November is a wonderful time of year to think about all that you have to be thankful for in life. Our 30 Days of Gratitude Guide can help you reflect on all that you have in an effort to extend thankfulness beyond the Thanksgiving holiday.
Even though every relationship has its own strengths and weakness, there are many couples would rank “communication” as a major weakness in their marriage.
Some couples might engage in heated conversations that involve cursing, yelling, and degrading comments while others might give each other the silent treatment. In both instances, the couples are “communicating” but they are not communicating effectively or in the best interest of the relationship.
Conversation is an invitation into someone’s world and a chance to build intimacy in the relationship. So how can we communicate more effectively with our spouse?
This is the first and most critical aspect of a good relationship and good communication. Humility in communication looks like giving your spouse the “benefit of the doubt” that they are trying to hear you, care for you, and respond to you the best way they know-how.
If each person in the relationship humbles themselves to believe that maybe they could improve their communication and that their spouse is not looking for bad intentions in their communication, a lot of ground can be gained by changing our own attitudes.
Engage In Active Listening
In active listening, the person is listening for meaning and feeling and not just content. The listener is not just waiting to respond, but takes on the mindset of “my only job is to hear, understand, and determine how you are feeling and the meaning behind what you are telling me”.
In its most basic form, active listening involves eye contact, listening for inflection in the conversation, and reflecting some basic feelings or words the person is saying to show you are listening. Before responding, summarize what you hear your spouse telling you.
For example, after a hard day, you might summarize and reflect “wow, so your boss yelled at you and you felt frustrated and anxious”. This gives your spouse the opportunity to correct you if you did not get their feeling or meaning correct and shows that not only did you hear their story but you can empathize with them.
Remember: content is only one part. It will be much less effective if you respond by saying “so your boss yelled at you?” It might feel weird at first, but it will do wonders for your relationship.
Set aside uninterrupted time to talk
We all live busy, digital lives but setting aside time each day (or every couple of days if we’re honest), to sit with our spouse and just talk about something meaningful, hopes, dreams, feelings, insecurities, or disappointments is crucial.
In a world where we can text our spouse all day and not have any intimacy or depth in the communication, it is so vital to make eye contact without screens and engage with one another.
If you need help, start by asking a good open-ended question, like…
“What do you like best about our relationship right now?”
“Is there anything you wish was different about our marriage?”
“What is a way I can support you and show you love right now in a meaningful way?”
“Are you struggling with or dreading anything right now?”
The idea is to move beyond the surface-level conversation. Try to connect with your spouse’s thoughts and feelings.
Find time to be with your spouse and do something you enjoy. This will help improve communication and your desire to be with one another. Make time for one another and laugh together! Sometimes, good memories and laughing together really is the best medicine.
Ever notice how time seems to slow down when you’re waiting for something? An hour still consists of 60 minutes but the minutes feel like hours and the hours like days!
Time is constantly passing. However, this concept goes to show that depression and anxiety can really throw off our sense of time. The take us out of the moment (mindfulness) and move us into the realm of “what ifs” and “should haves“.
For those women and couples facing fertility issues, waiting for time to pass is one of the most distressing and challenging hurdles one can face in life.
The two-week wait (generally defined as the time from ovulation to confirmed pregnancy) can really take a toll on your emotional well-being if you are trying to conceive. Women can become hyperaware of their bodies constantly asking themselves, “Am I pregnant?”
Infertility & Mental Wellness
When we talk about infertility treatment, you probably think about physical treatments like IVF, IUI, and other medical options. But, society sometimes neglects the emotional toll infertility can cause. Couples who can’t conceive might be left with feelings of disappointment, anxiety, sadness, and frustration month after month.
Thankfully, there are many treatments that can help struggling women and
couples who need help getting pregnant. These medical appointments and decisions only add to the stress and uncertainty surrounding infertility.
Some women might even feel out of control of their own bodies which can spark continual feelings of loss, sadness, depression, and anxiety.
Infertility By The Numbers
We need to lift the stigma that stands in the way of building families because infertility doesn’t discriminate.
• 7.3 Million: Number of women aged 15-44 who have ever used infertility services: 7.3 million (source CDC)
• Infertility affects men and women equally (source: reporductivefacts.org)
• Twenty-five percent of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to
their infertility (source: reproductivefacts.org)
• Up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking
• Infertility is common. Out of 100 couples in the United States, about 12 to 13 of them have trouble becoming pregnant
It’s important that those facing infertility know where to turn for emotional support during one of life’s toughest challenges. Perhaps you’re heartbroken at yet another negative pregnancy test, and you don’t understand why everyone around you can get pregnant but you haven’t been able to. Maybe you’re struggling with guilt over the choice to terminate a pregnancy and you’re not sure you can forgive yourself or move forward.
Wherever you’re at in your journey of loss, you would want to feel better and, to have the pain go away to make sense of your situation. Therapy could help you process your feelings and thoughts in a safe space with a caring provider that can help you walk through the grieving process.
You don’t have to suffer alone. You can move forward with hope. We’re here for you!
The best way to start your 2019 is in the right direction!
Mental Wellness might not be as popular as dieting or saving money, but it’s just as important to your overall health. With all of the noise surrounding New Year’s resolutions, we’re providing a few tips to help you thrive in 2019…
Focus on baby steps
Don’t get overwhelmed by unrealistic goals! Find a way to take a small step in the right direction instead of a big, unrealistic leap and you’ll be off to a great start.
Try something new
Whether it’s a Pinterest project, new hobby, or journaling, try something new in 2019. New hobbies and activities can spark creativity and encourage growth and connection. Refocusing your energy and efforts on something you enjoy can also give you a much needed boost of self-esteem.
Find the good in life
Even on the worst day, there’s always something to be thankful for. Start there. Laugh more and smile often. Tap into your spiritual side and try things like prayer and meditation for holistic healing.
Spend time with your furry friends
Many studies have shown the benefits of having a pet. Their unconditional love and passion can lower the stress hormone cortisol to boost happiness. Bonus if you can get outside for a walk to enjoy the outdoor companionship together!
Write it down
Stress, happiness, downfalls, and mistakes all happen. Some are easier to get over than others. Also, some people are more resilient than others! Try to journal your day for better or worse. Writing something down can be therapeutic. Make lists to help gain control.
Let our comprehensive wellness team at Foundations Family Therapy help you create a plan mental wellness plan for the entire family in 2019! Start Here