Fighting is not compulsory – first aid for couples conflicts

Fighting is not compulsory – first aid for couples conflicts

Do you have painful repeating habitual fights in your relationship? Do you have eruptions you can’t control, walk-outs that scare you to death, or repeating fights about the same things over and over and over … and over and over? In an earlier post I wrote about the importance of If It Doesn’t Work, Do Something DIFFERENT. This present post is a few all-purpose first-aid measures you can do to interrupt those stale, dead, painful repeating cycles.  Then you can make room for listening, understanding, intimate closeness. Many of the couples tell me  they find these rather enlightening: Oh! We don’t have to fight!

You can do any one of these on its own, or two, or three, or all four, whatever works.

[Find more exercises, including watching films together, here on the index page for relationship posts] (more…)

Don’t complain about feelings, make requests for actions

Don’t complain about feelings, make requests for actions

Relationships are about love, sex, fun, communication, emergence, transformation.  Whether you travel together for a day or a lifetime, every journey is step by step from this here and now … to this here and now. Communication works best when it is rooted step by step in the here and now. Sometimes the heart invites us to flow with deep currents; still, there is no other moment than now. This post is about keeping communication in the here and now. It is, if you like, a form of relationship meditation or communication mindfulness.

It’s simple and it is useful and it is basic to good communication. The key is grammatically-positive communication. That means that you ask for what you want instead of complaining about what you don’t want.

Far too often, we tell the other person either what we don’t want or don’t like (“I’m not happy about our sex life”, “You spend too much”),  or we ask for vague things like. “I want to feel you want me”, “I want you to respect me.” Mostly this is combined with hurt emotions imported from our own past. Such communication has no root in here-and-now physical life.  At best it goes round in circles. At worst it degenerates into a toxic cycle that can easily sink even a relationship full of love and affection.

This isn’t by any means all there is to intimate communication. But grammatically negative communication is like potholes on a runway, it stops love from flying.

Click here for all “pop songs with truth” posts   ♦   Click here for all relationship and couples posts   ♦    Click here for  all radical meditation posts (more…)

“You Colour Me” by Pocket Universe – deepen your relationship via pop songs

You Colour Me by Pocket Universe – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Here’s a simple exercise to make your relationship deeper.  Listen with your partner to this track (You Color Me by Pocket Universe) – a woman laying it on the line about not being seen straight. Then talk with your beloved about seeing the real person that he or she is, and letting yourself be seen. That’s it, listen and share, and your relating will move a step towards deeper intimacy. 

Click here for all “pop songs with truth” posts   ♦   Click here for all relationship and couples posts   ♦    Click here for  all radical meditation posts
(more…)

“Love, look at the two of us” – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Love, look at the two of us  – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Here’s a fun exercise to make your relationship deeper.  Listen with your partner to “For all we know”, famously covered by the Carpenters. Then talk about it; I’ve also suggested an exercise you could do. That’s it, listen and share, and your relating will move a step towards deeper intimacy.  (More relationship postsmore  pop songs of truth and love)

I got the idea from some great research by Dr. Ron Rogge that newly-wed couples can halve their divorce rate simply by watching and discussing five movies about everyday relating.  I don’t claim any such dramatic results for this playlist of pop songs. But listen together to these tracks, discuss them together, and you will at the least have a more loving understanding of each other.

Click here for all “pop songs with truth” posts   ♦   Click here for all relationship and couples posts   ♦    Click here for  all radical meditation posts (more…)

“Your true colours are beautiful” – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Your true colours are beautiful – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Here’s a fun exercise to make your relationship deeper.  Listen with your partner to Your True Colours are Beautiful by Cindy Lauper, then talk about your true colours; I’ve suggested some topics. That’s it, listen and share, and your relating will move a step towards deeper intimacy.  (More relationship postsmore  pop songs of truth and love) (more…)

If it doesn’t work, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Icon insanity different einsteinIf it doesn’t work, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

“If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” – Anon

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If it doesn’t work, don’t do it. It if works do it more. If it might work, give it a try.” – Anon

“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

OK, you get the message – this post is about trying different things. Particularly it’s about doing what works, not what doesn’t.  Simple, but effective. Obvious, but almost universally overlooked. Do what works for you!  There’s an exercise lower down that page, Moments I’d Like More Of, that I can’t recommend too highly. Not only will it help your relationship a lot. It will immunise you from having to read those silly lists on the internet of “Ten things to improve your relationship.”   You already know this, you just need to trust yourself and do those things more.   [More like this: index page to relationship posts] (more…)

Gurdjieff Sacred Dance: meditation, but the very opposite to silent sitting

Gurdjieff Sacred Dance: meditation, but the very opposite to silent sitting

Gurdjieff sacred dances AmiyoToo often, meditation is presented as: sitting in silence, plus mindful daily actions. This is very incomplete. Sitting in silence suits only some newcomers to meditation. The ones it doesn’t suit feel left out or “I tried meditation and it didn’t work for me.” Really, for beginners, sitting in silence is delightful for the part of each person which is quiet / receptive / passive / allowing. Other exercises are every bit as much meditative, but give delight to our active / engaged / expansive / assertive energy. This “male meditation” is sadly neglected. In this post I’m going to present one very beautiful meditation for the active essence. It’s advanced, indeed difficult, and not for all. Please be assured I’ll explain DIY, active+silent meditations very soon which are dead easy.  But this is so beautiful to watch and to write about that I’ve put it first: Gurdjieff Movements, also called Gurdjieff Sacred Dances. For video links see below on this page. [Click here for all meditation posts] (more…)

“Thank you for hearing me” – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Hawking gratitudeThank you for hearing me – deepen your relationship via pop songs

Here’s a simple and fun exercise to make your relationship deeper.  Listen  with your beloved to Sinead O’Connor singing about gratitude. Then share together things you are grateful about. That’s it, listen and share, and your relating will move a step towards deeper intimacy. 

I got the idea from some great research by Dr. Ron Rogge that newly-wed couples can halve their divorce rate simply by watching and discussing five movies about everyday relating.  I don’t claim any such dramatic results for this playlist of pop songs. But listen together to these tracks, discuss them together, and you will at the least have a more loving understanding of each other. (more…)

Barefoot stress counsellor: a solution-oriented self-help tool

Be realistic miracle colourThe Barefoot Stress Counsellor: a solution-oriented self-help tool

This is a good self-help technique which is different and effective. Its a series of questions you can ask yourself, based on a research-validated method called solution-oriented therapy.  You can do it on your own, or with a friend. The exercise was originally by Chris Evans of the Brief Therapy Practice in London, but I’ve edited it so much over many years I can no longer be sure where what he wrote ends and mine begins – anyway, BIG thank you Chris.

(Click here for all “pop songs with truth” posts   ♦   Click here for all relationship and couples posts   ♦    Click here for  all radical meditation posts)

(more…)

Romantic film lists for the couples self-help exercise

bullet waves 11 washed-out red aa-img030_crGood films to use for the relationship deepening exercise

Here are Dr Ron Rogge’s original lists of films from his research, for use with the movie relationship deepening self-help exercise (explanation and instructions here.)  But you can use any other movies, as long as they feature two people sincerely trying to  solve a relationship issue and show the day-to-day dynamics. So pure romcoms, or films about falling in love, are not necessarily suitable. [Index page to all relationship posts ] (more…)

Snuggle up, discuss films, and save your relationship

Save your relationship – just discuss romantic films

This page is a fun, easy, and effective relationship self-help exercise to bring you and your beloved closer together. You watch five movies and discuss them together – and that’s it. It works. You can help your relationship as easily as that. Give it a go! – click here for instructions lower down on this page.  (And if you enjoy this, please do share it using the links at the bottom.)

It’s based on a great piece of 2014 research from Dr Ron Rogge of the University of Rochester. Couples in the first few years of their marriage  watched five romantic movies together and then discussed them, one a week for five weeks. They halved their divorce rate. Indeed watching movies proved more effective than various kinds of training offered to control groups, including couples conflict management training and acceptance and compassion relationship training.  (more…)

Seven effective first-aid tips for panics and phobias

bullet waves 12 mauve aa-img030First aid for panics, fears and phobias

Here is a first-aid kit for dealing with panics, fears and phobias.

Fear thoughts pop into your mind automatically and you can’t just choose not to have them so that. But you always have at least some choice about whether you focus your attention on them or not.

The more you exercise this choice, the more power to choose your thinking you develop, until you have so much power to choose the calm and the positive that the negative thoughts vanish. The earlier in a panic episode you choose to focus on useful things, the easier it is. It may take several minutes (5 – 10) for doing the things below to take effect, so don’t expect instantaneous change. Persist.

  1. Don’t be afraid of feeling panicky. Panic may be unpleasant, but it won’t kill you, won’t make you ill, won’t last forever, doesn’t mean you are dying, doesn’t mean you are crazy. It’s just a feeling. Remember the ancient Eastern wisdom: “This too will pass.” The more you let yourself feel it, the quicker it will pass.
    If you get into an internal fight: “I MUST NOT PANIC” for any reason at all, you will make things only worse.
  2. Breathe slowly and deeply, making sure the out-breath is longer than the in-breath. Count to four as you breathe in, and six or seven as you breathe out. It is your own breathing and there is no need to let your breathing run away with you – you can choose to breathe slowly.
  3. Recognise that thoughts and images of things going wrong (the plane crashing, falling from a cliff, a spider crawling over you) are not right now, or not right here. Decisively change your focus to things which are physically right here, right now. See (4).
  4. Focus on things which are physically present right here, right now: sounds you can hear, colours you can see. You need to focus to do this and it may take you into a pleasant mildly trance-like state. Make the effort to pull your attention away from the suction of the negative onto simple, obvious, real, physical things.
  5. Don’t say things to yourself like “I mustn’t panic,” “This is terrible,” “I can’t cope” etc. Ask yourself what is useful to say, and say that. For example: “Right now, I am safe,” “I can cope,” “This won’t kill me,” “This may be unpleasant for a short while, but it will pass.”
  6. Pretend that everything is OK. Instead of saying to yourself “Ohmygod! It’s the first flash of panic and it will get worse and worse,” instead say: “Ah, I’m having a twinge of panic. I wonder what will be the first tiny sign that even so, everything is going to be OK?” And look for that sign and focus your attention on it. It may well be the same as (7), or different.
  7. If you focus on the panicky feelings, you set up a feedback loop and make them worse. Instead, feel the place in your body which is already calm and peaceful. There is always such a place. Resolutely choose to place your attention there. (You can do this while you do the 4-6 breathing.) This is just like (4), except that you are focussing on the safe place inside your body right here, right now rather than on everyday sights and sounds which are outside your body right here, right now.
  8. If you know it, EFT is good though not necessary.

 

Depression test score interpretation

A bullets 8 blue flowers on blue aa-img027_crDepression tests – what the scores mean

This page explains the meaning of the scores of the two depression tests found here.  Please read the disclaimers on that page about such tests and about going to your GP if necessary. Be sure to check out these key symptoms of clinical depression which would indicate that you may have a clinical depression and should go to your doctor at once. If you are a teenager or young person, check out this page of helpful suggestions for who to talk to.

(1) Goldberg Depression Test

Add your answers up to give a total between 0 and 90:

  • 54 +     Severe depression
  • 36 – 53 Moderate/severe depression
  • 22 – 35 Mild to moderate depression
  • 18 – 21 Borderline depression
  • 10 – 17 Mild depression
  • 0 – 9     No depression likely

(2) The Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Test (CES-D)

Add your answers up, being careful with the reversed-scoring items, to give a total between 0 and 60.

If your total is more than 16, then the chances are good that you are depressed. This public-domain depression self-test refers to the past week, and a fluctuation of 5 points or more up or down from week to week is significant. But you can also think of longer time periods.