Love, Trust and Snooping

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Love, Trust, and Snooping

Technology may have changed the way we snoop, but the underlying reasons remain the same. How do you balance love and trust with your hunger for more information about the people close to you?

Learn how to deal with snooping in your relationships with your children, romantic partners, and employers.

General Tips for Dealing With Snooping

  1. Understand your motives. Some people meddle out of mere curiosity and others because of anxiety. Often, they’re trying to discover any hidden conflicts so they can fix them.
  1. Communicate openly. Whatever your reason, asking for information is more constructive than snooping. It takes courage to discuss sensitive subjects, but the rewards are profound. You’ll develop greater trust, intimacy, and wisdom.
  1. Recognize the impact of technology. Social media and smart phones make it easier to access personal information. Think twice before you look. Ask yourself how you’d feel if someone did the same thing to you.
  1. Create privacy zones. It’s a personal decision when it comes to what details to share. The important thing is that you and your loved ones are comfortable with the boundaries.
  1. Brace yourself for dramatic news. You may be surprised by what you find out when you snoop. Plan ahead for how you’ll respond if you discover that your child is being a bully.
  1. Apologize when needed. Nosing around can seriously damage relationships. A sincere apology may help to repair the violation of trust. Of course, you’ll also need to change your ways.
  1. Forgive others. If you’re on the receiving end, forgive the intrusion. Even if you decide not to continue the relationship, letting go of resentments is good for your own peace of mind.
  1. Deal with underlying issues. Most of all, examine your relationships when you feel the urge to snoop. Figure out why it’s difficult to approach the person directly and why your trust is shaky.

Tips for Dealing with Snooping Between Adults and Children

  1. Put safety first. Common sense and the law recognize that parenting is a special situation where your actions may be necessary. If a child’s wellbeing is in danger, snooping may be justified.
  1. Give advance notice. It helps to let your kids know that you may check their text messages or enter their rooms. Making them aware may even discourage the behavior you want them to avoid.
  1. Consider the evidence. Ideally, your children will come to you when they’re looking for support. If direct questioning fails to work, you may need to take further action. Watch for signs like changes in behavior, falling grades, and troubling friendships.
  1. Be a positive role model. Children tend to copy their parents. If you communicate directly and respect people’s privacy, your kids are more likely to do the same.

Tips for Dealing With Snooping Between Adults

  1. Understand workplace policies. Privacy rights are very limited in the workplace. Use your own devices for personal communications.
  1. Follow the law. Outside of the workplace, adults enjoy a greater expectation of privacy. At a minimum, check your state laws before doing anything questionable, like recording a phone call.
  1. Discuss expectations. Setting up boundaries and expectations early in a romantic relationship will likely build trust and make for a strong, long-term relationship. Try talking about your values at the start of a relationship. See if you agree on the meaning of fidelity. Check if you’re compatible when it comes to sharing passwords.
  1. Be more transparent. Consider the difference between being private and being secretive. It may be okay to guard your passwords if you have nothing to hide.

The temptation to snoop is natural, but giving in to those impulses can undermine your relationships. Protect yourself by communicating directly and treating others with love and respect.

The Make Up Miracle for Couples Who Argue

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The Make Up Miracle for Couples Who Argue

Conflict is a natural part of every relationship. As much as you love each other, you sometimes find yourself at odds over how to raise your children, pay off your mortgage, or do the laundry. Try these tips for resolving and preventing arguments so you can weather the rocky times and enjoy more harmony.

Steps to Take After an Argument

1) Cool off. If tempers are flaring, you may be better off stepping away until you calm down. Take a walk or clean out a closet. Let your partner know that you’re willing to talk later when you’re less likely to say something that you’ll regret.

2) Look at the big picture. Remind yourself about your partner’s good qualities. List the positive aspects of your relationship. It will help you to keep things in perspective.

3) Apologize when appropriate. Hold yourself accountable for your contribution to the conflict. Ask for forgiveness when you’ve made a mistake.

4) Respect each other’s feelings. You and your partner will be happier if you consider how your actions affect each other. Be willing to spend Valentine’s Day at an overcrowded restaurant if it makes your partner feel special.

5) Reach out. A little reassurance can keep tensions from interfering with intimacy. Offer a hug or a friendly smile.

6) Follow up. Some differences require more than one conversation. Congratulate yourselves for agreeing to cut back on spending on cable TV and new shoes. Agree to weekly sessions for tackling the rest of your household budget.

Steps to Take Before an Argument Begins

1) Communicate openly. Being direct and transparent will help prevent misunderstandings from piling up. Share your inner thoughts and emotions. Ask your partner what they’re thinking instead of making assumptions.

2) Work together as a team. Pull your weight around the house. Divide responsibilities fairly. Take turns leading major projects, such as supervising home renovations or planning family vacations. This is even more important if they’re becoming a burden for one person.

3) Spend time apart. Give each other some space. Your relationship will be more stable if you build a support network rather than counting on your partner for everything.

4) Establish priorities. Distinguish between deal breakers and minor irritations. There’s a big difference between losing an entire paycheck at the racetrack and buying a few too many boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

5) Acknowledge your weaknesses. It’s easier to accept imperfections in your loved ones when you realize that you can be difficult to live with too. Maybe you snore or have trouble remembering anniversaries.

6) Laugh together. Humor is good for relationships. You’ll enjoy each other’s company and feel more connected. That closeness can help prepare you for dealing with serious challenges.

7) Socialize with other couples. Role models come in handy for relationship skills that you may have missed growing up. Spend time with your next door neighbors if they seem to have a strong marriage. Observe how they interact.

8) Seek expert help. Self-help materials and therapists can provide valuable advice. Encourage your partner to join you. Let them know that you want to build a more meaningful life for both of you.

9) Assess your relationship. In some cases, you may discover that it’s time to move on. That can be true if a relationship is undermining your self-esteem or you have different goals. If you need to go your separate ways, an amicable break up will minimize resentments and speed up healing.

Loving relationships require work. Remember how much you care about your partner and let them know it, especially when you disagree with each other.

Are You Holding Yourself Back by Judging Others?

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Are You Holding Yourself Back by Judging Others?

To judge others is to form a critical opinion about them. For example, you may decide that your neighbor down the street is an ineffective parent because she’s known to indulge her children or chooses to avoid disciplining them.

If you notice that you’re spending more time having strong opinions about others than you are thinking about your own life, you may be “copping out” and not confronting your own resolvable issues.

Consider these points:

  1. Avoid focusing on the negative. Focusing on the negative impacts your emotional self in undesirable ways. Negative thoughts make you feel more pessimistic about life. In short, judging others negatively affects you!
  1. Think about how satisfied you are with your own life. When you’re floundering, you might project those feelings onto others by judging them.
  1. Maybe you lack faith in yourself. If you struggle to believe in yourself, maybe you’re reflecting those doubts onto others to avoid confronting your own issues.
  1. Judging others may mean that you want to control the situation. Do you believe that others ought to behave just like you, react to situations like you would, and feel like you do? If so, why do you think that?
  1. Assess how much time and effort you spend focusing on your own character defects. We all have something about ourselves that could stand some alteration. Looking carefully within yourself promotes self-understanding. It also helps you identify what things you’d like to change.
  1. Determine how you can best use your energy. Does judging others or looking within yourself deserve your attention?

• If you target something you dislike in others, what are the chances you can do anything about it?

• If you discover something about yourself you dislike, you can more likely use your energies to change it.

  1. Decide if you’re happy with who you are. Evaluating yourself in an honest way is important. Locating the source of unhappiness within you can lead to a brighter pathway, and decrease your yearning to judge others.
  1. Realize that nobody’s perfect. Being critical of others seems to be a common element of the human condition. Whether we can ever completely obliterate our compelling urges to judge remains to be seen.

• Oprah once said, “When you know better, you do better.” If you recognize that some of your comments spring from a part of you that wants to judge, it can serve as a deterrent to your future judging behavior.

  1. Ask yourself, “How can I live the life I deserve if I’m too focused on others?” Creating your dream existence takes considerable consistency, focus, and time. 
  1. Recognize when it’s okay to acknowledge bothersome traits in others. It’s important to be reminded that there are situations when it’s wise to identify things in others that trouble you.

• Maybe you’re thinking about becoming friends with someone. But then, you observe them engaging in behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable. Your judgment may be telling you to avoid pursuing the friendship.

• Listen to that internal judge at times like these. Just avoid getting carried away with being too judgmental or critical of others.

You can become a vital, positive individual who focuses your efforts on constructing the life you desire. Letting go of the urge to judge others will provide you with the time and energy necessary to enhance your own life’s journey. Tune back in to your own psyche and enjoy a rich life.

4 Easy Ways to Develop Kindness

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4 Easy Ways to Develop Kindness

In a world filled with misery, war, and anger, being kind to your neighbor can sometimes seem like a foreign concept. Whether that neighbor lives directly next to you or in a bus shed two miles away, it’s easy to overlook brotherhood.

However, it’s improbable that you’ll achieve true happiness without taking the happiness of others into consideration.

If you’re struggling with showing kindness, take a step back. It’s important to show love and kindness to others. They’ll live a better quality life, and you’ll receive kindness in return.

Adopt these approaches and see how easily you can develop greater kindness:

1) Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Avoiding someone’s need is a form of unkindness. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What are they feeling? How are they coping?

Would you be able to manage under those same circumstances? Consider how you’d want to be treated by others if you were in a similar situation. This is the best way to understand and appreciate the struggles of others and the value of kindness.

• Even when someone offends you, try to take the high road. Their reaction to you may be fueled by something unknown to you. Give them the benefit of the doubt when you can.

2) Count your blessings. Spend time at the end of each day counting your blessings. Take a look at all the positive things you’ve accomplished. Blessings develop from acts of kindness.

Avoid taking your blessings for granted! Perhaps the source of the kindness is unknown to you. It could simply come from the universe. But know that it’s given to you with your best interest at heart.

• For every act of kindness you’ve been blessed with, try to pay it forward. If you count twenty blessings today, be kind to others twenty times. After a while, you’ll automatically be kind to others.

3) Choose a sharing partner. Ask a friend or family member to become your sharing partner. Commit to sharing every tangible gift or blessing with that person.

Develop the spirit of wanting others to experience the same kindness that you do.

If you buy yourself a slice of cake, split it with your sharing partner. The first few times might be rough, especially if it’s your favorite cake! But keep at it!

• Spend time sharing stories of kindness received from others. Reflecting on these situations can help you feel grateful for everything good in your life. It also encourages you to share with those in need.

4) Smile at everyone you meet. As strange as it sounds, there’s a special power in a smile. Try it out and see for yourself!

Just like every other positive trait, developing consistent kindness takes work. This is especially true if it’s a new concept to you! So take it one day at a time. Conquer your desire to turn a blind eye. Avoid the urge to say something mean. Take the high road, listen to your conscience, and follow your heart!

The Art of Decision Making: Tips on Making Decisions You Can Live With

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The Art of Decision Making: Tips on Making Decisions You Can Live With

Making decisions in our lives–whether it’s what to eat for lunch or where to find your next job– can seem overwhelming. Each decision carries with it a result and a chain of events that may dictate the course of our lives.

For those of us who consider every decision as life or death, day-to-day decisionscan seem impossible!

To help you discover the finer points of decision-making, here are some valuable tips on how you can make decisions that you can live with every day:

  1. Map out your decision. Start by evaluating the decision to be made. What are the details? By mapping out exactly what your decision will entail as far as consequencesand results, you’ll be on your way to making an informed decision that you can live with.
  1. Weigh pros and cons. This process is tried and true. Make a list and evaluate the pros in one column against the cons in another. Include short and long term consequences as well as positives and negatives.

Seeing the pros and cons before you on paper will make the matter at hand seem all the more evident as far as how you should make your decision. In your evaluation, give more weight to the pros and cons that carry more weight in your life.

  • The quantity of pros or cons does not equal the quality.

For example, if one of your main priorities in life is to make more money, listing “make more money” on your pros column should count for more than one of the cons in the other column.

  1. Become informed. Find out all of the related information you need to make your decision. Being better informed through research or talking to others will help you make a decision you can live with.
  1. Consider your motives. While evaluating your list of pros and cons, consider what motives may be contributing to the points you added in both columns. Revise or weigh accordingly. For example, can the con on your list be attributed to your lifelong fear or is it merely situational?
  • In the case offears, perhaps facing your fears should be part of the decision.Facing the fear may be a pro as opposed to the fear being a con.
  1. Give yourself a deadline.When faced with an important decision, we tend to delay making the ultimate choice. By giving yourself a deadline, you will have no other choice than to decide one way or another.
  1. Look at the decision as part of the bigger picture. Is this a small or large decision in the course of your life? Decide which and evaluate accordingly. If it’s small, perhaps you’re spending too much time and consideration on it. If it’s larger, how will it fit in with the rest of your life goals?
  • By examining the decision for what it is in the short and long-term, youwill better understand how the decision affects the bigger picture.
  1. Recognize the relativity. Many tough decisions can carry with them irrevocable consequences, but more often than not, there is always more time and more opportunity to make the decision again. Worrying needlessly about one decision is futile.
  • Most decisions only determine your short-term circumstances in the relative present. In most cases your decision can be altered in the future when circumstances are different or you’re in a different stage of your life.

Following these tips can transform decision-making from a stressful process into a process that gives you more confidence and control in your life.

Embrace decisions as the good thing that it is, and the result will be a happier, more confident you!

Eight Ways to Give Your Self-Confidence a Boost

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Eight Ways to Give Your Self-Confidence a Boost

Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Do you feel powerless to change yourself into the confident person you deserve to be?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, the good news is that strengthening your self-confidence is atask you really can accomplish with a little know-how and some easy strategies to show you the way. As you’ll soon find out, some of these strategies are even fun!

Although your metamorphosis may not happen overnight, if you apply these strategies consistently, you’ll be able to build up your self-confidence a little more each day. Make it a point to implement at least one confidence-boosting techniqueevery day.

Soon, these techniques will become habits, and your spirits will soar as your self-confidence rises to new heights.

Use these effective strategies to give your self-confidence a boost:

  1. Have realistic expectations. Even though it’s important to aim high in life, if your expectations are totally unrealistic, you’ll never know what it feels like to reach your goals. However, when you routinely succeed with realistic goals, it brings you great confidence.
  • Tweak your expectations until you find a sweet spot where you’re still pushing yourself, but you’re also able to achieve. Once you know what it feels like to accomplish your goals, you’ll feel more confident that you can achieve whatever you set out to do.
  1. Surround yourself with positive people. They have a contagious, positive energy that lifts you up and encourages you, while negative people tend to bring you down and destroy your confidence. Build up your confidence by hanging around with positive people who make you feel good!
  1. Develop your skills and talents. Perhaps your self-confidence suffers because you feel unsure about your abilities. Everyone, including you, has certain skills and talents that showcase the things they do well. Keep developing these talents and you’ll find that your self-confidence will grow as you excel in these areas.
  1. Stick up for yourself. When others speak out against you, remember that those words are simply their opinion. Your opinion is just as important. When you do what you know is right for you, feel confident that you’ve made the right decision, regardless of how others may feel.
  1. Exercise or engage in physical games. Physical activities and exercise can calm you down and provide many benefits to your mind and body. When you engage in regular exercise, you feel more upbeat, which in turn makes you feel better about yourself as well.
  1. Reward yourself when you achieve. When you’ve accomplished something in your life, whether big or small, it’s important to pause and reward yourself. If you go out of your way to make yourself happy, you’ll feed your drive to persevere and succeed.
  1. Use positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are a great way to boost self-confidence. They allow you to communicate with your subconscious mind, strengthening your confidence one thought at a time. Check out your local bookstore or online for some effective confidence-building affirmations.
  1. Avoid dwelling on the past. If you keep your past self-confidence issues in mind, it will be more difficult for you to get over them. Your past certainly doesn’t have to be your future. Focus on the present moment, with pleasant thoughts about your future. Picture everything going well.

You’ll soon find that there are endless ways to boost your self-confidence. And remember: If there’s something you want to pursue in life, go after it with all your heart and feel confident that success will be yours!

Keeping Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

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Keeping Healthy Boundaries in Relationships

It’s important to implement and maintain healthy boundaries in your relationships. Think of boundaries as invisible lines you draw around your feelings, wants, and needs in a relationship. Those limits delineate where your feelings and emotions end and your friend’s or partner’s feelings begin.

Healthy boundaries ensure that each of you are equally entitled to experience and express your own feelings in the relationship. When good boundaries exist, there’s no fear of reprisal in openly and honestly expressing genuine feelings to the other. Regardless of the nature of the relationship-friendship or love-keeping healthy boundaries can only deepen the connection between people.

Case Scenario: An Illustration of How Boundaries Develop in a New Relationship

Tina is newly single and had a date last week with Chris. She enjoyed his company. Chris said he’d call Tina in a week. The week went by with no call.

A few days later, there’s a knock at Tina’s door. It’s Chris. He wants to come in. Tina detects a light odor of alcohol, which only multiplies the discomfort she feels about his surprise visit.

Tina doesn’t know Chrisvery well and would prefer he not come in. What does Tina do? What would you do?

A. She lets him in.

B. She hesitates at first, but he convinces her to let him come in.

C. Tina tells him a “story” about how herparents are expecting her any minute and she has to leave now. Therefore, he can’t come in, so he leaves abruptly.

D. She informs him that she’s uncomfortable with his unannounced visit and isn’t going to let him in. Tina uses a non-threatening tone and tells him she hopes he understands. He’s disappointed but agrees to leave and says he’ll call Tina tomorrow.

Choice Discussion

Choice A doesn’t demonstrate healthy boundaries. Why? Because Tina felt uncomfortable and her preference was that Chris not come in. However, Tina ignored her feelings and accepted what Chris wanted instead.

Choice B alsoillustrates less-than-healthy boundaries. With B, Tina’s in about the same situation as A. In essence, Tinanoticedher own feelings (represented by her brief hesitance). Ultimately, she didn’t make her decision based on them. Instead, she allowed another person – Chris- to “step on” her boundary and convince her to behave as he wanted.

Choosing C showsTina was at least able to respect her own feelings of not wanting Chris to enter her home. Tina’s boundaries could be stronger but at least, she ultimately didn’t let him in.

Choice D demonstrates firm and healthy boundaries.Tina was open and honest about how she felt and confident about her feelings and decision not to invite Chris inside.

Case Analysis

This example illustrates what can happen at the beginning of a relationship if poor boundaries exist. Choices A or B early on set an unclear boundary and thus adversely affect the life of the relationship if not addressed. In essence, how you demonstrate (or don’t demonstrate) your emotional boundaries will determine if and how a relationship progresses.

On the other hand, responding with Choices C or D shows healthier boundaries. Those choices show you acknowledge and act on your own feelings, even though doing so could make the other person a little uncomfortable or even angry. When you validate your own feelings and the other’s as well, you can experience an honest, respectful relationship.

Examine Boundaries in Your Relationships

Take a moment to think about boundaries you have in your relationships. Do you tend to ignore your own feelings and go along with whatever the other person wants? Can you speak up about your feelings? Do you appropriately state when something will not “work” for you? Do you ask for what you need in a relationship and obey your own internal limits?

Keeping healthy boundaries in relationships is a positive step toward discovering the fulfilling relationships you want.Focus on making choices in relationships based on your genuine feelings. Doing so will bring you the passionate, sharing and caring relationships you seek.

What is Co-Dependence and How Can It Stifle You?

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Everyone has likely heard the term co-dependence. But what does it really mean? When you get into a relationship, chances are you depend on your partner for certain things. This is to be expected and it’s part of the trust you build. However, you don’t want to lose your independence completely.

What Is Co-Dependence?

Co-dependency is a learned behavior that’s usually passed down from other family members. It is often described as losing yourself in your relationship. If you’re co-dependent you’d likely cover up the actions of others for relief in the short term, even if it’s a bad move in the long term.

Co-dependent people often don’t listen to their true selves and end up covering up negative emotions with destructive actions. They are more likely to develop problems with alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and more.

Are You Co-Dependent?

You might wonder if you just have a co-dependent tendency every once in awhile, or if you’re completely co-dependent all the time. In order to figure out whether you’re co-dependent or not, it might help to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you find it hard to adapt to change?
  • Are you worried about the opinions of others including close family members?
  • Do you tend to avoid an argument at all costs?
  • Do you make excuses for loved ones?
  • Do you feel lonely or ignored when your loved ones spend time with others?
  • Do you find it hard to express yourself?
  • Do you have trouble telling others “no”?
  • Do you often feel ashamed about your inner feelings?

While your answer can be yes to one or a few of these questions without being co-dependent, you should now have a better idea about how a co-dependent person feels. Deep down you likely know whether or not you have a true problem with co-dependence. If you do, it’s in your best interest to seek out professional help. There are counselors available that are specially trained in the area of co-dependency.

How Co-Dependence Affects Your Life

Co-dependence can affect your life greatly and affect your partner and others around you. Of course the affects will be of varying degrees.

Let’s say your partner battles a common, yet debilitating problem such as alcoholism. When they have a slip up, your co-dependent nature may wish to just cover up the slip up and just hope it’s a one-time deal. You’d make decisions like lying to others about whether or not it happened, helping your partner sober up quickly, or calling into work for your partner and claiming that they’re just sick.

You can now see how this decision just makes things “better” in the short run. It’s the easy way out and your partner won’t have to face anything difficult. They’ll be happier in the moment because you’re not causing them any immediate stress.

However, in the long run the problem is just going to continue and snowball. While it may not be the popular decision, you’ll need to learn how to stand up to your partner and strive for what you believe is right deep down.

Become More Independent

There are ways you can learn to be more independent. In the above example, you’ll know that you need to have the difficult conversations with your partner. You need to help them decide that they need to get over their problem once and for all.

You then need to decide that you’re going to concentrate on yourself. You need to know that your relationship with your partner is not all about them and their own problems. It’s about you, too.

Take the time to think about your long-term goals and what makes you happy.Remember that you must be able to stand on your own two-feet without shame, guilt, fear, or worry!

How to Banish Negative Thoughts

Who doesn’t have negative thoughts now and then? But what if you had a negative thought which was pervasive and constant? Would you know how to get rid of it? Fortunately, there are many methods available to get rid of incessant negative chatter in our heads.

Here is an effective step-by-step process that will work if you use it regularly. As our ongoing example in this process, we’ll use the negative thought, “I’m too dumb to do anything right.”

  1. Turn the thought into a mental image. Imagine looking and acting completely silly. Create the most exaggerated image of yourself you can. Start by envisioning yourself in ridiculous clothes that don’t match.
  • Maybe you’re also banging your head against the wall or doing other foolish things. You could also be shouting silly phrases that don’t make any sense. The image should be clearly visible on your mental screen. Include sounds, smells, and physical sensations as well. Keep at this until the original thought brings up this new image.
  1. Choose an alternative thought. For our example, a good replacement thought would be, “I’m so intelligent I can do anything.” Choose something that is the opposite of the original negative thought. Select a phrase that feels right to you, through your whole body.
  1. Turn the new, positive thought into a mental image. You might imagine yourself dressed like Albert Einstein, shouting, “I’m brilliant. I can do anything.” Again, make the image outrageous. Keep at it until the positive thought automatically brings up that image.
  1. Link the two images together. Now, imagine a way to get from your negative image to your positive image. This is almost like you’re the director of a movie; you want to find a way to connect the opening and the closing scenes.
  • Perhaps in the first scene, you could imagine the image of the “dumb” version of yourself being struck by lightning and catching on fire. Then the new, Albert Einstein version of you rises from the ashes and goes into his “I’m brilliant. I can do anything” routine.
  • Keep practicing until you run the entire scene in your mind quickly, with no hitches. This should take fewer than 2 seconds from start to finish.
  1. Test out your new mental connections. When you think the original negative thought, the entire scene should flash through your mind. Your mental process should end with the moment where you’re thinking, “I’m so brilliant. I can do anything.” If you’re not there yet, repeat Step 4 until you are. Although this may seem silly to you, this is a common mnemonic technique. The imagery must be outrageous. This makes your memory’s work much easier.

Also, play around with the perspective. Most people find it helpful to view everything in the third person, as if they were spectators watching themselves in a movie. But you may prefer imagining things from a first-person perspective, in which everything happens to you, as it would in everyday life. Try both perspectives to determine which works better for you.

If you systematically deal with all your negative thoughts, you’ll eventually find that you have very few left. Imagine how your life could change! What might you do that you’ve always been too afraid to try? Now you’ll have the courage to do just that. Powered by TCPDF (

Texting and Relationships: Good, Bad, or In Between?

Even in our closest relationships, we’re often likely to talk by text rather than face to face these days. A recent study of these short messages shows their impact on how we communicate with the people we care about most. Researchers at Brigham Young University surveyed couples in committed relationships. They discovered that some things are better off being discussed in person.

The major findings included men reporting less relationship satisfaction due to excessive texting. For women, dissatisfaction arose when text was used to apologize or manage complex relationship issues and differences.

The good news is that everyone liked sharing endearments by text. If you want your texts to reduce stress and bring you closer together with your loved ones, try these mobile communication tips.

Steps to Take with Your Loved Ones:

  1. Be gentle. It can be tempting to say things by text that you would soften if you were talking to someone in the same room. Imagine how you would feel if you were on the receiving end.
  1. Address conflicts directly. Using text to avoid an argument tends to backfire. Discussing sensitive issues works better when you can see each other and respond accordingly. If your partner already looks remorseful about forgetting your anniversary, you’ll know it’s time to drop the subject.
  1. Apologize in person. Asking for forgiveness becomes more meaningful when you make a personal appearance. You’ll also be in a better position to prevent any further misunderstandings.
  1. Listen to each other. Give each other your full attention. Watch for facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal cues.
  1. Put your phone away. Except for emergencies, set your phone aside when you have company. Focus on the people around you.
  1. Ask for a recess. It’s easy for a conversation to escalate when you’re texting back and forth. If things are getting too heated, suggest tabling the subject until you can get together later.

Steps to Take Yourself:

  1. Count your texts. Other studies suggest that frequent texting causes stress. Try to limit yourself to 50 texts or fewer each day.
  1. Set a curfew. Late night texting can interfere with your rest and peace of mind. Plus, the lighted screen makes it harder for you to fall asleep.
  1. Slow down. Many people feel pressured to reply immediately to every message. Give yourself time to think before writing back. Schedule a few times a day to check messages instead of constantly having one eye on your phone.
  1. Clarify your language. Text is better suited to simple updates like what time to meet up for lunch. If you need to talk about something more complex, read it over to check for any wording that could cause confusion.
  1. Express your love. Everyone is a winner when you share your affection. The BYU study found that the people sending loving messages reported being even happier than the partner who received them.
  1. Send a letter. When you have something special to say, an old fashioned letter may spread more joy than any text. Surprise your parents with a greeting card or slip a love note into your spouse’s pocket.
  1. Hit delete. Holding onto electronic messages from your insurance company may come in handy in a dispute. When you’re texting with your loved ones, it’s better to let go of resentments than to archive them.

Overall, texting is great when you want to say something nice to each other. On the other hand, wait until you’re face to face to talk about the serious stuff. Look at texting as a supplement to talking rather than a replacement.