How to Improve Your Relationship in Just 45 Seconds a Day
July 21, 2021 by Lindsay Simon, LMFT, Clinical Director of A Balanced Life
Research shows that happy, long-lasting relationships have at a minimum of a 5:1 ratio of positive encounters to negative throughout the day. Every positive encounter adds to a couples “emotional bank account” which is depleted during a negative interaction at a rate 5 or more times stronger. This is due to the evolutionary trait of humans being vigilant to threats in their environment for survival purposes. I like to tell clients we are built to survive, not to be happy. You can increase your emotional bank account through a large variety of science-backed methods that can be taught and implemented through participating in an evidence-based form of couples therapy.
Here is an example of two ways to improve your emotional bank account, which then leads to a happier and healthier relationship and ability to tolerate negative experiences.
- Give appreciations….all day long.. Throughout the day practice verbalizing all the things your partner does that you appreciate (and for bonus emotional bank account deposits share with them the WHY as well). You want to create a mental habit of “catching your partner doing it right” rather than scanning for threats or what they are doing wrong, which will poison the relationship over time. We want at least 5 appreciations for every 1 complaint (the healthiest relationships are at a 20:1 ratio!).
Example: “Thank you so much for taking the trash out. It helps be feel calmer to see a clean kitchen and it also make me feel like this is a partnership where we help each other out, both of which I appreciate so much, thank you.”
- The 6 second kiss: when you say hello and leave each other, or just because, get in the habit of kissing your partner on the lips for 6 seconds (as long as it is consensual of course;-). Six seconds is how long it takes for oxytocin (the attachment hormone) to release. Oxytocin has the wonderful properties of reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and creating a feeling of connection.
Implementing these two skills can take less than 45 seconds a day, and over time these small interactions add up in your emotional bank account. Relationships are built and strengthened through small interactions throughout the day, not by big occasional gestures. A therapist trained in an evidence-based form of couples therapy can help couples heal and strengthen their relationships based on decades of research.
Are you ready to strengthen your relationship?
If you are interested in learning more to see if a couples therapist at A Balanced Life might help you and your partner improve their relationship, call today to talk to Tara:
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