down any extra bone that formed during healing so your bones get back to their regular shape. When you reach this stage, returning to your normal activities actually helps you heal. This step may continue long after you feel better, sometimes lasting up to 9 years.

Treatment for Basic Breaks

Treatment for any break comes down to three basic steps:

o Get the bone lined up in the right place.
o Keep it from moving until it’s healed.
o Manage the pain.
For a basic break, your doctor may have to set the bone back in place. Then, you’ll probably get a splint, brace, or cast to support your bone and keep you from moving it. Your doctor may also give you medicine for the pain.

Treatment for Complex Breaks

For more severe breaks, you may need surgery. Doctors might put in screws, pins, rods, or plates to hold bones in place so they can heal correctly. Those parts may stay in place after you’ve healed, or in some cases, your doctor will take them out.

In rare cases, you may need traction, a system of pulleys and weights around your hospital bed that hold your bones in the right position.

Recovery: Weeks 1-2

An average recovery takes 6-8 weeks but can vary based on the bone, type of break, your age, and your overall health. During the first couple of weeks, you’ll need patience and good old-fashioned self-care. This is where you set the stage for healing. Follow your doctor’s instructions closely and:

o Don’t smoke.
o Do any exercises your doctor recommends.
o Eat a healthy diet.
o Rest the broken bone as much as possible.

Recovery: Weeks 3-5

Your cast is critical for healing, but after just a few weeks without movement, your muscles start to get weak and stiff. This is often the time when you start some very basic exercises or early physical therapy. It helps ease stiffness, build muscle, and break down scar tissue. You also get your head around moving this part of your body that’s been in pain for a while.

Recovery: Weeks 6-8

This is often when the cast comes off. Your skin and hair have been in the dark under there and your muscles will be weak, so you may notice:

o Body hair that’s darker than usual
o Skin that’s pale or flaky
o The body part you broke looks smaller -- it has less muscle

You’ll get back to normal with time, and you may need more physical therapy. As you start your regular activities, check with your doctor to see if you have any limits on what you can do.

When to Call Your Doctor

As you heal, keep any eye out for signs of any problems. Call your doctor if you notice problems like:

o Bluish color to your skin
o Can’t move your fingers or toes
o Pain doesn’t get better
o Problems with your cast, like it cracks or feels too tight or too loose
o Signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge that smells bad
o Tingling, numbness, pins and needles, or other odd feelings

Inspirational Quote – July 14, 2017

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? We all have a past, and many of us have a past that perhaps contains memories of things we’ve done or had done to us that we’d rather not be reminded of. We are also ignorant of what the future holds for each and every one of us, but we all contain hope that it will be contain happiness, prosperity, love etc. However, the one thing that is constant in all of this is US! We are the “ship” that is sailing the sea of life. We are the vessel continually taking aboard what we pick up on our voyage. Hopefully, we realize and learn as we journey what’s good for us and also what’s not so good for us. However, the main lesson to learn here is that WE ourselves carry our past with us and will also absorb the future as we experience it so live in the moment and just BE!

Beyond Grit: The Science of Creativity, Purpose and Motivation

How are world-class geniuses different from other people? It may have less to do with genetics and more to do with the journey from interest to purpose to hope. Angela Duckworth is a psychologist, founder of the non-profit 'Character Lab', and bestselling author of 'Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. She examines how successful and happy people delve into their passions as a process of discovery, and how their acceptance of feedback fuels their motivations. Read her full interview with Adam Grant as they discuss misconceptions of what perseverance really means, the science behind motivation and the tension between creativity and grit.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Eight Steps to a Happier Vacation

Traveling can be stressful. Can the science of happiness help?

Last year I took a trip to Taos, New Mexico—a place I’d heard so much about and had always wanted to see. But, after passing by one extraordinarily beautiful vista after another en route, and racing through all of the major tourist sites in just one day, I realized that the experience left me feeling flat.
Yeah, Taos is a marvel. But I’d missed something important: happiness.
How many of you spend a lot of time planning your wonderful summer vacation only to feel let down by it? Given how little vacation time many people have these days and how much money it can cost to travel, this is disconcerting, to say the least.
Here’s where the science of happiness can help out. After having my own travel letdowns, I decided it was time to put my knowledge of happiness research to work, to get the most out of my vacations. In my recent book, The Happy Traveler, I outline the science that shows why we sometimes miscalculate what kind of vacation we’ll enjoy most and end up missing out on what vacations have to offer in the moment.
Many of us plan our vacations months or even years in advance. That means we need to predict what kind of vacation we’ll want in the future. Unfortunately, we are often bad at forecasting happiness; so, we need to find other tactics for making decisions around travel. Here are some of the ones I use, based on research, to help me plan and enjoy my vacations better.

Get advice from those who’ve gone before you

Of course, travel guides can be tremendous resources when you are planning a trip. But a simple, counterintuitive way to forecast how much we’ll enjoy being in a particular place is to ask others about their experiences in the same place at the same time of year. Believe it or not, this is usually a better idea than simply trying to imagine yourself how you’ll feel in a situation you’re not familiar with. In other words, you’re leveraging the power of social connection—one of the biggest predictors of subjective well-being.

Mix up destinations and experiences so you don’t adapt

On a vacation, it’s good to linger and to relax—but not too much. Happiness researchers know that we humans will adapt to even the most amazing, unusual experiences—something called hedonic adaptation. So, for example, if a beautiful Hawaiian sunset is initially amazing, the tenth or eleventh fantastic sunset will not affect you nearly as much. You may even stop noticing it. That means it makes sense to move around and mix up our experiences, to help prevent hedonic adaptation. If we don’t, we may spend two of our three weeks on Maui pining for something different or even wishing we were back at home.

Minimize your choices

If you’re a maximizer like me, you may be worried about making the most of your experiences while also having strong fears of missing out, both of which can lead to unhappiness. That’s why it might help maximizers to limit their vacation choices so that making decisions becomes less fraught. Going to a small town with few options might be better than going to a big city with lots. You can also use the strategy of imagining a typical day on whatever trip you plan and writing down the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of that. By taking a more realistic view of what travel might look like—including long layovers, boring boat rides, and long waits in line to see the Mona Lisa—the choice of whether or not to reexamine your trip goals may become clearer.

Consider your own personality when making choices

To help us choose the right vacation for ourselves, we can also take a good look at our personalities. Are you more extraverted or introverted? Do you like novelty and adventure or comfort and stability? These factors can help you decide whether or not you might want a beach vacation in Cancun—where relaxation and socializing are primary—or a solo hike in the Alps—where adventure and isolation are key. However, we shouldn’t neglect the importance of challenge, meaning getting a little out of our comfort zone. Research has shown that travel can really be transformative, if we have the right level of challenge as part of the experience.

Don’t let cost concerns ruin your vacation

Spending money can be stressful, and there’s no getting around that traveling can be expensive. But a few simple rules will help you get the most pleasure for your buck. Since worrying about expenses is a real drag on happiness, it makes sense to consider buying prepaid vacation plans, where costs are up front and you don’t have to worry about nickel and diming your way through your vacation. Also, it’s a good idea to leave your most luxurious splurge to the end of your trip. Studies find that people tend to evaluate past vacations based on how they ended rather than their overall experience.

Plan for some uncertainty and doses of awe and flow

Many of us enjoy the anticipation of a trip almost as much as the trip itself. But, to keep things fresh, it’s good to leave some uncertainty in your plans. Though you may think a spa vacation is what you really need, it’s usually best to mix it up with some exploration of new things and a little bit of challenge. When we put ourselves in the presence of something vast and inspiring, we are bound to experience awe—an emotion that makes us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. Also, there is almost no more pleasurable experience than flow—or losing track of time because we are so engaged in a task. Adding doses of these into our vacations will help to increase our happiness and make our trips more memorable.

Choose immersion and connection in your travel

Some of us may play with bucket lists—places we want to see before we die. But, simply checking off destinations as we pass through them is not a way to increase happiness through travel. It is often more satisfying to aim for immersive experiences—even short ones—like avoiding restaurants catering to tourists or luxury chain hotels. Research suggests that people often underestimate how much enjoyment they will get talking to strangers.  In fact, when we make the effort to step away from the familiar to meet other people and experience their cultures, it can deepen our appreciation of the places we see. Though an introvert myself—and therefore less comfortable talking to strangers—I’ve found that the effort to meet others in a country pays off many times over.

Take time to savor your experience

This essay is adapted from <a href=“”>The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations</a> (Oxford University Press, 2017, 304 pages)This essay is adapted from The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations (Oxford University Press, 2017, 304 pages)
Being mindfully present for any experience can heighten our sense of enjoyment when we are traveling. However, too many of us lose our connection to our experiences because we worry about what’s happening at home or spend too much time “sharing” our adventures with friends via social media. It’s a good idea to put your phone away for large parts of your trip and just be present. Research suggests that, even though many of us may post photos of our trips hoping to share our happiness with others, this can backfire and actually create more distance between us and our loved ones at home. Plus, it’s impossible to really enjoy fully what’s in front of us if we’re checking our “likes” on social media or worrying too much about getting the “perfect photo.”
Of course, there are many things to consider when vacationing besides the ones listed here—your budget, whether or not to travel with another person, how long to be away, how much time to leave at the end of your trip for reentry. But taking care of your happiness goals may be just as important as other logistics. And, given how much we invest in vacations, isn’t it worth taking the time to enjoy them?

Inspirational Quote – July 13, 2017

“We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.”

Everything or everybody we see is “colored” by our own personal perceptions based on what we’ve learned through time. That’s just the way it is so there’s nothing we can do about it right? Wrong! If we are fortunate in being aware enough to realize this is what we’re doing, we can take steps to change our thought process. See things from another’s point of view. Be more considerate and weigh things up before deciding to pass judgement. As I said, that’s just the way we are all shaped and colored by life so it’s no bad thing, just something to be aware of for the future.

Charles Halpern: Cultivating Wisdom for Justice

Charles Halpern exemplifies cultivating inner resources for working in justice and social transformation. His contributions to education, law, and social movements have been facilitated by his inner work around wisdom and mindfulness. In this interview, Halpern describes how his practice grounds him while working to transform the criminal justice system. He explains, "We shouldn't respond when we're driven by rage, but instead when we're driven by a sense of possibility -- a possibility that we can open new dialogues in this country, and back off from the intense polarization that's characterized American decision making processes over vitally important matters for decades. How can we come together in a place of dialogue, mutual respect and interconnection?...I think that can only be done by people who have done some inner work and be the leaders of that conversational process.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Uninhabitable Earth

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.

By David Wallace-Wells

What to Do When You Hate the One You Love

It's a thin line, says an old song and some new research. Here are seven ways to keep bad feelings from getting out of hand.

Have you ever hated your partner?
You are not alone: It turns out that almost all of us have times when we strongly dislike the people we love the most—although some of us may not even realize it.
In a series of studies, Vivian Zayas and Yuichi Shoda found that people don’t just love or hate significant others. They love and hate them—and that’s normal. The key to getting through the inevitable hard times, as my own research suggests, is to never stop trying to understand where your partner is coming from.

Love is complicated, isn’t it?

How did Zayas and Shoda find the hate in the midst of love? They asked study participants to think of a significant other they like very much. Then, the participants reported on their positive and negative feelings toward that person. Unsurprisingly, people reported highly positive feelings and very low negative feelings toward the person they had chosen.
But then the researchers assessed implicit feelings—the emotions they might not be consciously aware of—about the significant other. How? Participants did a standard computer task that measures how quickly they respond to certain directions. They’d see the name of their significant other pop up on the computer screen, which was then was quickly followed by a target word that was either positive (e.g., lucky, kitten) or negative (e.g., garbage, cancer). Their job was to categorize the target words as positive or negative as quickly as possible by pushing the correct button.
That’s when the bad feelings came out.
Here’s how our brains work, as revealed by decades of psychological research: If we are thinking about something pleasant when a positive word pops up, we are quicker to categorize it as positive; but when a negative word pops up, we are slower to put it in the negative category. Likewise, if we are thinking about something unpleasant, we will be slower to categorize positive words and quicker for negative ones.
This task allows researchers to actually quantify people’s feelings towards their significant others, by calculating how quickly they respond to positive words and negative words after seeing their significant other’s name.
Still with me? Great, because here is where it gets interesting. Take a look at the graph below. The bars on the right show that, as expected, participants were quicker to categorize positive words after seeing their significant other’s name. But they were also quicker to categorize negative words. Not just not slower—actually quicker!
zayas and shoda graphZayas & Shoda (2015)
The effect for positive words was larger, but there was a small effect showing that thinking about their significant others actually boosted people’s responses when categorizing negative words like garbage and cancer. These were significant others toward whom participants reported feeling very positively and not very negatively, yet these findings show that at an implicit level, people hold both positive and negative feelings toward the ones they love.
(Note: The bars on the left side of the graph show the typical response using positive and negative objects, such as sunsets and spiders, where positive objects only affect positive target words and negative objects only affect negative target words.)
Thus, people feel both positively and negatively toward those they love. This may not surprise you. Those closest to us, such as our romantic partners, invoke strong feelings on both ends of the spectrum—some days, thoughts of our romantic partners may leave us awash with love and admiration; other days, we may feel dislike or even repulsion.

It’s a thin line

What these findings suggest to me is that this love/hate dynamic is a normal part of close relationships. Feeling negatively towards your partner does not mean that you are doing something wrong or that you are in the wrong relationship. It seems hating your partner in the moment does not mean that you don’t also love them a lot—which is actually a bit of a revelation (and a relief).

Why does this study matter? Much of our relationship rhetoric focuses on positive and negative as two ends of a spectrum—feeling more positively toward your partner means you feel less negatively toward them, and vice versa.
While that may be true in one particular moment, it isn’t representative of the complex nature of your relationship overall—or even in one day! Our feelings toward our partners can range wildly from moment to moment—and it seems that may just be part of the wild ride of sharing your life with another complex human being. So, despite the overwhelmingly positive pictures posted on social media of all your friends’ happy relationships, know that you’re only seeing, at best, half the story.
There’s another finding worth highlighting from the Zayas and Shoda study. They also looked at people’s implicit feelings toward significant others that they reported disliking a lot. These were disliked people who played an important role in their life, such as exes or estranged parents.
When shown these significant others’ names, people were quicker to categorize negative words, as expected. But they were also quicker to categorize positive words, suggesting that feelings toward loathed significant others aren’t so set in stone either. Instead, it seems we hold some positive views of these significant others, even as we profess our dislike of them—even if we may not be able to admit it at a conscious level.

Not all bad feeling is bad for you

Of course, there is such a thing as too much hate. Relationships don’t need to be all positive all the time to be happy and healthy, but having too much negativity can be harmful. Instead, the key seems to be having a high enough ratio of positive to negative experiences.
Researcher John Gottman found that stable, happy couples had about five times more positivity than negativity during conflict conversations. On the other hand, couples who were heading towards divorce had a ratio more like 8:1. That is, way more negative than positive. While some negative emotions should be avoided at all costs, other negative emotions—such as guilt or sadness—when experienced in the appropriate setting, may be adaptive and help us change for the better.
For example, feeling guilty when you’ve done something wrong can help you correct your behavior in the future and make the proper amends. Feeling sad about growing apart from a good friend may help you realize you still care about that relationship. In relationships, conflict can help you negate bad patterns and work through issues.
In addition, it seems to me that the good is not as good if you aren’t occasionally contrasting it with something bad. We need some emotional variety—feeling good all the time might just get boring! Moreover, people who are forcing themselves to feel positively all the time when it isn’t genuine may not reap the same benefits as those who are experiencing genuine positive emotions.

Seven ways to make love stronger than hate

So how do you keep that love/hate ratio positive? The key is understanding—as opposed to avoiding conflict or suppressing bad feelings that are perfectly normal.
Along with my colleague Serena Chen, I ran seven different studies of couples, conflict, and relationship satisfaction. And I found in all of those studies that people felt less satisfied when they didn’t feel understood after conflicts with their partner. But when they came out of conflict feeling understood, there was no negative impact on relationship satisfaction.
We got these results in a number of different ways. People who reported fighting frequently—but who at the same time felt understood by their partners—were no less satisfied with their relationships than people who rarely fight. People who remembered a past conflict in which they felt understood were no less satisfied than those in a control group; those who did not feel understood showed negative effects. People who reported on their conflicts every day for two weeks were equally satisfied on both days when they fought and days when they didn’t—if they felt understood.
In our laboratory study, couples talked about a source of conflict in their relationship. People who felt understood during the conflict conversation felt more satisfied after the discussion than when they’d first arrived in the lab. If they didn’t feel understood, they were less satisfied.
In other words, relationships can survive conflict and bad feelings if partners never stop feeling seen by the other.
Is it just that people are better able to find a solution to their problem if they understand each other? Understanding does aid in conflict resolution, but it turns out that understanding can even help those fights that will never be resolved. Those issues may stem from political, religious, or personality differences, or maybe just different movie preferences.
Whatever their source, understanding can help for those fights, too. In fact, understanding may be most important when you face issues that cannot be easily resolved, such as different religious or political views. In these situations, understanding allows you to “agree to disagree” when no amount of fighting is going to change your minds.
What is it about feeling understood that helps alleviate those negative feelings that typically arise after conflict? We found that when you feel understood, it signals to you that your partner cares about you and is invested in the relationship. It also makes you feel like your relationship is strong and worth fighting for. And in the end, feeling understood, especially when your partner has a different opinion than you, just feels good, plain and simple.
So how do you increase understanding during conflict? Here are seven suggestions for how to think and act to do so.
  1. Instead of asserting your own point of view, try to take your partner’s perspective. Make it your goal to understand why your partner feels the way they do.
  2. Avoid the four horsemen of the apocalypse—criticism, defensiveness, contempt, and stonewalling.
  3. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Assume that their intentions are not malicious.
  4. Take a moment to reflect on your partner’s positive traits. You can even try some gratitude-inducing techniques.
  5. Think of you and your partner as a team, rather than opponents. Your goal is to figure out together why you do not see eye-to-eye and find a solution; it is not to win the fight and prove your partner wrong.
  6. Recognize that it won’t always be easy to follow these suggestions, especially if your partner isn’t playing by the same rules.
  7. Give yourself a mantra to repeat when you start feeling angry to help you remember your goal—even something as simple as “be understanding.”
This article was revised and synthesized from several pieces originally published on Amie Gordon’s Psychology Today blog.