Just because Valentine’s Day is over doesn’t mean you should go back to your old routines. Intimate relationships are an important part of life, having someone to share your sorrows and joys with is significant on many different levels. At Hall Longevity Clinic we understand the various facets involved in living a healthily lifestyle. To remain healthy we must not only concentrate on fitness and nutrition, but our thought processes and inner desires as well. We believe in manifestation and we know that dis-positive or negative thinking can actually manifest itself physically making us more susceptible to (dis-ease) and loss of quality of life.
So what do I mean by old routines? When you have been in a serious relationship for an extended period of time, couples begin to form a series of bad habits or grievances that we attempt to remedy for a brief moment on romantic holidays. Mass media has made it seem that couples are more attentive, more loving, and more intimate on days that the country has earmarked as important. Everyday is important and if you are in a relationship everyday together is significant, but be careful we must also remember that time apart from one another is valuable as well—you can grow together but you must maintain your individuality, your individuality is what your partner fell in love with in the first place.
Stress increases cortisol levels in the brain making it far more difficult for us to enjoy things including intimacy. At Hall Longevity Clinic we understand the underlying causes of stress and can offer a number of techniques on how to reduce it. Relationships can either cause stress or take it away; just being near the person you love actually lowers your blood pressure. This is not to say that every healthy relationship is stress free, but if you have the feeling you would be better off without someone then you are probably right. Our instincts can tell us a lot, they are our sensors for what we sometimes refuse to outwardly admit, like an alarm in the back our minds and hearts urging us to do what we know deep-down is the right thing to do.
Improving ourselves will help to improve our relationships. Simple things like being better listeners, asking the right questions, providing different types of support, and making time for intimacy will undoubtedly help. First off, multitasking is not listening, if you are out enjoying a nice dinner or are engaged in a scintillating conversation you shouldn’t be buried in your Smartphone checking up on the latest celebrity gossip. Always remember that eye contact is extremely important, it shows interest and provides an intimate connection between the two of you.
Spirituality is another valuable aspect of a successful relationship; this does not necessarily mean a faith in a specific god, but a shared set of ideals or philosophies—common interests help us to grow as couples.
Remember to laugh more often—laughing together will help to produce certain hormones like beta-endorphins and growth hormone, which help to alleviate depression and boost your immune system. Even thinking about something funny will ultimately help to soften the harsh worries that every-day Americans face.
Asking the right questions is not just a simple “how was your day,” you need to ask more intimate questions, questions that will spark a need to communicate more deeply. Most people lead very busy lives packed full of ringing phones, traffic jams, work-related issues, and a basic need to survive both financially and emotionally, we feel a hundred different things on any given day, the key is to discuss these feelings with your partner.
A five-year study done at the University of Iowa breaks down support into four different categories:
- Physical and Emotional
These four levels of support cover all the basic principles that one should abide by when attempting to instill a healthy and reciprocal relationship. Physical support can be as simple as holding someone’s hand, this also helps to increase oxytocin levels in the brain and whether we know it or not can be a huge stress reliever. Emotional support is pretty much self-explanatory; partners must listen to each other and provide genuine concern for each other’s worries, fears, and hopes for the future. Informational support operates on the basis that to some degree we should be able to anticipate our partner’s thoughts. Take notice of the positive qualities that help your partner to succeed as well as the negative qualities that are holding them back and offer your input. In a partnership you should love one another unconditionally, but offering advice from time to time can be very helpful—be careful not to go overboard…no one likes a know-it-all. Tangible support is simply helping out, both you and your partner have your own set of responsibilities, but as a couple you should help one another out. If your partner has had a hard day at work offer to cook dinner or tidy up the house. You would be surprised how much little things like that can strengthen the bond of a relationship. Maybe your partner has been on their feet all day and could use a nice back rub…this leads us to intimacy…
There are different levels of Intimacy. Intimacy can be as minor as a warm embrace or a passionate kiss, or it can progress into the beautiful act of making love. As we grow as couples lovemaking becomes a very important part of the relationship. Sex instills a spiritual, physical, and emotional bond that should never be taken for granted. Unfortunately as the years go by many couples begin to lose this form of intimacy. No matter how busy your lives get couples need to make time for sexual intimacy, even if it requires planning ahead. Also, don’t be afraid to switch it up and try new things, experimentation can help break normal routines and you may even discover something that you never knew about each other before! Remember, place your partners pleasure before your own.
When I wrote The American Gentleman: A Contemporary Guide to Chivalry almost fifteen years ago my goal was to show the nuts and bolts of compassion, character development, and self-evolution. Ultimately any healthy relationship is about mutual respect, this above anything else will ensure survival and success. Look for the rerelease of the newest version of The American Gentleman for fall 2014.