couple holding hands

How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship with your Spouse During Coronavirus Lockdown

LockdownSince we all are under lockdown, we are spending a lot of time with our spouse. This can be a welcome change for some but for some it can be quite stressful too. There are plenty of data to suggest that divorce rates increase during natural disasters. On the other hand, these may also be times when a much stronger bond can be formed between a couple. Here are a few tips that can help you maintain a healthy relationship, especially during lockdown, and form an even stronger bond with your partner:

Share the load: Share the burden of domestic work and any other daily work as much as you can, and in whichever way you can. It will not only lower the physical burden of your spouse but it will also make him/her feel loved.

Spend gadget-free time: As we all are at home, we are spending too much time on gadgets, mobiles, tablets, TVs, etc. To maintain a healthy and sound relationship with your partner, it is important that both of you spend at least some quality time together without these gadgets around.

Communicate: During such difficult and stressful times, it becomes even more important that you keep communication open. Share your concerns and worries with each other. Communicating your worries and concerns with your spouse will not only make them feel wanted, but you may find a solution to them too. You may also find that many of your worries are not even valid.

Get alone time: This lockdown has caused major disturbances in our daily routines. We are getting very less or no time at all for ourselves. We are surrounded by our family members, all the time, which is not a bad thing though, but getting no alone time can also lead to stress. The stress, in turn, can cause sudden emotional outbursts which can spoil the harmony between the partners. So to maintain a healthy relationship, it is important that we spend some time with ourselves as well, by reading or listening to music of our own choice. It will help us stay energized and refreshed. Stay together but give each other some space as well.

Find common interests: Find things that are of interest to both of you. Maybe you both enjoy watching movies or you both love to cook. Find out things where you can work together as a team, play cards, solve puzzles, etc. Games not only help you stay mentally and physically active and healthy, but they also build team spirit. Find games that need collective efforts.

Appreciate: Appreciation is a way to convey to the other person that his or efforts are acknowledged and respected. During this COVID-19 situation, it is vital that you keep appreciating the efforts of your partner no matter how small they are. Thank your partner for doing laundry, preparing food, or going out to buy essentials with full conviction. Your appreciation will definitely increase their motivation.

Practice patience and compassion: This phase also requires that you maintain patience and show compassion toward your partner. Let go of his/her small mistakes and try to overlook such habits that you don’t like. Now is the time to be sensitive to the feelings of the other person. Be a little patient and take your partner’s perspective into consideration before reacting. Remember these are extraordinary circumstances, which require extraordinary efforts on our part.

Be creative: Find creative ideas to keep the love and affection alive in your relationship. Arrange a romantic candle-light dinner or a romantic movie date with your spouse at home. Bring in all the creativity that you can, to make your partner feel loved.

Mindfulness Mini – Compassion — Enhanced Perspective

Breath is literally your life source, don’t underestimate the power of focusing on your breath. When you can control your breath, you can control your thoughts. When you can control your thoughts, you can be thoughtful about your actions. Think about how powerful that is! Use this exercise for generating compassion for yourself, a situation […]

via Mindfulness Mini – Compassion — Enhanced Perspective

Compassionate nurse

Where Is the Compassion in Psychiatric Care?

“There is nothing weak about kindness and compassion,” former President Barack Obama said in his eulogy of Elijah Cummings, the Democratic Congressman who died last week. “There is nothing weak about looking out for others. There is nothing weak about being honorable. You are not a sucker to have integrity and to treat others with respect.”

While President Obama was speaking about a man working in the highly polarized world of partisan politics, I heard his message as a psychiatrist, working in a field that too often views compassion as unnecessary and even as a professional weakness.

One local hospital’s psychiatric services website states of its mission:

“To provide our patients with the best care, we depend on the compassion, expertise, and strength of one another. We come to work knowing that our patients need us and that our colleagues support us and this allows us to strive daily to be the best health care providers — and people — that we can be.”

Frankly, talk is cheap. Too many hospitals fail to live up to the mission statements they proudly display.

I know many excellent psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses whom I would confidently recommend to someone I love. To me, this is the greatest mark of professional respect. However, a few of my colleagues disgrace their profession and blemish the work of the compassionate, enlightened majority who strive to maintain their patients’ dignity.

Sadly, I have learned from too many of my own patients about unprofessional, demeaning, abusive treatment they suffered at the hands of both doctors and nurses at psychiatric clinics and hospitals across the country. I have witnessed this offensive behavior first-hand since I was in medical school.

Most of my patients who have been admitted to a psychiatric unit describe the experience as traumatic, terrifying, or both. One went directly from my office, accompanied by a parent, to the hospital. Within a few hours, her clothing had been forcibly removed by a group of security personnel, including men, one of whom groped her breasts. She was so traumatized by the abusive treatment she endured that she refused to return to the hospital when she needed help. Instead, she took her own life.

Other patients have recounted being held down and forcibly injected when they were not being aggressive or combative. Another was humiliated by the taunts of a nurse and a ward clerk. (I witnessed this myself.)

Due to the cruelty my patients have encountered, and through many years of experience, I fear for the safety of patients when they become acutely ill. Of course, I worry about the harm their brains and bodies may sustain due to their illness, but I also fear how they will be treated by the staff they will encounter if admitted.

Those admitted to a psychiatric unit are usually very ill, sometimes disruptive, and potentially violent. Due to the severity of their symptoms, they might lack insight regarding the nature of their illness and their need for treatment, yet they are still human beings worthy of respect.

Some staff on psychiatric units excuse their hostile, dehumanizing patient interactions as a necessary response to a dangerous working environment. Their appalling behavior is not about the safety of staff or patients; it reflects a desire, whether by an individual or the entire clinical team, to exercise power over a vulnerable individual. If their behavior is acceptable, reasonable, and appropriate, why do they always deny it occurred? Invariably, the patient is blamed or accused of dishonesty.

Psychiatrists and their clinical teams are given extraordinary power to limit a patient’s freedom and to treat an ill person who lacks insight, sometimes against their will. Patients and families trust us to use that power responsibly.

We are judged as a society by how we treat our most vulnerable members. The abuse of power and the use of humiliation and violence demonstrated by some staff on psychiatric units have no place in a just and civilized society, much less in a medical setting, which is meant to be both safe and settling.

Those individuals who abuse patients, or fail to protect them, must be held accountable by colleagues, professional licensing bodies, and patients and their families. Regrettably, a complaint from one doctor is easy for a hospital to ignore. To provoke meaningful change, we all need to speak up.

I urge anyone who experiences or witnesses a dehumanizing, threatening, traumatizing or humiliating psychiatric clinic or hospital interaction to speak out. Write to the hospital, health authority, or professional college where the event occurred. Then, perhaps the hospitals and licensing bodies will demand that mental health professionals do what they’re supposed to do — care.

Source link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/psyched/201910/where-is-the-compassion-in-psychiatric-care

Your Secret Weapon for Changing Someone’s Mind

How to influence people by listening with your senses, not just your brain.

When teaching leaders communication skills, I often ask, “Do you know how people feel when you enter the room?” After a few responses, I ask, “Do you know how they feel when you leave?” No matter how well you thought through the words you shared, the way you listened to them will make or break your ability to change how they feel and think.

Most listening is designed to gain information that will fulfill your needs. How often do you listen to people for these purposes:

  1. To collect data: You listen to know what to say or do next. You listen to formulate your argument, to compare your perspective to theirs, or to fill in what you think you are missing.
  2. To give an answer or solve a problem: You listen to know what advice to give when they quit talking.
  3. To obey protocol: You listen because you should, not because you want to.

Listening from the neck up

When you listen for information to formulate your response, you grab only some of their words. They expect you to hear more, and to understand how they feel even though it is hard to accurately decipher facial expressions.1

Listening while thinking annoys most people. Even if you care about them, they won’t feel connected to you in the conversation.

Listen to receive, not analyze

When you choose to be present and connect with someone, you listen beyond your analytical brain. You suspend analysis. You take in and accept their words, expressions, and emotions as elements of their experience. You acknowledge the story they offer as valid from their current point of view. You don’t insert your opinions or judgments. People feel heard and will listen to you in return.

You receive what people offer with the purpose:

  1. To connect: You listen to establish a feeling of connection.
  2. To let the person know you value them: You listen so people feel you care what they think even when your perspective differs from theirs.
  3. To explore, learn, and grow together: You listen with curiosity to learn from the amazing human in front of you. You enjoy when the conversation takes you somewhere new.

Receiving is an active, not passive act even though you suspend your thoughts. You activate your nervous system, receiving sensory input with your heart and gut. With sensory awareness, you can receive and discern what is going on with others beyond the words they speak. They also feel safe enough to openly talk to you.2 You can find a visualization on how to open all three processing centers of your nervous system — your head, heart, and gut — on this site.

Listening with your senses

Sensory awareness includes an inward awareness of your reactions in a conversation. Your reactions might be in response to what they tell you. You also might be reacting to what you energetically receive from them.3 You can sense people’s desires, disappointments, frustrations, hopes, and doubts even when they have trouble articulating these experiences themselves.

Being sensitive doesn’t mean being wishy-washy. It means you are aware of what is going on around you on a sensory level and can sense when people are conflicted or distressed. Most people claim their pets have this ability to sense their emotional needs. Humans can receive these emotional vibrations as well. We just don’t pay attention to them.

You were likely taught to ignore your sensory awareness as a part of your conditioning as a child. Were you ever told, “You shouldn’t take things so personally,” or, “You should toughen up?” These admonishments led you to rely on your cognitive brain for listening.

I’m often asked if venturing into the land of emotions is risky, especially at work. I hear, “I can’t allow people’s emotions to sway me.”

When you don’t allow people to get under your skin, you aren’t experiencing them fully. You are disconnected internally and externally. You put up a wall between yourself and the people you are with.

You might feel their stress, anxiety, and anger. Don’t let these emotions sit in your body.4 Empathy occurs when you receive what another is feeling using sensory awareness, but you need to let these sensations pass through you.5 If you feel their emotion, relax your body and let the emotion subside as you return to being fully present with the person you are with.

There is also emotional energy vibrating between you.6 You can grasp when they want you to back off and give them space. You sense when they are impatient to move on or if they want to take more time. You can tell when they just want to be heard or acknowledged, instead of getting your advice. Share what you notice, and then listen to their response.

You may feel vulnerable when you open yourself to receive what people express. This vulnerability is a strength. Alan Alda said, “Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you.”7 They feel connected when you interact. They enjoy being with you. They are more open to changing their minds when you receive first and then share your ideas.

5 steps for building sensory awareness in conversations

  1. Silence your brain: When you quiet your chattering brain, you clear your sensory channels.
  2. Let go of knowing: Instead of thinking you know how the person will react, try curiosity. Unfortunately, the better you know someone, the more likely you quit being curious. Can you release knowing what people will say? You might be surprised.
  3. Release the need to be right: Ask questions to understand their perspective. Once they feel heard, you can say you have a different perspective. They will be more willing to hear your point of view.
  4. Listen with your heart and gut as well as your head: Before your conversation, open your heart with feelings of compassion or gratitude. Then, open your gut by feeling your courage.
  5. Test your instinct: When you feel an emotional sensation, share what you think they might be feeling, such as anger, frustration, sadness, or yearning. Accept their response. If you are wrong, your guess could still help them better understand themselves and feel you cared enough to understand.

Can you open yourself to fully receive what people offer? They will be more willing to hear your ideas and possibly change their minds if you do.

References

1  Alice Park. Emotions May Not Be So Universal After All, Time.com, March 6, 2014.

2  Shari M. Gellar and Stephen W. Porges. “Therapeutic Presence: Neurophysiological Mechanisms Mediating Feeling Safe in Therapeutic Relationships,” Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 2014, Vol. 24, No. 3, 178–192.

3   Daniel J. Siegel, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are. New York: The Guilford Press; 2nd edition, 2012.

4  Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, “Too much emotional intelligence is a bad thing.” Scientific American Mind, March 1, 2017.

5  Marcia Reynolds, “Can You Have Too Much Empathy? When empathy breaks trust.” PscychologyToday.com, April 15, 2017.

6  Rollin McCraty, “The Energetic Heart: Bioelectromagnetic Interactions Within and Between People.” Chapter published in: Clinical Applications of Bioelectromagnetic Medicine, edited by P. J. Rosch and M. S. Markov. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2004: 541-562.

7  Alan Alda, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned. New York: Random House, 2005, p. 160.

Source Link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/wander-woman/201910/your-secret-weapon-changing-someones-mind