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February 26, 2013

How Happy Couples Behave

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

 

wallpaper 968975 1024x640 How Happy Couples Behave

It is not a coincidence that happy couples share many of the same behavioral patterns. Often we think that being happy means we have fun sharing the same hobbies or doing everything as a couple. While sharing activities enhances relationships, the most important components to successful relationships is found in how the individuals within the couple treat each other, and in large part it has to do with communication and behavior. Listed below are some of the most important aspects of having a successful relationship with your significant other.

  1. Friends – Being friends and genuinely liking your partner is one of the most important components of a happy and successful relationship. If you don’t like the other person, how can you truly love them?
  2. Enjoying your friend and partners company – Laughter is not only good medicine but it is also the glue that binds relationships and creates memories. Laughing together and even crying together is meaningful in good relationships.
  3. Be spontaneous – All of us have preferences, likes and dislikes. To be spontaneous about trying new food, travel plans, places to visit and so forth we expand our personal horizons and show respect for our spouse’s or partner’s preferences as well. Life is more interesting if we can be spontaneous together!
  4. Have your own life - Developinga healthy relationship is about two independent and emotionally mature individuals joining company to share their lives together. Sometimes our needs can become interjected into our relationship in a way that creates a co-dependent dynamic and this can derail happiness in an intimate relationship.
  5. Be Fully, Purely Present to Your Partner – It has been said that there is not greater gift than our full, complete presence to another. By being authentically interested and attentive to the other person is a hallmark of a healthy, happy relationship.
  6. Show and express affection – Physical touch is an important part of happiness and fulfillment in relationships. Couples will often express that just holding hands or sharing affection with their partner is the very important part of their feeling loved and cared for.
  7. Be caring and kind – It cannot be stated enough that kindness, compared with criticism or complaints, is one of the most attractive things about another person. When we are kind not only do we feel good about our behavior but the person we are in relationship with feels good about our behavior as well.
  8. Be Honest – If we give our partners a sense that we are devoted and loyal to them and they provide that for us, we create the foundation of a truly lasting and loving relationship. Many times marriages or relationships break up because of trust issues. Trust is the foundation of a all good interactions.
  9. Be committed – When we are committed to someone it means that we are there for them and we can be counted on to support them and be there in times of need. This is what we all want from our relationships and in order to get that we need to give that as well.
  10. Communicate – By actively communicating with your partner on an ongoing basis you can avoid many of the problems that arise in relationships before they occur. By being proactive and checking in with each other on a regular basis to see how things are for the other person, this will go a long way is preventing and avoiding conflicts and unmet needs.

Creating and sustaining a loving, trusting and lasting relationship is one of the most fulfilling experiences most of us long for and look forward to. While it is not a complicated process it does require awareness and cultivation, just like raising a child or growing a garden. If we keep the weeds from infiltrating the flow beds we can enjoy the uninterrupted beauty of our longed for relationship and reduce the work and wear and tear that neglect can produce. Relationships take time, caring and commitment, but they are truly worth it. For a free download on communication skills for enhanced relationships visit www.changingbehavior.org. 

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January 27, 2013

Love Can be Fattening

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

11259411 overweight fat woman on the weight scale Love Can be Fattening

I ran across a great article, written by Nicholas Bakalar, about a study that was published on the relationship between the weight gain of women who live with a mate in comparison to women who do not. Rather than excerpt material from the article, I would like to share it with you in is entirety. Hope this information is useful for you or someone you know.

Study Says Women With Mate Get Heavier
by Nicholas Bakalar

It is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a mate put on more pounds than those who live without one.

The differences, the scientists found, were stark.

After adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner. The number of women with a baby but no partner was too small to draw statistically significant conclusions.

There is no reason to believe that having a partner causes metabolic changes, so the weight gain among childless women with partners was almost surely caused by altered behavior. Moreover, there was a steady weight gain among all women over the 10 years of the study.

This does not explain the still larger weight gain in women who became pregnant. The lead author, Annette J. Dobson, a professor of bio-statistics at the University of Queensland in Australia, suggested that physiological changes might be at work.

“Women’s bodies may adjust to the increased weight associated with having a baby,” Dr. Dobson said. “There may be a metabolic adjustment that goes on when women are pregnant that is hard to reverse. This would be more consistent with our findings than any other explanation.”

The study covered more than 6,000 Australian women over a 10-year period ending in 2006.

At the start, the women ranged in age from 18 to 23. Each woman periodically completed a survey with more than 300 questions about weight and height, age, level of education, physical activity, smoking status, alcohol consumption, medications used and a wide range of other health and health care issues.

By the end of the study, published in the January issue of The American Journal of Preventive Medicine, more than half the women had college degrees, about three-quarters had partners and half had had at least one baby. Almost all of the weight gain happened with the first baby; subsequent births had little effect.

Also by the end of the study period, there were fewer smokers and risky drinkers than at the beginning, more women who exercised less and a larger proportion without paid employment.

But even after adjusting for all of these factors and more, the differences in weight gain among women with and without babies, and among women with and without partners, remained.

Despite the study’s limitations — weight was self-reported, for example, and the sample size diminished over time because people dropped out — other experts found the results valuable.

“It’s interesting and brings out some important points,” said Maureen A. Murtaugh, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah who has published widely on weight gain in women. Perhaps, she suggested, a more active social life may help explain why women with partners gain more weight.

“Think of going to a restaurant,” Dr. Murtaugh said. “They serve a 6-foot man the same amount as they serve me, even though I’m 5 feet 5 inches and 60 pounds lighter.”

The study included only women, but the researchers cited one earlier study that showed an increase in obesity among men who had children, adding further evidence that social and behavioral factors are part of the explanation.

Dr. Dobson said the finding of weight gain among all the women, with families or without, was troubling.

“This is a general health concern,” she said. “Getting married or moving in with a partner and having a baby are events that trigger even further weight gain.

“From a prevention point of view, one can look at these as particular times when women need to be especially careful.”
© 2013 BlueCross BlueShield Association – All Rights Reserved.

 

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December 11, 2012

Does Chronic Anger Make Us Really Sick?

By Georgianna Donadio, MSc, DC, PhD

anger clipart Does Chronic Anger Make Us Really Sick?
The way we feel – especially being hurt or angry can have very negative effects on other parts of our physical body as well as on our emotions. When we are experiencing internalized anger, our nervous and hormone systems react, creating harmful side-effects, both physically and mentally and this can lead to compromised health as well as compromised personal and professional relationships.

Yes, chronic anger is unhealthy because when we become angry our body reacts though the stress response, which creates over time physical responses that can lead to illness of death. If we are habitually angry these are the conditions that can occur as a result of this physical response to the chronic or ongoing anger we are experiencing:

  • elevated blood pressure
  • increased heart rate
  • tense muscles
  • heart attack
  • hiatus hernia
  • glaucoma
  • stroke
  • hives
  • asthma
  • ulcers
  • migraines
  • low back pain
  • psoriasis
  • shortened life expectancy

In addition to thousands of anger and stress studies, many other health studies have also connected anger to loneliness, chronic anxiety, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, obsessive-compulsive behavior and phobias. It can also have a detrimental effect on our relationships and threatens the development and maintenance of intimate relationships. Communication is the key to learning how to handle our anger and creating healthy and fulfilling relationships.

Learning how to communication does not have to be complicated. While most of us have developed communication skills from our families and environment, there are easy to learn, proven skills that can provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to be able to channel and express your anger or hurt feelings appropriately.

When we are able to express our feelings, be they sadness, frustration, or anger we feel more in control of our lives and able to create the type of relationships we want with others.

As a researcher, I have participated in many years of studies on a model of communication that has been proven to work in all types of environments with all types of relationships. You can read more about it and download a free excerpt from the book by going to www.changingbehavior.org. You can also get the book for free if you are a Kindle Prime member by typing in Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills.

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