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How to Manage Difficult Emotions in Your Relationship

Did you know that mindfulness can be a powerful tool in your relationships – intimate or otherwise?

Consider for a moment the last time you were significantly emotionally triggered by someone. You may have been really angry, frustrated, sad or any number of other distressing and uncomfortable states. If the emotions took you over in a way that ultimately did not serve you well and was even damaging (to yourself or someone else) then consider the following steps the next time you run into difficult emotions in a relationship:

  • STOP – Notice your negative emotion as soon as you can.
  • BREATHE – Slow, steady breathing can decrease your physiological reaction (fight-or-flight).
  • REFLECT – Are old issues of yours coming up? Do you have evidence to support the assumptions you are making about the meaning of a particular interaction? Is there an intention to hurt or disrespect you?
  • CHOOSE – After examining the above, what are you choices of action? Can there be a shift in your old reactions to new, more helpful ones?

The above is mindfulness in action.  There is a lot of research lately on the power of mindfulness to rewire the brain to improve emotional and relationship health.  You can change the way you react.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.

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