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Nine Minutes A Day to Strengthen Your Relationships.

The world is still reeling from COVID-19 and the strict new guidelines of proper social etiquette. It is difficult to emotionally connect with someone when you are not allowed to touch them, and sometimes cannot see most of their face. We are all adjusting to the new and needed guidelines that keep our physical health safe. In the meantime several people are noticing a severe decline in their emotional intimacy with friends and partners.  There is an innate desire for us to connect with people around us, and yet people are having a difficult time doing that these days.

May I suggest a nine minute daily exercise for you to participate in that can strengthen your relationship with your partner, children, and friends? Everyday, we have several times in which we say hello and goodbye to someone. In the morning, we say hello for the day to our children and if we have one, our partner. We say goodbye when we leave for work or school. Hello, again, when we come back from school or work. And goodbye, again, when we go to bed. With friends at work we have the hello when we arrive, and when we leave. With the people that live in your house: I challenge you to make good morning an event. Look your children and spouse in the eyes and give them a hug. Ask them how they slept. Try and connect on a physical and emotional level. It will only take three minutes. When your kids or spouse gets home from school and work do the same thing. Look them in the eyes, give them a hug, and ask them how their day was. Sit and listen to them. It will take about three minutes. Before you go to bed look your spouse and children in the eyes and hug them. Ask them what their favorite part of the day was. It will take about three minutes. We are now up to nine minutes of connection time you have just had with your spouse or children. That makes a huge difference in feeling connected to someone! It will add a special dimension to your relationships with your spouse and children. Sometimes it may take longer, than nine minutes, but the reward will be well worth it.     

The same can be done with co workers. Instead of greeting someone with a quick hello, stop and be physically and emotionally present. You cannot get close to them, and often a mask will be in the way. You can still connect with that person! Look them in the eyes. Ask them how they are doing and lean in, showing that you care and you are interested in what they are saying. When you leave to go home, check in with those co workers. Take a few minutes to again, ask them about plans for the evening. Ask them about their children, spouse, or hobby. This may seem like an easy task, but again one that will reap great rewards as you connect emotionally with the people you work with. 

As always, watch your own emotional health. People all over the world are feeling disconnected from each other. If you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed, there is always help out there for you! Good luck as you try out this new social experiment of connection!

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Skip The Chocolates, Give Your Spouse What They REALLY Want!

With Valentine’s Day having just passed you might have experienced a complete victory in gift giving or an epic fail. The year provides many opportunities to make it up to your significant other. This year you can’t go wrong by breaking with tradition and giving your significant other the gift s/he really wants – a gift that will keep on giving for years to come – the gift of love, support, and connection. “Hold Me Tight” Couples Workshop starts Tuesday, March 5 at Wasatch Family Therapy. This highly effective, scientifically based eight week class teaches couples that the way to enhance a good relationship or to save a troubled one is to be open, attuned, and responsive to each other’s needs. You and your spouse will gain insight into defining moments in your relationship and skilled marriage therapists will guide you in reshaping these moments to create a secure and lasting bond.

Get more information or register now!

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6 Tips For Making Time For Your Relationship When There Is No Time

This is the time of the year to say goodbye to summer and hello to increasing responsibilities and the longer ‘to-do’ lists.  Here are some tips on keeping the love alive while the pile up continues to grow.                                                                                                                         
Hourglass

  1. Use Technology to Your Advantage – we have technology buzzing all around us.  Why not use it to your advantage?  Sending a quick text, an email, a chat or a phone call can take just a few seconds but can send an important message – I am thinking about you and I love you.  If you can’t seem to remember to do this try putting an alarm on your phone for random times during the day to remind you until it becomes a habit.
  2. Prioritize and Plan Ahead – When the ‘to-do’ list gets longer we often get lost in the have to, want to, and should do’s, but the clarity of which tasks are the highest priorities seem to get a little cloudy.  It is important to prioritize what is important… your relationship.  Plan ahead for a date night during the month or week and stick to it.  Get the babysitter well in advance and don’t change it.  Even if something comes up it sends a powerful message to yourself, your partner and others when you say no because your relationship with your significant other is more important.  When things are planned ahead of time they usually come to fruition rather than just saying, “when we have time” because you likely will not have extra time.
  3. Keep Rituals – we should all have a few rituals in our relationship, a kiss before leaving, a couple of minutes after work talking, a glass of warm milk at night together, pillow talk before bed… whatever your rituals are, keep them going.  Most of the rituals couples develop are not time consuming, but if you do not remember to do them they quickly get lost in the noise of busyness.  Rituals tell your partner you are there, and there is stability in the relationship, something to count on.
  4. Do not let emotions slide – One of the first things I see slide when we are busy, is emotional connection.  You don’t have time to sit down, let alone talk about your feelings, right?  Wrong… this is the time you need emotional connection the most.  When life is busy and chaotic it is essential to feel close to your partner.  It gives you a sense of support and confidence that is unique and allows you to focus on whatever you have to do.  When we feel emotionally connected we do not need to spend time and energy worrying about the woes of the relationship.
  5. Accomplish tasks together when possible (be creative) Whenever you can check off a task from the list together and make it time for the two of you it can increase closeness.  So, if you have to run errands do it together, make dinner and talk about your day at the same time, even working side by side on your computers can be fun and relationship enhancing if you make it that way.
  6. Be Flexible – We are often told to divide and conquer but sometimes just being flexible is better for the relationship.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Jamiesrabbits

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Ask A Therapist: My Husband Takes No Responsibility and Moves From Job To Job

Q: I need help! My husband takes no responsibility and jumps from the one job to the next. I have a lot of financial stress on me as I have supported him and his two children for more than a year when he was without a job. Now he is in the same predicamment. When he does have a job it is as if he doesnt care and blames the job if they find fault with him. I cannot handle this anymore. What must I do?

A: I am glad you reached out.  I think you would be surprised to know how many feel they are in a similar situation, especially in the last several years with the economic downturn.  It can often be draining and difficult to feel like you must support everyone, or all the weight is on your shoulders, especially when you would like to share, or expect to share the load.

From your question it sounds like something is going on for your husband, however the reason for this bouncing from one job to the next could be a result of several different sources.  It may be that your husband is trying to defer some insecurity in himself outwardly onto his employers.  When people do not feel confident in their own abilities, and perform accordingly, it is easier to put the blame on someone else.  Or, it is possible that these behaviors could result from depression or anxiety.  There are many possibilities, but the result often indicates that something is going on below the surface.

My recommendation for you, if you feel comfortable with this and think it would go well with your husband, would be to have some conversations discussing your desire to have a partnership in the marriage.  Discuss how you would like to share the financial drains and how you are feeling about the situation (try to stay with yourself and your own feelings).  I would stress your desire to feel a companionship with him.

I would also recommend seeking some professional help.  It seems from your comments that this stress may be affecting your ability to connect with your spouse.  When you cannot connect, the stressors often feel more overwhelming.  Obtaining professional help should not only help your relationship with your husband and your ability to communicate these stressors with him, but also discuss whatever insecurities/depression/anxiety, etc may be present for him that may be getting in the way of being successful in his employment.

Good luck and take good care of yourself,

Chelsea Madsen

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Creating an Emotionally Hot Marriage

In episode 008 “Creating an Emotionally Hot Marriage” on You And Yoursself & relationship expert and therapist Julie Hanks, LCSW shares tips to create and keep a strong emotional connection in your marriage relationship.

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Self & relationship expert Julie de Azevedo Hanks, LCSW is wife of 22 years and mother of 4, a performing songwriter, a licensed psychotherapist, a popular media contributor, and director of Wasatch Family Therapy. Watch Julie on KSL TV’s Studio 5, listen on B98.7 radio, and read her national advice columns on Psych Central, and Latter-day Woman Magazine. Follow Julie on Facebook & Twitter.


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Keeping Your Marriage Emotionally Hot!

It’s easy for couple’s emotional connection can get lost in the busyness of life.  I recently interviewed for this SheKnows article with tips on how to keep your emotional relationship sizzling!

Hanks also recommends that couples “check in” with each other on a daily basis. “Develop a daily emotional ‘check in’ ritual with your spouse or partner,” she explains. “Not only check in with their overall emotions, but specifically about your emotional connection. Do you feel close and open? Distant and withdrawn? Or somewhere in between?”

Read more  Stay Connected: Keep Your Marriage Emotionally HOT!

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