7 of the Best Ways to Keep Your Relationships Positive
Do you know people who look at everything in a negative light? Or someone who struggles with feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, or hopelessness? If so, they could be having troubles with the limbic system in their brain.
What’s the Limbic System?
The limbic system, sometimes referred to as the emotional brain, lies near the center of the brain. From an evolutionary standpoint, the limbic system is an older part of the brain that enables humans to experience and express emotions, helping us move beyond primitive behaviors and facilitating development of the cerebral cortex, the brain’s most recently evolved zone and major processor of our advanced mental functions.
Despite its small size – about that of a walnut – the limbic system is packed with brain circuitry critical for human behavior and survival. It impacts our mood, processes our sense of smell, stores highly charged emotional memories, and affects sleep and appetite cycles.
When the limbic system is less active than normal there’s generally a positive, more hopeful state of mind. When it’s relatively overactive, negativity can take over.
Problems with the limbic system can result in:
- Increased negative thinking
- Gloomy outlook or perception of events
- A flood of pessimistic emotions, such as hopelessness, helplessness, and guilt
- Decreased or abnormally increased sexual responsiveness
- Appetite and sleep problems
- Social isolation
It’s been shown that enhancing emotional bonds between people can help heal the limbic system. How you relate to others can either help or hurt your limbic system. In general, the better you get along with those around you, the better you will feel.
These 7 steps can help lift your mood and keep your relationships positive…
7 Ways to Keep Your Relationships Positive
- Focus on the Positive
This is one of those “easier said than done” tips, but it really is essential for maintaining healthy relationships. It’s easy to notice what you don’t like in a relationship, but when you spend more time appreciating what’s working well, you’ll be more likely to see an increase in positive behavior. Change takes time, but this is one step that can pay off big dividends if you consistently work at it.
- Listen Before You Speak
Instead of trying to convince the other person that your viewpoint is correct, attempt to see things from their perspective. The main objective shouldn’t be to win an argument, but to remove potential threats, address concerns and find common ground with the other person. Building a bridge is the best way to avert a quarrel before it even starts.
- Healthy Community
Social connections can significantly affect your health. Building and maintaining healthy relationships can lead to understanding and respect. When you care for others and feel cared for, your brain tends to release the bonding hormone oxytocin, which can counteract many of the negative effects of stress and low mood. The health habits of the people you spend time with can have a dramatic impact on your own health and habits. So, surround yourself with people who are happy, upbeat, kind and who challenge you to be the best version of yourself.
- Keep Your Cool
Remain levelheaded when voices are raised and tempers flare. Try removing the emotional charge from your conversations by speaking in a calm and caring tone. Be mindful of your comments and make sure your responses are coming from a logical, impartial point of view rather than an emotional, one-sided perspective. Instead of saying something negative or critical try your best to say something positive and constructive. Many times, this approach will result in a positive outcome for you and the other person.
- Help Others Together
Consider volunteering at a homeless shelter, food bank or animal refuge. In addition to being personally gratifying, serving others can alleviate stress, increase health and happiness, and make you feel grateful for the positive things in your life. Volunteering for a cause you believe in can give you something to look forward to and is a great way to find like-minded friends. Doing any of these activities with a partner or in a group can promote bonding and make the experience even richer.
- Deal with Difficult Issues
Whenever you concede a point just to avoid an argument, you give away a little bit of your power. Over time, this loss of control can make you resent the other person. Avoiding conflict in the short run often has devastating long-term effects. In a firm but kind way, express your opinion or concern. This will help keep the relationship open and balanced.
- Remove Negative Influences
Just as it’s important to minimize contact with negative people, it’s also crucial to rid yourself of negative habits that can sabotage your relationships with others. Smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, and all forms of self-abuse can increase your risk of many brain problems, including memory loss, extreme stress and anxiousness, focus and processing issues, poor sleep patterns, and other inappropriate behaviors. Alcohol should be used in moderation. Even one glass of wine or a hard alcohol per day can negatively affect the brain and body. Make it a priority to stop these harmful habits immediately.
Get Support for Mood and Stress
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BrainMD’s supplement formulas are grounded in the latest clinical and scientific research. We optimize the many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients the brain needs to produce the neurotransmitters, brain cell connections, and hormones that can improve your mood and help you cope with everyday stress. These supplements include Serotonin Mood Support, Everyday Stress Relief, GABA Calming Support, and many others.
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