Turn Towards, Not Away
Written by: Seada
Inevitably, our family members, co-workers, partners, and friends will get under our skin. Our blood will boil and our thoughts will run at 100 km/h. It is natural to feel multiple layers of anger, especially when arguments heat up within the context of our closest relationships. Indeed, our defenses encourage us to walk away from that person, but in doing so, the feeling of anger can intensify.
Instead, turn towards one another instead of turning away. Dr. Gottman encourages couples to turn towards one another, since these moments are opportunities to bid connection. A bid is considered a small gesture–verbal or non-verbal–made to incite a positive connection: conversation, humor, affection, or support.
Working with couples, I have learned the best way to feel connected in moments of tension is merely to reach out: to touch each other. A connection can be holding hands, placing your hand on the knee, leg, or arm, or caressing the face or sitting near the person. When we physically feel the presence of each other, anger subsides.
Another effective way to manage the intensity of anger is to count your blessings. Think and say out loud the things and people you are grateful. Gratitude is shown to reduce tension and create inner peace.
Let’s practice turning towards our loved ones rather than away.