Relationships are crucial to having a healthy and caring life with those who you value. In today’s article, I am borrowing the research of Daniel G. Amen, MD who specializes in how the brain works. He has created an acronym RELATING that will help you remember the essential relationship habits. These techniques come from research in the field of interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT). Enhancing interpersonal skill has proven effective in reducing anxiety, depression, and stress, and in improving both business success and marital satisfaction.
R IS FOR RESPONSIBILITY
Responsibility is not about blame. It is about your ability to respond to whatever situation you are in. What can you do today to make your relationships better? You win more in relationships when you ask yourself this question and stay away from blaming others.
E IS FOR EMPATHY
Developing empathy involves a number of important skills, including mirroring, treating others in a way you would like to be treated, and being able to get outside of yourself.
L IS FOR LISTENING AND GOOD COMMUNICATION
Poor communication is at the core of many relationship problems. Jumping to conclusions, trying to read minds, and needing to be right are only a few traits that doom communication. Too often in relationships we have expectations and hopes that we never explicitly communicate to our partners or colleagues. Clear communication is essential if relationships are to be mutually satisfying.
A IS FOR ASSERTIVENESS
Assertiveness involves standing up for one’s rights without infringing upon those of others, whereas aggression involves the use of verbal and nonverbal noxious stimuli to maintain rights.
T IS FOR TIME
Relationships require actual, physical time. In this era of commuting, traffic, two-working-parent households, email, the Internet, television, and video games, we have seriously diminished the time we have with the people in our lives. Being present in the moment with your spouse, friend, or colleague can help make the other person feel appreciated and secure.
I IS FOR INQUIRING
Ask yourself what thoughts are repeatedly going through your mind, and then consider how accurate they might be. Often when we tell ourselves little lies about other people, it puts unnecessary wedges between “us and them”. Relationships require accurate thinking in order to thrive. Whenever you feel sad, mad, or nervous in relationships, check out your thoughts. If there are automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) or lies, stomp them out.
N IS FOR NOTICING WHAT YOU LIKE
Noticing what you like a lot more than what you don’t like is one of the secrets to having great relationships. Paying attention to what you like encourages more of that behavior.
G IS FOR GRACE AND FORGIVENESS
One of the most famous prayers in history commands us to forgive others if we ourselves want to be forgiven. Forgiveness is powerful medicine. Holding on to grudges and hurts, even if they are small, increases stress hormones that negatively impact our moods, immunity, and overall health.
I’ve created a quick “take action” summary below for you to have on your phone or print out. I invite you to experiment this week with the strategies below.
Let me know how it goes!
8 Strategies to Enhance Your Ability to Connect by RELATING
- Ask yourself if you are taking RESPONSIBILITY in your relationships: “How can I respond in a positive, helpful way?”
- Practice EMPATHY: Treat others as you would like to be treated.
- In conversations, LISTEN and practice good communication skills.
- Be ASSERTIVE: Say what you mean and stick up for what you believe is right in a calm, clear, kind way.
- Spend TIME: Remember that actual, physical time with others is critical to healthy relationships.
- INQUIRE into the negative thoughts that make you suffer in a relationship and decide if they’re true.
- NOTICE what you like in the behavior of those around you more than you notice (and complain about) what you don’t like.
- Give the altruistic gift of GRACE and forgiveness whenever you can.
Download your printable version here.
If this resonates with you and you’d like to overcome some of your own barriers to living the life you want, then click here and I’ll make sure we connect. And you know I like to share the love, so if you know someone who could benefit from this article then please share it! Imagine, thought by thought and act by act we are creating a more conscious world.