Archive for January, 2011

In my couples counseling practice in San Diego, I often coach partners to have a visual of a dropdown menu of items to help them cool down in the midst of becoming reactive to their partner.  Humans are the only species with an evolved “thinking” brain. However, our thinking shuts down if we get too flooded with intense emotions, which often occurs in the heat of an argument. If we have some pre-planned ways to “buy time” till we can cool down, we tend to manage ourselves better when things go South in our romantic relationships.

When you and your partner get into a heated argument, you can feel yourself getting reactive. Your physiology changes. You can feel your heart beating faster. You can feel yourself losing control. You want to scream. Say angry things.  Strike out.  Hurt. Cry. Yell. Go hide. Your cortisol levels rise (stress hormone).  You cannot seem to get a grip on your emotions. Here are ten quick tips to buy some time till you can cool down and better self-regulate as intense emotions flood you:

1. Take time to exercise.

2. Go on a hike or just walk around your neighborhood.

3. Journal your feelings and thoughts.

4. Take a hot bath (or cold shower)

5. Call a friend.

6. Read a new book or magazine.

7. Get a massage.

8. Meditate.

9. Go shopping.

10. Think carefully and deeply in order to identify your part in triggering the argument and then move toward owning up to that portion with your partner. Remember that all arguments are co-created. This means no one is to blame. We each play a part in triggering a response in the other. This idea is freeing, because it means we are always able to make a difference in the relational dance by changing one of our own dance steps.

To learn more about my model of practice, please visit my web site at http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com and pick up some free tips just for stopping by. I offer a complimentary phone consultation and can be reached at 619 9906203. At my Affordable Relationship Counseling practice, I offer a sliding fee scale and evening hours for working couples.

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“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only is such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” M. Scott Peck

We all experience times in our lives when our problems seem overwhelming. In earlier eras, there was a social stigma to seeking counseling. But over the past forty years or so, it is becoming increasingly clear that counseling is a treatment that everyone can benefit from at one time or another in one’s life. To seek counseling is to address one’s problems, conflicts and relationship difficulties directly. Counseling is an effort that is inherently relational. The counseling relationship is itself a place to practice being honest with self and with other. Counseling is a courageous move. It can be empowering for the individual and his/her relationship. If you are having problems either individually or in your relationship, why not begin the new year by seeking counseling? It may put you on a different path that will lead you toward increasing clarity and fulfillment. For affordable relationship counseling, call 619 9906203 for a complimentary consultation or visit http://www.Cunninghamtherapy.com for some free tips and information about Dr. Cunningham’s model of practice.

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