27 September, 2021
The Secret to Happier Relationships
We all seek to know the secret to a happy and healthy relationship. Healthy relationships support psychological well-being, physical health and help create happiness and purpose in each of us. Knowing what changes, you can make can help improve your relationship regardless of how good or bad it currently feels.
The health of our relationships affects each of us and our children in a variety of ways. As parents, our well-being, and our children’s well-being, can be damaged or can thrive. The quality of the parent’s relationship directly affects each individual within the family system, including the children. In the family’s complex structure, understanding elements supporting the parents’ relationship can have tremendous benefits.
How to have relationship happiness
A therapeutic approach to wellness encourages mindfulness, self-awareness, perspective-taking, value adherence, and persistent action toward one’s goals. The aim is to promote psychological flexibility, the mental skills that enable people, even in the most stressful circumstances.
This flexibility helps people to:
- be open and accepting of both the good and the bad in their lives
- live within the present
- gently experience challenging feelings and thoughts before letting them go
- seeing the big picture instead of focus on only the problem or issue
- live a life with value and consistency
- eliminate the negative from thoughts on the future
- increase resilience in the quest of life goals
Those with Psychological inflexibility tend to have rigid responses that can escalate negativity. Hence, psychological inflexibility can be considered a vulnerability in the face of stressful events. People who have greater psychological flexibility are more proficient and flexible, thereby adapting to life stress and pressures without conflict and aggression.
Evidence suggests psychological flexibility benefits us all
Being Psychologocially flexible helps create:
- Relationship satisfaction. People with more psychological flexibility tend to experience more relationship satisfaction
- Sexual satisfaction. Lower levels of psychological flexibility tend to predict lower sexual satisfaction with distraction and inattentiveness being displayed
- Conflict and aggression. Those who feel angry or frustrated often experience negative conflict due to inflexible thinking and behavior. Inflexible partners tend to experience more physical aggression (e.g., pushing, slapping) and negative conflict (e.g., anger, aggressiveness).
Psychological flexibility enhances everyday experiences with:
- Improved family connection. Living in the moment, as opposed to being distracted and inattentive, creates greater family cohesion and less conflict.
- Flexible parenting style and parent-child interactions. Parents with more psychological flexibility tend to have more adaptive parenting; they are sensitive and responsive when responding to their children.
- Lower parenting stress. Psychological flexibility enables parents to respond more successfully to challenges with less stress
- Enhanced child well-being. When parents have more psychological flexibility, they show more attentiveness and react to their children flexibly and without judgment. Children of flexible parents show fewer internalising symptoms such as anxiety and fewer externalising symptoms like aggressiveness compared to those whose parents have more rigid and inflexible styles.
Psychological flexibility may be a key ingredient in high-quality relationships and optimum family functioning. Flexibility is something we can cultivate with education and a desire to achieve. Mindfulness can be practised individually, and it has the potential for supporting healthier responses to daily stressors. Flexible psychological practices appear helpful in supporting flexible responses to children, which then benefit all areas of the family system.
In an age when stress is frequently with us all, where phones / work / technology / social media are ready distractions and always present, finding ways to stay in the moment, accept feelings and thoughts as they occur and pass, and keep our eye on the main goal for happiness and connection, are more essential than ever. You really no longer need to carry them, why not get rid of them now.