Your brain is made to do one thing: keep you alive. That’s why, when something traumatic happens, your brain never forgets it.
Now, trauma can mean a lot of different things, but it is essentially a negative experience your brain has filed away to whip out of storage when you least expect it.
In relationships, these traumatic memories can subconsciously surface and induce a negative response to something your partner does. This can send you into an anxious state of fight or flight – your body’s stress response – which may lead to you avoiding situations in which these negative feelings surface and send you into a panic.
While this may help you to feel better at the moment, it will stifle your growth and keep you from learning. You can’t just say no to new things.
The trick to overcoming this is to turn your “no” brain into a “yes” brain. Growing a “yes” brain leads to more relationship satisfaction not only for your partner, but for you as well.
Here are some great strategies you can use to challenge yourself to move out of your comfort zone to strengthen your relationship.
With the help of your partner, start with a small task in which you have their support, and challenge yourself in a situation that normally may make you uncomfortable. Once you’re able to work through that, you may notice your ability to handle the stress improves.
Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes
One of the most important ingredients to any relationship is empathy. When you can put yourself in your partner’s shoes to understand their struggles, then it will lead to a deeper understanding of one another.
Remember, no relationship is perfect – and that’s not what you should be aiming for! But your relationship can be fulfilling and help you to feel cherished.
Mindfulness has become a bit of a buzzword lately, but it is a helpful tool. If you can observe yourself and your thoughts in a particular moment and understand why your thoughts may have taken a negative turn, you can begin to understand why your brain may naturally drift toward a “no” rather than a “yes.”
Flipping the switch from a “no” to a “yes” takes hard work, but if you can challenge yourself a little, then you can reap the rewards in your relationship. Learn more about how you can build a relationship that stands the test of time by downloading our award-winning book!