De-escalating your distress during a break

We take breaks when we are very upset to down-regulate our emotions. The whole purpose of the break is to reduce the intensity of your emotional activation because that makes it much more likely that you can have a constructive conflict with the other person. Unfortunately, lots of us weren’t taught how to do this … Continue reading De-escalating your distress during a break

Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

As I said in the first post, breaks are a controversial topic. That means that lots of people have really different views on whether or not breaks in conflict are even an OK thing to do. That means that there are two parts to communicating around breaks – the first is about having conversations that … Continue reading Communicating around breaks – Part 1 – making agreements about breaks in conflict

Three exercises for noticing small emotions

Historically, I wasn’t very good at noticing emotions when they are small. In fact, for the longest time I really only noticed emotions when they became too overwhelming to ignore. This was not an effective strategy. It led to really painful interpersonal conflict and meant I spent a lot of time running away from emotional … Continue reading Three exercises for noticing small emotions

Working with emotional activation

In the last post, I talked about taking your emotional temperature, which is something I try to practice most days because it isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Nevertheless, I find it invaluable in helping me to notice and work with my emotions. As I have practised noticing my levels of emotional activation, I … Continue reading Working with emotional activation

Taking your emotional temperature

So, I’ve been spending more and more time feeling into my emotions, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the way I was taught to understand emotions as a younger person was dangerously wrong. You see, I was taught that emotions could be understood on a scale from sad to happy (and that you should … Continue reading Taking your emotional temperature

From New Relationship Energy to Existing Relationship Energy

In this post and the next one I’m focusing on the shift from new relationship energy to existing relationship energy in relationships that are geographically close and where participants are a regular feature in each other’s lives. I am deliberately not talking about long-distance or comet relationships, which often have a different trajectory. I have … Continue reading From New Relationship Energy to Existing Relationship Energy

Mindful tooth brushing

I’m not a huge fan of brushing my teeth. I’ve found it boring and uncomfortable - probably because it has such intense sensations to it that I can’t avoid being in my body to feel them. In my move from avoiding sensations to embracing them, I decided that daily uncomfortable physical experiences could help me … Continue reading Mindful tooth brushing

Practicing awareness of sensations

For a long time, I found it really difficult to identify feelings in my body. If I looked for emotions I would find a tight ball at the top of my diaphragm, but giving it a label was impossible. I could be happy, scared, angry, excited, anxious or embarrassed and the same ball sat in … Continue reading Practicing awareness of sensations