Tips To Eliminate Shouting And Make Your Relationships More Peaceful

There are many types of drama that can hurt out vital relationships. This has become especially clear during the Covid-19 lock down where couples, roommates, and families have all had to spend the bulk of their time together, sometimes without any space to get away and decompress.

One of the biggest relationship killers – and thus something that should be avoided at all costs – is shouting and/or yelling during an argument. The problem with this is that for some people it is a natural reaction, almost a way to get the conflict over quickly, while for others that raised voice makes them retreat inside to avoid the conflict and thus not get closer to a solution.

Shouting is toxic and it is damaging, so what should you do if you are one of those people that defaults to this emotion when you find your back against the wall? Here are some tips that will help you avoid shouting matches and help make your vital relationships stronger, happier, and more peaceful than ever before:

Take Deep Breaths

This is likely a technique that you have heard of before, but that is because taking deep, calming breaths is important when you are angry and getting ready to shout. Drawing in a deep breath through your nose – allowing your lungs to fill with air and your chest to rise – before exhaling through your mouth is something that will allow you to literally feel the tension flowing out of your body. Expand on this over time by bringing some breathing exercises into your day for a much more relaxed approach to life.

Stop Talking Immediately

This might be the most difficult technique of all, but it will stop someone hurting a vital relationship with angry words that aren’t really meant. As soon as you find yourself starting to raise your voice, simply cut off the flow. This could be mid-sentence, mid-word, or even mid-syllable. The key is just to stop the frustration from pouring out and it will give you a chance to reevaluate whether what you were about to yell is actually what you really mean. In all likelihood it is not and this pause will give you a chance to change words from hurtful to kindness.

Leave the Argument

This is a good technique, but it has to be done right. There is a big difference between storming out of a room hurling words you don’t mean and simply saying that you need some fresh air and will be back soon. Use that time to get outside and feel the benefit of some fresh air in your lungs while you think about what to say next. One thing to do here is to make yourself study the environment around you as you walk. Notice the air temperature, see what animals are around, and take a look at the kids playing on the street. This method of taking your mind off of the anger and onto something tangible will help calm your anger momentum immediately.

Think About Your Reaction

If you are confronted with a yeller, then the best think you can do is not feed into their behavior. The worst thing to do is to mirror their emotions and engage in the yelling. Nothing good can come from this and the situation will escalate and escalate to the point that a vital relationship could be threatened. Staying calm is the single best thing that you can do without looking like you are being patronizing. It can be hard to show compassion and understanding in these situations – without being agreeable to things you don’t believe – but by doing so you will help resolve the situation far quicker than if you feed into the fire.

 

Article by Vital Guidance

Top 10 Family Fun Ideas For Summer 2020

Some parts of the country are already done with school for the year. Others will follow suit in short order. Memorial Day marks the start of the summer in much of the country – especially in the Midwest – so families are now working on the changeover from a Covid-19 interrupted school year into a Covid-19 interrupted summer vacation.

This is a summer that is going to require a lot of vital guidance and help both from parents to kids and kids to parents. Many summer vacations – especially those that would have taken families out of the country – have had to be postponed or cancelled because there are no flights. This summer is going to be one where it is what you make of it.

To help with the boredom – and the problems of finding things to do – here are 10 ideas that could be the start (or the entirety) of a Summer 2020 bucket list to give you the vital help you need in finding things to do (mostly) at home:

  1. Backyard Camping:  A classic for a reason. This is a great way to bond with your children outdoors, yet in the comfort of your own backyard. Modify to an indoor tent if you don’t have any yard space.
  1. Cook Together:  Teaching kids how to cook is an essential life skill. This summer, show them how to cook fresh ingredients and have them pick out recipes they want to try to get them eating new things.
  1. A Sidewalk Chalk Gallery:  Have kids on the same street or in a neighborhood draw their very best pieces of sidewalk chalk art. Then – while distancing – walk with the kids around the neighborhood and find out what they like about each piece of art.
  1. Fly a kite:  There is a reason that it feels a little bit like the 1950s right now. Jump into that nostalgia run and teach your kid the simple joys of flying a kite. The bonus here is that there are huge kite festivals in the US every year, so in 2021 aim to visit one of those if you both develop a passion for catching the wind.
  1. Backyard Movie Night:  Drive-in theatres are always fun, so recreate that magic in your own backyard. All you really need is a projector, a white sheet/wall, and a DVD player/speakers. Add in popcorn and some old fashioned sodas for a throwback evening of entertainment.
  1. Make S’mores:  S’mores are an American classic, but you would be shocked how many kids don’t even know what they are. Get a fire pit going in the backyard and show them with vital guidance what they have been missing out on with the gooey marshmallow treats.
  1. Create a nature garden:  This can be as simple as planting a few flowers that are known to attract butterflies or as technical as buying (or even making) a birdbath or squirrel feeders. Make sure to go to the nature garden at various times of day – and look under the rocks – to see what the kids can find.
  1. A Virtual Summer Camp:  Sure. It is not the same as going to an actual camp, but there are many programs out there setting up virtual camps to entertain and educate kids this summer. DIY Summer Camp and Camp Wonderopolis are just two examples of this trend.
  1. Water Games:  Be it a Slip ‘N Slide, an above ground pool, a water balloon fight, or running through the sprinklers, the summer demands water. As having friends over might not be an option, dial back the years and become a kid again by joining in with the fun.
  1. Bike Ride and Picnic:  This is going to be the best summer yet to spend time doing nothing while exploring the outdoors. Pack up a picnic lunch and burn the energy for your meal by biking to and from a park or other socially distant space to eat.

 

Article by Vital Guidance

Kids Need Your Vital Guidance During & After Pandemic

Good mental health is a struggle for all of us during the Covid-19 lock down. We have all lost things we love to do – be that simply going for a drink with friends or playing sports competitively – and that disruption to the norm is taking its toll on how people are able to get through their days. While this is an issue for people of all ages, it is children that really need the best vital guidance that you can give at this point as we continue to navigate through uncharted waters in life.

While adults are – for the most part – fully emotionally and mentally developed, the same cannot be said for your children. Overnight our kids were expected to be able to adjust from thinking about the next sporting event they would play in or the next play date they would go on, to being in a lock down situation with no idea when they would be able to see their friends again.

While this is mitigated somewhat by technology, just imagine where we would be as a global society if this had happened 20 years ago. Face-timing a friend isn’t the same as being able to go to the mall or the movies. This pandemic is stripping kids – specifically tweens and teenagers – of emotional development that they will need to be able to grow in a post-pandemic world.

The good news is that with the right vital guidance most kids will turn out alright. This is the view of most economists and psychologists on the subject – despite their data sets being limited at this point. The best thing you can do as a parent during this time is to give your child a safe, stress free, and stable environment to live in. Young kids will bounce back quicker – they will feel less pressure and stress from the situation – and encouraging interaction without being pushy is a really important parenting technique to master if your child starts to seem withdrawn.

Tighter finances, food shortages, and job losses are all stressful. Those vulnerable families are the ones that are likely to see their children become more withdrawn – for any number of reasons – and as such they are the families that will rely on vital guidance both now and after the pandemic,

Kids are resilient by nature and most will find a way to adapt and roll with the punches. Just try to be a little extra aware at the moment – even with the pressures put on you as a parent during this time – of exactly how your kids are doing and what state their mental health is in.

Article By Vital Guidance

Couples Must Work On Careers and Vital Relationship

Managing your relationship during the Coronavirus crisis can be tricky. As much as we all want to think we are the perfect couple in the perfect relationship, the truth is that most of us have never lived in each other’s back pockets for weeks on end. Even if we share the same hobbies and the same workplace, there are usually other people around and separate events that we will go to without our partner be it gym, golfing or simply going to the hardware store.

Now – thanks to social distancing and stay-at-home orders – that has all changed. More than that, it changed very suddenly. Many couples are now working from the same home no matter if they are working the same job. This is fine – or at least better – if you have a big house with multiple spaces that can be used as an office, but much less fun if you are in a smaller apartment where finding your own space is a little more difficult.

The first thing to realize with your relationship is that you are 100% going to get on each other’s nerves at some point during this lockdown. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet, but it will. Often the pandemic itself is the cause of this, especially if the two of you aren’t completely in line with your thinking on how serious the situation is. Given that everyone thinks differently, this is likely to be a bone of contention at some point.

It is more than okay to get on each other’s nerves. The problem is that unlike pre-pandemic, there is likely no outlet for the feelings other than stewing in a different room. When these fights happen both of you need to avoid the “Four Horsemen” of relationship enders as proposed by psychologist John Gottman.

These four ideas are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. These four, which include attitudes with “always and never” statements, insulting verbally or with actions, counterattacking when feeling victimized, and measures to avoid interaction, will all see this pandemic claiming your happiness and relationship from you. Talk to your partner as soon as possible – knowing that fights may come –on how to avoid these specific concepts when upset at each other.

Instead, look at this time as a chance to build your relationship and cut down on stress. Be positive in all interactions – Gottman suggests a 5:1 positive to negative ratio or better – to keep each other happy. Practice your listening skills when you are upset and when you are both happy, showing empathy for the situation towards one another. Make your partner feel safe and happy and find new ways to enjoy life together that break what is already becoming a mundane daily routine.

The options here are endless for ways to improve your vital relationship by not letting the Four Horsemen create stress and bring down everything you have built over the years. See this as a time of opportunity and emerge on the other side stronger than ever.

Article by Vital Guidance

Online Dating Helps Relationships During Social Distancing

Dating isn’t easy at the best of times. With COVID-19 doing its best to ruin every aspect of our life, these are not the best of times for dating. However, people in the dating pool are still seeking contact with others and the ability to build vital relationships even in these weird times in which we presently live.

That is why dating – along with pretty much every other aspect of life – has been taken online.

For those in a fledgling relationship this is an interesting period. The key is to feel connected to someone without the obvious connection that many of us have in our lives: physical touch and intimacy. Instead, take the dating in a new direction.

Face timing will obviously be important, but to build a vital relationship that can last for the long haul there has to be more than just sitting around and chatting while staring into each other’s eyes. The key to building a relationship is to take the things you like to do when you are together and to find a way to implement them online. This can be something as simple as watching a new TV show together or doing a crossword online, all the way through to learning a new language at the same time or coordinating and teaching each other new skills.

These days, just about anything you could do around home in person you can do online – that is the beauty of our modern world – so take this time of social distancing to allow your dating relationship to breathe and learn a little more about what makes each other tick.

Also be aware that the social anxiety and stress levels of your date may be through the roof right now. If they don’t want to engage in a special way online or through social media, then make sure that you understand this. As long as there is contact and interest in pursuing a relationship you have nothing to be worried about and by being too aggressive in this time where everyone requires a little soft handling is an easy – but potentially relationship ending – mistake to make.

The key to dating under lockdown – be it a first date or a 100th date – is communication. Without understanding the needs of each other at this time then a relationship will go nowhere. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there at this time and just imagine how much fun it will be to meet or see the person again in real life when all this is over.

By Vital Guidance

Two Can Become One While Being Ourselves

Being in a relationship and maintaining your independence are two concepts that may sound counter intuitive. The truth, though, is that becoming co-dependent in a relationship to the point that you lose your independence is very unhealthy. Instead, you want to be two people who share their lives, their experiences, and their goals together while still maintaining independence in the right areas.

Here are some tips on how to keep your independence while also keeping that vital relationship in your life alive and kicking:

Do something on your own

This can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. If you are feeling like you are penned in as part of your relationship then start by doing something simple on your own. Maybe this is refocusing on an old hobby or starting a new one. Fitness classes and sports are excellent examples as well as they will get you out of your house independently of your spouse. For those already in that area, consider a trip to a new city alone where you can spend a couple of days doing everything that you want to do – food, activities, etc. – without having to please anyone else.

Maintain old friendships

In a marital relationship it is only natural that you and your significant other see your circles merge. This is fine, and healthy, as couples friends are an important part of life. One thing to remember though is that you had a life before you met your partner, one that included a friend group that was all of your own. While hanging out as a couple with those friends can still be fun, plan nights to hang out with just your own friends and go out separately. That way you will have more stuff to talk about the next day!

Learn to love yourself

Loving your partner can often be easier than loving yourself. Both aspects of this are vital for a healthy relationship. We are not talking narcissistic love, just a fundamental appreciation of who you are and what you bring to the table for your relationship. Taking care of yourself and your own needs is vital, but if you don’t love and respect yourself then it is easy to fall into a co-dependent trap where nothing you want is ever put first.

Article by Vital Guidance

Tips For A Healthy Relationship With Your Spouse

It is easy to be in a relationship but it can be difficult to keep it healthy.  Making things more complex than they ought to be can easily occur.   Often times, Eros is not enough to prevent a relationship from getting unhealthy.

According to Readers Digest, 57 percent of people in unhappy relationships still are powerfully attracted to their partner. It is vital to realize that “love” is just one ingredient in a delicious broth.

Show affection constantly

You can’t love just in your mind. You have to show it tangibly in a language your partner can understand. Physical affection like kissing, holding hands and gentle rubs help to reduce stress, heightens mood and is directly proportional to relationship satisfaction.

Play

Play has always been key to forming a bond.  That’s why our childhood friends can be some of our best friends.   Relationships are nurtured by the connection procured from play. If your partner is not used to this, a little guidance is all it takes. It allows the couple to see each other at their best, their freest. Find fun activities you both can enjoy and infuse some wellness into the relationship. You’ll find novel ways to express yourselves and communicate.

Compromise

The city of love has its laws. There are sacrifices you must make to keep it amazing. Some people play it cautiously and decline opportunities to sacrifice. This is because they forget that without pain, there is no gain. Hence, you have to go through a little pain to make your relationship healthier. Time alone, privacy, the need to have the last say are some of the things you will have to compromise on.

Be respectful

Just because you submit sometimes doesn’t mean that you are a doormat. Respect is the act of choosing to trust and have faith in your partner’s judgement, even though you might not agree with their decision. Being attentive, speaking kindly, just accepting are ways you can show that you love them for who they are. This is wonderful for prolonging health in a relationship.

Use actions to express affection

When you make someone feel like the light in your life, it lights up your life. It keeps the flame of the relationship glowing. Words are nice but actions on top make relationships intensely delicious. Do her laundry, buy her some flowers or take him out to his favourite restaurant.

Stay faithful

There’s almost nothing that cuts a relationship like infidelity. When you cheat on a spouse you desecrate a deep part of the sexual relationship.  When you allow someone else access to a type of intimacy agreed to only be shared by you and your spouse, you break a deeply-held contract. This loss of trust can put your spouse in constant suspicion of you and inability to connect due to resentment and contempt. It’s possible to heal the wound of infidelity but the relationship can never be the same.

Article by Vital Guidance

Improve Health With Good Family Relationships

It is common knowledge that good relationships with family are important to overall health and happiness. Thanks to a new study, we may actually have evidence that those relationships are much more vital in keeping us healthy than we knew before.

A recently published study in the Journal of Family Psychology took a wide ranging approach to nailing down the importance of extended family in keeping us healthy. The study looked at nearly 3,000 people – a large case study for such a project – between 1995 and 2014. The average age of the group was close to 45-years-old at the first collection metric.

The study had the group, at three points during that time period, rate the quality of their interactions with their partner and their extended family. The researchers then compared that information with the respondent’s chronic conditions that they had, things ranging in severity from headaches to strokes.

The study then asked a number of questions to ascertain where that person was in life with the vital relationships that were closest to them. Questions in the study were based around their family and love life such as: “Not including your spouse or partner, how often do members of your family criticize you? How much can you rely on your family for help if you have a serious problem?”

The two findings of the study were that people who were suffering from issues within their family and/or extended family tended to have much worse health at that specific time than those people who were getting along well with their family. The study also found – perhaps surprisingly – that there was little to no correlation between people who were struggling with their spouse and health issues.

The result with family came as a shock to no one involved in the study or involved in the psychology of health vs. family relationships.  Lead author Sarah Woods points out that family is for life, while more and more intimate relationships are seen as something that can be transitional in nature. This is a modern take, with people waiting longer to be married and being content on their own perhaps being a reason why the health issues were not seen in people having trouble with their intimate partner.

One thing this should teach everyone is the vital relationship between family and health. Happy, caring families – all the way down to grandparents and cousins – give a person a basis and stability for life. Keep your loved ones close, take care of family, and live a healthier life in the process.

Article by Vital Guidance

Strategies For Resolving Conflicts Foster Growth

If there is human interaction, conflict shall eventually come up. It is an inevitable part of life that arises due to the clashing of different ideas, goals and needs. Conflict can be mild or it can result in intense personal animosity and stand in the way of productivity and everyone’s well-being. The fact that conflict exist is not really a negative thing because when it is resolved effectively, you can get rid off the problems that brought it to the surface and in the long run, foster better growth in different spheres.

Since effective conflict resolution appears to be an important assert to having a good social life, you have to learn some of the strategies to implement.

Lay out ground rules

You can reduce the frequency of potential problems by informing members of the household or workplace by making it clear each person’s boundaries. If you give people the room to define what is and isn’t appropriate, they will.

Don’t ignore conflict

Personality plays a vital role in how we tackle conflict and some people are not big on confrontation. In minor problems, it might be best to ignore the issue and it fades away on its own but you will be able to sense an uneasiness build when this is not sufficient. The resentment and contempt that builds when you avoid attacking an issue head-on can cause severe damage to relationships.

Use compliments

When addressing a problem, it’s best not to jump right into it with an accusatory tone because this will put the party on the defensive. You have to be willing to listen to the person’s perspective and the only way the person will openly communicate is if they feel comfortable. You can achieve this by complimenting them. You want to demonstrate that there is no hero or villain, you are attacking the problem not the person.

Emotional awareness

You have to be conscious of your moment-to-moment emotional experience and be on the lookout for that of others. Emotional awareness allows you to understand what is really disturbing others and to understand your issues and reactions. It allows you to communicate clearly and effectively and you will find that you’re are more able to influence others.

Be forgiving

If you are unwilling or unable to forgive others, resolving conflict will be impossible. Resolution lies in releasing the urge to punish which will only serve to drain you. It is vital to know when to let something go. If a conflict is going nowhere, you can choose to disengage and move on.

Mediation

In some cases, you can involve a trained, neutral third party to help come to a consensus. Instead of imposing a solution, a professional mediator encourages disputing parties to explore the reason behind their clash. Through guidance of opposing parties together and separately, seek to discover a resolution that is sustainable and voluntary for everyone.

Act decisively

Once a solution has been agreed upon, don’t wait and leave the team lingering. Ensure it is implemented immediately before minds change and you return to square one.

 

Article by Vital Guidance

Factors To Keep Your Marriage Moving In The Right Direction

Marriage isn’t easy.  It may be one of the most vital relationships you will ever have but it’s something that both husband and wife need to work for if it’s going to succeed. There is no shortcut to a solid and healthy marriage, no cheat sheet that makes it easy and effective. There are, though, a number of factors that will make it much easier to keep the relationship headed in the right direction.

Here are five ideas that are worth following:

Listening
This one should be obvious, but as marriage is the domain of two parties – and often two parties with different ideas and skill sets about certain topics – the ability to listen is really critical. Listening doesn’t just mean hearing, either. There is a difference between passive and active listening and when it comes to marriage, active listening is the way to go.  Make sure you are immediately tuned in to what is being said, focus on the words not the noise, and actually think about the topic at hand. Those are the key points that will put you into good listening territory.

Advice vs. Venting
As a husband or wife you want to do everything you can to help your partner. That is why when they come to you with a problem your first instinct is to solve it. It took me about 10 years of marriage to realize that solving the issue isn’t always what my wife wants. Sometimes a problem doesn’t need to be solved, it just needs to be vented about. My new strategy is simply to ask at the beginning of a conversation what type of problem this is; something that needs solving or something to let off steam? This has resulted in a much better flow of information between the two of us and a happier relationship.

Stop Interrupting

This is another area I personally have had a problem with in my relationship. As someone who problem solves for a living – and who just likes to talk – I have a habit of interrupting my wife’s stream of thought to get my point in. I don’t mean anything by it, it is just me saying what I am thinking, but it comes across as rude and like what she is saying isn’t important. Instead of thinking about what to say next, just listen. This will stop the interrupting and actually help with prior points on this list.

Argue politely

This isn’t an obvious idea to get your head around but it is vital to a happy marriage. There is nothing worse than arguing dirty. Topics in this category include bringing up the past – NEVER EVER do this – or using blame statements in an argument that start with phrases like “You did” or “You should”.  Instead, disagree with class, bring the words around to yourself, using statements like “I did” or “I should”. Not only is this less provocative, it will also allow you to focus on your issues and may see your spouse’s point of view.

Never go to bed mad

Going to bed while angry is one of the worst thing you can do in your marriage. This means that no matter what happened the day before, no matter how small or big the problem was, the argument is going to carry over into another day.  End that trend now by agreeing with your partner that you will simply never go to bed upset with one another. The argument doesn’t have to be solved that night, sometimes that is not viable, but pause the fight and find a common ground that will allow you to smile with each other. You will be amazed what a quick difference this makes to your marriage.

You can learn more about keeping your marriage healthy with the book Vital Guidance:  For A Lasting Relationship.

Article by Steve Wright