When we think about wellness, our thoughts often navigate to how we eat, the products we use, and how we exercise. We often think about how we care for ourselves. We may also think about how we care for our loved ones. What we don’t always consider is how our connections with our loved ones, and our significant others, in particular, affect our wellness. We may eat homemade, organic, healthy meals; use only all-natural hair and skin care products; and exercise daily, but still find ourselves feeling discontented. What’s missing? How do you improve your wellness when you’re already eating right, exercising, and nourishing your body?
In The Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin spends a year trying to be happier. She explores many aspects of her life, including her marriage. As a hopeless romantic, I was particularly drawn to this chapter. The chapter illustrates how a person’s actions and perceptions affect their relationships in ways they may not realize. Rubin provides several actions and ideas that can improve a relationship and the happiness of both participants. Below are my favorites.
- Frequent, small, thoughtful actions are more important than rare, grand gestures. As Rubin says, “What you do every day is more important than what you do once in a while.” Dinner, flowers, and movie on Valentine’s Day are great. A surprise lunch every month is better.
- “Being intimate” doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. The author pointed out, “…[some people’s] idea of an intimate moment is a face-to-face conversation, while [others] feel close when they work or play sitting alongside someone.” So the next time you feel underappreciated due to underwhelming interaction, know that it may simply be that the act of “showing interest” means something different to your counterpart than it does to you.
- Give proofs of love. There’s no need to question whether watching TV together means more than just watching TV when we make sure to tell our loved ones how we feel.
- No (or at least less) venting. It might not be possible to never vent, but what we can easily forget is that not everyone is equipped to provide the type of support we need after a bad day. If you feel that your significant other simply doesn’t care, it may actually be that they aren’t sure how to best help you. This can make them feel uncomfortable or inadequate in the situation. If you experience this, carefully consider the subject of your venting. Does it deserve additional attention or might that further upset you about the subject? If it does need attention, talk to a friend you can confide in. Most of us have a least one friend whom we know will give us the response we’re looking for.
When we think about our wellness, we have to include our relationships in those thoughts. Taking a few minutes to examine our actions and perceptions and how they affect our relationships can lead to positive changes. These minor improvements can bloom into a greater appreciation for our partners and increased wellness in our lives.
- Lighten Up
- Be Serious About Play
- Make Time for Friends
- Buy Some Happiness
- Contemplate the Heavens
- Pursue a Passion
- Pay Attention
- Keep a Contented Heart
- Boot Camp Perfect