Blog Posts

Mental Health

World Brain Day 2018

Today is World Brain Day, where the world looks at how pollution affects the health of the brain and promote research into the diseases that may occur as a result of exposure to the pollutants. This year’s theme is “Clean air for brain health”.  Air pollutants are something that for the most part we have no control over.  But what we do have control over is how we care for our brain on a daily basis.  I would like to suggest that this self-care is one of the best ways that you can be proactive in giving your body and brain the advantage to whatever stressors you may be experiencing.

 

Mindfulness: Most people have heard of this term but have either have their own version of what it is or really don’t know much about it.  To put it simply, mindfulness is an intentional attitude in how you stay in the present moment.  It is when you notice the things around you and going on inside of you without judging them nor pushing them away.  Mindfulness takes practice and some people become frustrated because they don’t think it is helping them thus give us early.  I tell my clients that it is a skill that takes practice but is worth sticking with. It is something that every age can do and helpful with anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. There are some good apps available that may help you get started.  As well, I can recommend other options for you to learn this practice.

 

Sleep:I am not going to suggest your optimum amount of sleep that you need each night but it is suggested that adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  To know if you are getting enough sleep, try to pay attention to your mood, energy and health.  Like a diet and exercise, sleep is a critical component to overall health. I also specialize in sleep disturbances and may be able to help you improve your sleep.  There is lots of good information on sleepfoundation.org.

 

Diet and exerciseare the two other areas that I want to mention.  Most people are not aware that diet and exercise are directly related to brain health and mental health.  I often tell my clients that their overall health affects their mental health.  You can’t really separate your body’s health and your mental health, as you are whole being, body and mind.  If you struggle in either or both of these areas, there are many reputable organizations and people that can help you get started on a healthy eating plan and regular exercise program suited for you.

 

These four areas are very important for your self-care.  I help many of my clients work toward self-care in these areas along with other areas in their life.  Take care of you!  It is the only body and mind you have and you are responsible for it.  If you need help in any of these areas or struggle with other area in your life, I would be glad to help you work through them.

 


Written by Bonnie Adams, MA, CCC, RP

Bonnie Adams - Counsellor

 

 

 

 

Homeopathy

Natural Hangover Remedies

With the hot weather fast approaching, there will be plenty of patio nights and long weekends to spend time with friends and family. Since I started eating clean and avoiding sugars, gluten and other inflammatory foods, my mornings after are no walk in the park. The key to life is BALANCE, so for those nights when you are “letting your hair down”, here are some tips to make for a better morning.

1. KEEP HYDRATED!

Our bodies need adequate water to do some of the most basic functions. On average most humans need about 2 litres (8 glasses) of water daily, this number will vary based on height, weight, lifestyle and caffeine consumption. When we consume alcohol, the alcohol – similar to coffee has a dehydrating effect on our bodies. Making sure you consume adequate amounts of water throughout the day and night will help to make your next morning better. Remember every glass of beer, wine, or spirit will work to dehydrate you, so consuming water throughout your night alongside your beverage of choice will help to keep you hydrated. Similarly, the next day it is key to drink lots of water to help flush the toxins out of your system.

2. DON’T SKIP MEALS!

Making sure you have dinner and snacks is a must! Having food in your stomach slows the absorption of the alcohol in your system. It also makes you feel full, which will reduce your consumption over the evening. Some studies also suggest that it might help protect your gut lining from the effects of the alcohol on your system. The best foods to have on the patio are lean proteins, healthy fats and hydrating fruits and vegetables. These foods will reduce the inflammatory response on the body, as well as keep you hydrated and nourished.

3. PARTY SMART PILLS

This amazing product should be called GAME CHANGER! PartySmart formula is designed to help support the function of the liver. It is made up of herbs, so it’s all natural, that helps breakdown the alcohol faster in your liver and then eliminate in. When we consume alcohol, it gets broken down into acetaldehyde by the liver, and it is the buildup of the acetaldehyde that causes those not so desirable effects the next morning. PartySmart pills should be taken with your second drink of the night. They can be purchased at Nutrition House and various other health food stores.

 

4. GET MOVING!

The next morning, the name of the game is to GET MOVING! Go outside for a walk or hike, go swimming, do yoga, do some light cardio. It doesn’t have to be intense!! In fact it’s better if you just take it ease while your body recuperates, that way you aren’t doing further damage to your body. Light exercise will help restore some balance to your body by getting your digestive juices flowing, improving circulation, and helping to eliminating toxins. As well as make you feel better by producing those feel good hormones. If you are going to get moving – please refer to tip number 1 – stay HYRDATED!!

5. HOMEOPATHIC REMEDY!

The best homeopathic remedy for hangovers or the overconsumption of rich fatty foods and drinks is Nux Vomica. The remedy helps to restore balance to the body and reduces those bad bad hangover symptoms of headache, diarrhea and vomiting by stimulating the body’s immune system. Before going to your local health food store and purchasing this remedy. Please speak with a Homeopathic Practitioner on what the proper dosing regimen would be. Homeopathic remedies are completely safe to take, however it is important to understand what dose you should be taking in acute situations as well as how frequently you should be taking it.

I hope these tips help you to have a better morning, please remember to drink responsibility, and have fun this patio summer.


Written by Rebecca Chandler – Homeopath and Reiki Master

Rebecca Chandler - Homeopath and Reiki Master

Spinal cord bones
Chiropractic, Injury Prevention

5 Ways to Avoid Back Pain after Becoming a Parent

During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate your growing baby, which causes your core in general to weaken. Combine this with the demands of carrying your new bundle of joy and you become more at risk for back pain and injuries as your muscles are working overtime to support your spine.

Consider the fact that parents may be lifting a 7-10 pound baby 50 times a day! By 12 months your baby weighs approximately 17 pounds, and at 2 years, that child has become a 25-30 pound toddler.

Here are some simple tips to avoid injury while still enjoying every moment with your little one…

1. Lifting 

When picking up your child, stand with your feet at least shoulder width apart. Keep your back in a neutral position – you should have a curve in your low back inward towards your bellybutton – and bend your knees. Bring your baby as close to your chest as possible, and then lift using both arms straightening your legs.

2. Carrying 

When carrying your baby be sure to pivot your whole body with your feet rather than twisting your back. This will ensure that you’re turning with your hips and reduce the risk of back pain. Lower your child into the crib or floor by bending at your knees not at your hips.

3. Holding Your Baby

Hold your child in an upright position, directly against your chest. Carrying them on one hip or the other creates postural imbalances that can lead to aches and pains over time. Always make sure to support your baby with both hands and be conscious about their ability to hold their head up.  Keeping your baby close to your chest will give support to their head and neck.

 

4. Feeding Your Baby

Always sit in a chair that has a good back support and avoid leaning forward to reach your newborn’s mouth. Instead, use pillows to support your baby and position them closer to you so you can remain in an upright supported position and not lean in to them too much.

If bottle feeding or nursing, use a nursing pillow to provide support for your arms while holding your baby. 

 

5. Exercises

Healthy mother and baby making gymnastics

Exercises to strengthen your core can help to minimize the risk of back pain after having your little one. If you are a post-partum mom, make sure your midwife or OB clears you for physical activity before beginning any exercising. Another consideration is if you had Diastasis Rectii (splitting of your abdominal muscles) during pregnancy. This must be rehabilitated prior to beginning standard core exercises or you risk making the condition worse.

As a chiropractor, I see a lot of pregnant and postpartum women and parents that are sore from the new demands on their bodies. Chiropractic care can help you both during your pregnancy and after baby arrives to stay on your toes and feel great so you can enjoy every moment.


If you are pregnant or are postpartum, contact Stonetown Chiropractic and Wellness Centre to see the many different ways we can help you feel your best.  


Written in part by Dr. Lindsay Drew   adapted from The Ontario Chiropractic Association

 Dr. Lindsay Drew - Chiropractor

Homeopathy

5 Reasons to Visit a Homeopath

There are many reasons and benefits in going to a Homeopath – but here are the 5 most common reasons why individuals go.


Headaches and Migraines

Migraine

A lot of individuals suffer from headaches and migraines. In some cases it can even be debilitating for the individual. A homeopath works with you to understand your migraines or headaches in their totality. What exactly does it feel like for the patient? What makes it better or worse? Are there any triggers? A Homeopath will then prescribe a remedy that encompasses those symptoms. The remedies help to reduce the intensity, frequency and duration for the symptoms.


Skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis)

The skin is our biggest eliminating organ and often skin afflictions are the body’s way of letting you know that something is going on, on a deeper level. Skin conditions can have many contributing factors as to why they are manifesting in the body, such as stress, dietary issues or environmental sensitivities. A Homeopath’s job is to understand the root cause of why the skin conditions are developing. When a Homeopath prescribes at that root cause, it helps to reawaken the body’s immune system and ultimately start the process of healing.


Mental health issues (depression, bi-polar, manic depressive, anxiety)

Homeopath’s work heavily to understand the mental and emotional characteristics of an individual, such as their stresses in life. It’s a great system of medicine that can effectively address the symptoms of depression, bi-polar, anxiety and many other mental health issues.

 


Autoimmune disorders

Autoimmune disorders are conditions that occur when the body’s immune system is attacking itself (diseased tissue, as well as the healthy tissue). Individuals can undergo both conventional and holistic therapies to reduce incidences of flare-ups. Flare-ups generally occur in incidences of acute or chronic stress. Homeopathy is especially beneficial because it helps individuals to manage stress. It’s also a therapy that is completely safe to use in conjunction with other therapies.  


Digestive disturbances (gas, bloating, constipation, IBS)

There is has been a lot of research lately in trying to understand the gut and digestive disturbances. Within some of that research, MDs have discovered this Mind-Gut connection. Where the Mind and the Gut are in constant communication with each other, and how our moods affect our gut and overall health. Therefore, when you treat just the physical symptoms (i.e the gas, bloating, constipation, IBS symptoms, etc), you are only treating part of the picture. Homeopathy helps to balance out both mind and gut by understand how the physical, emotional, and mental symptoms are connected.

 


To see what Homeopathy can do for you, book a free 15 minute consult with Rebecca.


Written by Rebecca Chandler, Homeopath & Reiki Master

Rebecca Chandler - Homeopath and Reiki Master

 

Spinal cord bones
Chiropractic

Sciatica

I know the word… but what is it exactly?

If you have ever been diagnosed with sciatica you know how absolutely debilitating it can be. The intense, shooting low back and leg pain coupled with sensations of numbness, tingling, or weakness can make life miserable for even the happiest of people. “Sciatica” is a term that most people are familiar with but many are unclear as to what it actually refers to. So what exactly is sciatica?

Sciatica is a term used to describe intense pain originating in the low back and down into the leg and foot. Left untreated, sciatica may cause constant buttock or leg pain coupled with sensations of numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the legs or feet. These symptoms can be the result of many different conditions ranging from those considered more serious (e.g. spinal trauma such as fractures, certain cancers, or spinal cord compression) to those which are more easily treated such as disc herniations, muscle tightness, joint dysfunction, or nerve entrapment. It is only after a thorough history and physical examination that a correct diagnosis can be made and the severity of the condition and prognosis can be determined. Radiographs (e.g. xrays) or advanced imaging such as MRI are sometimes required to make the proper diagnosis. The main takeaway message is if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with sciatica, they should never be ignored and you should be evaluated by a professional!

Treatment for Sciatica

So, now that we know what sciatica is and what can cause it, what can be done to fix it? The good news is that while symptoms associated with sciatica can be irritating and painful, oftentimes they can be successfully managed through conservative treatment alone. If it is determined that your back or leg symptoms are the result of a non-surgical condition such muscle tightness, joint dysfunction, or sciatic nerve entrapment, there are many options for treatment. Spinal adjustments performed by a chiropractor can help restore joint mobility and alignment while Active Release Techniques (ART®) can address most soft tissue components of sciatica by releasing tight muscles, breaking up fibrosis (scar tissue,) and helping free entrapped nerves. ART® and chiropractic adjusting powerfully complement each other by addressing both the joint and muscular components which are responsible for causing many common painful back and leg conditions. Supportive therapies such as massage therapy and acupuncture may also be beneficial for helping to decrease muscle tightness and pain.

The number one question I get asked when first treating a patient with sciatica is “how long is it going to take for this pain to go away?”.  The great news is that sciatica tends to be self-limiting condition.  The vast majority of cases usually resolve within a matter of a few weeks to a month. After the initial phase of care complete and the intense pain has decreased, I usually encourage patients to begin a program of exercises designed to help strengthen spinal muscles, improve core strength, and increase spinal mobility. To help prevent future recurrences, a thorough overview and correction of ergonomic and lifestyle factors (ex. workplace activities, posture, physical activity) which may have contributed to the sciatica developing is also highly recommended.

Ultimately, in most cases sciatica is usually a temporary inconvenience. With a proper diagnosis and correct treatment, you’ll be back to normal in no time at all.

 


Written By Mark Butkus

Dr. Mark Butkus - Chiropractor

Chiropody, Injury Prevention

Quick Spring Jogging Tips

Spring is well under way, which means outdoor jogging season is upon us. It is always around this time of year when my office becomes flooded with questions about running. Here are a few tips that will help you and your body get the most out of those early Spring jogs.

Proper Footwear

Proper footwear is perhaps the most important factor in injury prevention. It is important to remember that everyone has unique feet. A running shoe that may be appropriate for your running partner may not be suitable for you. You should be wearing a shoe that fits your foot well. As there are many different types of running shoes, visit any shoe specialty store to have your foot examined and assessed for the shoe that best fits your needs. 

Warm Up and Cool Down

This is something that a lot of runners do not incorporate into the jogging routine, and can end up leading to injury. Having a simple warm up and cool down routine is essential in injury prevention. A good choice for warm up can be as simple as some gentle stretching. For cool down, many choose to slow from running speed to a brisk walk for at least 2 minutes.

Too Much, Too Fast

At this time of year, many runners are guilty of doing “too much, too fast”. The distance you were able to jog at the end of Summer last year, will likely be further than the distance achieved during your first few runs of Spring. It is important to temper your expectations, and allow your body to become conditioned to the endurace and intensity of a run. Pushing ourselves too far or too hard, can create several injuries that hold us back from exercise. Thus, it is important to start small and gradual increase our distance and intensity over time.

Shin Splints

Shin splints are one of the most common running/exercise related complaints that I see in my office. Shin splints are often described as pain in the “front” of the shins, which is caused by repetitive microtrauma. This microtrauma can arise from several factors, however, most are related to foot type and/or improper footwear. Activity modification (rest) and taping can help reduce symptoms. If the cause is related to foot type, orthotics may be useful in correcting any biomechanical abnormalities. If you are suffering from anterior shin pain before, during, or after your runs, book an appointment with a Chiropodist for a complete assessment and development of a treatment plan. 

 


Written by James Willmore

James Willmore - Chiropodist 

Mental Health, Nutrition

Winter got you feeling down?

Top 5 Tips to Feel Great this Winter

Winter can be tough for a lot of people, but for those already dealing with anxiety and depression, it can be just one more obstacle. Although we have been experiencing spring-like weather, this winter is not quite over. Right now, everyone I know is escaping to the sunny south to soak up some well needed vitamin D. If you’re not one of those people (myself included), it is even more important to focus on your health and give your body what it needs to feel great this winter.

I must admit, I’ve never been a big fan of winter and have always experienced some type of “Winter Blues”. By the time January and February rolls around, I feel sluggish, unmotivated, lazy, and sad, for what seems like no reason at all. Luckily, I have noticed a massive difference in the last couple of years and have turned into a bit of a winter lover. Who would have thought?!? After thinking for years that I just wasn’t a “winter person”, I’ve now learned how to enjoy the snow and feel great in winter. Let me share my tips to help you feel the same!

 

Take Vitamin D EVERY DAY!!!

I cannot stress this enough! Taking vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) every day in the winter has made a MASSIVE difference for me – more balanced moods and a stronger immune system! Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine” vitamin because it is actually manufactured in the human skin when in contact with the ultraviolet light in the sun’s rays. Wintertime, clouds, smog, and darkly pigmented skin reduce the body’s production of this vitamin and according to recent research, we need far more vitamin D than originally thought. Vitamin D regulates bone formation (especially important in menopausal women), prevents tooth decay and gum problems, has been shown to reduce the incidence of colds, and has been used in the treatment of diabetes, visual problems, allergies, sciatica pain, and skin problems. It also boosts levels of serotonin and dopamine (your FEEL-GOOD hormones) in the brain!

I highly recommend Physica Energetics Solray D Liposome spray, which you can find at Stonetown Chiropractic & Wellness Centre. It tastes great, and the liposomes technology greatly increase absorption and assimilation.

Get outside EVERY DAY.

It’s nature’s therapy. Outside time will boost your immune system and help you escape the indoor germs and bacteria, will help you get more exercise and will provide some vitamin D. There have been many days where all I want to do is curl up with a blanket on the couch, rather than face the cold outdoors. Despite this, I know how much time I am spending indoors and how important the fresh air is for my health. I also know that once I get outside and get moving I will have no regrets, as I always feel more energized and revitalized. Bundle up, and get outdoors, even if it’s for a short time. Sometimes five minutes is all it takes to get the mood-boosting effect.

Exercise is your best option for feeling great in winter and overall well-being. It will help to boost your immune system and will leaving you feeling more confident! We tend to have more downtime in the winter so it is even more important to make stretching and movement a part of your daily routine. I have been enjoying regular yoga and Pilates’ classes lately, as it makes me feel stronger and more flexible. If you don’t feel like travelling to attend a class, there are many, many awesome & free classes online – my personal fav is Boho Beautiful on YouTube. There are many classes to choose from, from beginner to advanced, and with varying lengths so you can enjoy this practice from your own home.

4. Decrease Simple Carbohydrates in your Diet.

Simple carbs equals severe fluctuations in your blood sugar levels. These fluctuations will leave you feeling fatigued, irritable, and constantly craving more carbs and sugar. Replace simple carbs (white bread, white sugar, white rice, refined & processed foods) with complex carbs (sweet potatoes, parsnips, squash, lentils, legumes, whole grains – quinoa, wild & brown rice, millet, buckwheat, whole oats, rye) to stabilize your blood sugar levels and you will find your moods balanced, your energy levels up, and your cravings down.

5. Increase your Omega-3 intake.

Omega-3s are one of the essential fatty acids that we must consume in food. They can fight depression and anxiety by maintaining healthy levels of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin (your feel-good hormones), and reduce inflammation, including stiffness and joint pain. Most Canadians do not consume enough omega-3 fats and often consume way more omega-6s. An improper balance often leads to even more inflammation. To take advantage of the extraordinary benefits of omega-3s, consume these foods on a regular basis: cold water fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, cod, and haddock, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. If you find it difficult to incorporate these foods into your diet on a regular basis, an omega-3 supplement would be a great alternative!

Boosting your immune system and supporting your body to fight germs will result in less sickness, and an overall better winter experience. This winter’s flu epidemic shows the need for this focus.


So get out there, get active, eat right, and enjoy the cold!

Feel Great in Winter!


Cara Wicke - Holistic Nutritionist

Written by Cara Wicke

Registered Holistic Nutritionist & BioEnergetics Practitioner

Osteopathy

Visceral Manipulation

What is Visceral Manipulation?

Mr. Kidney

            Visceral manipulation focuses on the  connection between stress, environment, emotion, and memory with internal organs. Just like bones, muscles, and other tissues in the body the internal organs (viscera) move when you move, walk, etc.. For example, when you breathe your kidneys move about 2.5 cm, with a deep breath move 10 cm; in a day they can move almost 1 km! The movement of the viscera is transferred to the fascia (sheets of connective tissue that encloses and separate muscles and organs) and other parts in the body.  In healthy individuals everything moves fluidly but can still need help to stay mobile. Optimal health relies on a balanced relationship between viscera motion and structures of the body.   Basically the ability of your organs to move around inside you makes you healthy.

 

There are many reasons for decreased mobility of organs:

  • direct trauma
  • diet
  • surgery
  • infections
  • repetitive motion
  • sedentary lifestyle (sitting at a desk all day)
  • environmental toxins (smoke, dust)
  • emotional stress
  • poor posture
  • pregnancy

If the organs are not moving well it can cause fixation which the body has to compensate for. This imbalance causes tension and irritation allowing for functional and structural problems throughout the body- musculoskeletal, urinary, digestive, respiratory, vascular, etc. Visceral Manipulation increases the mobility of your organs.

How does Visceral Manipulation Work

Visceral manipulation is applied to your organs by gentle and specifically placed massage to encourage body to release restrictions that cause dysfunction and pain. Each organ has a connection and relationship to structural parts of the body based on different patterns. This helps the body to restore normal motion of the viscera after treatment because our bodies are self-healing.

An example of this is scar tissue around the lungs. Scar tissue will pull the connection it has with the lungs which changes the movement of structures nearby with every breathe. It could be shifting rib motion producing a pull on the spine. The result might cause mid-back and neck pain and possible decreased shoulder motion. This is just one scenario of many possibilities caused by daily repetitions and shows that the cause can be far from the source.

 

Conditions that visceral manipulation can help with 

  • Digestive disorders
  • Constipation and bloating
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Nausea and acid reflux
  • GERD
  • Post-operative/infectious scar tissue
  • Gastritis

What now?

Call Stonetown Chiropractic and Wellness Centre to book a free consultation or schedule an appointment with our Manual Osteopath.  


Rachel Hickey - Osteopath

Written by Rachel Hickey, Stonetown Chiropractic’s Manual Osteopath

Injury Prevention

Winter Walking Lesson

Avoid Serious Injury

During late fall and all the way into early spring, we see our temperatures swing widely from well above zero to frigidly below.  Some days can seem quite warm giving us a sense of respite from the cold weather but we must still be careful going out and about during our Canadian Winters even on those nice days.  Icy side walks and streets make walking outdoors dangerous for people of all ages especially on the many hills of St. Marys.  Rainfall will freeze, snow will melt, and both are going to create a slippery surface that can be difficult to walk on.

Do the Penguin Walk!

Not only are penguins awesome, they have (pretty much) mastered the art of walking on ice. Walking like a penguin can help reduce the amount of injuries related to falls including strains, sprains, and fractures.

  • Bend slightly and walk flat footed
  • Point your feet out slightly like a penguin
  • Keep your centre of gravity over your feet as much as possible
  • Watch where you are stepping
  • Take shorter, shuffle-like steps
  • Keep your arms at your sides (not in your pockets!)
  • Concentrate on keeping your balance
  • Go S-L-O-W-L-Y

The following is a quick diagram which illustrates the proper way to walk during icy conditions.

Photo credit: https://uhr.umd.edu

Written by James Willmore

James Willmore - Chiropodist

 

Mental Health Support
Mental Health

5 Communication Skills Every Couple Should Develop

It’s very common for couples to pursue counselling when communication issues begin to dominate their relationship. Does it ever feel like you and your partner keep missing each other on something? Or like your partner just doesn’t seem to get you anymore? Perhaps you feel you’ve been very clear about your perspective and it’s your partner’s problem that they just can’t seem to understand the issues from your point of view.

Blaming each other for what’s not working, although tempting, will not get you the satisfaction you so desperately desire. Whether you are struggling to navigate a difficult situation together or daily arguments have become the norm, everyone can benefit from improved communication. Here are five tips to help you get on a better track toward mutual understanding and a deeper connection:

1. Find an opportune time to talk calmly about the issues.

Preserving time to check in with each other can help you be more productive. Arrange a time in the near future when you are both likely to be calm and comfortable. Perhaps you find that morning tends to work best, or Sunday afternoon when you’re in a more relaxed mood. You may need to adjust your schedule slightly so you have some extra time.

Too often, couples attempt to discuss an issue as it’s unfolding. While this may work some of the time, giving each other a heads-up to discuss something more in-depth may help you feel more relaxed and open with your partner. Take a moment to express your need and then follow up with a suggestion for a more opportune time. This communicates respect and consideration, which helps to promote an atmosphere of goodwill between two people.

2. Understand and communicate your partner’s perspective.

Listening can be tough, especially when the other person is saying something that triggers a defensive response in you. Remind yourself that you will also have a turn; right now it’s important to tune in and not interrupt. Make eye contact and be fully present with your partner. You can demonstrate being present by focusing exclusively on the conversation and what’s being said. It might be helpful to view the discussion as involving two subjective perspectives rather than one person being “right” or “wrong.”

If you’re not clear on something, ask a thoughtful question or two to make sure you really understand. You might even say, “Am I getting that right?” or, “I want to make sure I understand; tell me if I’m hearing you correctly …” Take turns talking and listening to each other. Spending just 10 minutes focused on the other person sharing their perspective can make a significant difference. If you find things are escalating, take a 5-minute break and come back.

3. Be mindful of your language and tone.

It can be so easy to miss an important message when we don’t like the tone in which something is being said. Take inventory. When you feel the urge to become accusatory or to begin a statement with “You always …” stop yourself. Ask yourself what you’re feeling in this moment. Taking a minute to slow down before responding can help you say what you truly feel instead of becoming defensive or blaming. Perhaps you might try: “Talking about this always seems to lead us down a destructive path. I’d like to get to a better place with it, but I’m just not sure how.” This kind of statement might help to open up a more constructive dialogue.

If you find a particular topic is especially difficult, it may help to share your feelings surrounding the issue. For example, you might say, “I’d really like to talk about (the issue) with you, but I’m feeling anxious about it because I know this is an area we tend to struggle with.” Sometimes this sort of statement can relieve the pressure to get it right the first time. Be patient with yourself; with time and practice, communication with your partner can become more productive.

4. Think in terms of what you can give, not just what you can take.

While it’s certainly true good relationships involve both give and take, when both partners are focused on giving, they strengthen their ability to negotiate conflict more effectively. With some increased awareness, you can shift a problematic dynamic. Tune into your words and actions more carefully. Is there something you can say or do differently to yield different results? When we are kind, we send a caring message to our partner, and when we feel cared for, we can operate from a place of generosity and love.

What positive and unique qualities do you bring to your relationship? What makes you feel happy to provide to your partner? How can you contribute positively to the situation?

5. Notice and say out loud what you appreciate about your partner.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued. It can be easy to fall into a thinking pattern of: “I feel like I do so much, but no one notices.” When we take the time to openly appreciate someone else’s positive qualities and good deeds, we foster an atmosphere of emotional generosity. Notice something about your partner that you feel grateful for? Share it! Be on the lookout for what you can appreciate and say it. Often, we tend to focus on what we don’t have or what’s not working in relationships. This critical shift in perspective to a focus on the positive can make all the difference. You might find your partner begins to share their appreciation for how awesome you are as well.

Taking the time to understand your partner’s perspective and to reflect back that you truly “get it” can have a significant impact on the quality of your relationship. The next time you find yourself a little stuck, try out the tips above to help you move toward a deeper, more satisfying connection.

© Copyright 2017 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jennifer J. Uhrlass, LMFT, therapist in New York City, New York


For a local Certified Counsellor or Registered Psychotherapist, please contact Bonnie Adams at Stonetown Chiropractic and Wellness Centre in St. Marys Ontario.

Bonnie Adams - Counsellor