Keeping it cheerful!

Hello my friend,

Before I launch into this blog ….. I won’t be writing hard science this time. This is more about practical mind stuff, using popular works of psychology.

‘Tis the season of good cheer, isn’t it? It’s not apparent to everyone though. During this time of the year, some of us are affected by a form of depression called seasonal affective disorder.

There are certainly chemical imbalances and mental disorders that require medical intervention  – absolutely! In addition to medicine, let us consider something else. Every mental disorder is a dis – ease of the emotions. Emotions arise in relationships. So, let’s follow a trend of thought – if we heal our relationships, we would heal our emotions (and vice-versa). If we heal our emotions, we would heal our mind. If we heal our mind, we would heal our life. That opens up a whole realm of possibilities, doesn’t it?

Healing our relationships. Of all the relationships in our life, the one that is probably the most central to each of our families and on which all other relationships are based is the marital relationship. How can we strengthen this pivotal point of life?

We study great marriages. We associate ourselves with couples who have weathered life’s storms and are still devoted to each other. We read from experts how to increasingly improve our communication with each other. We study audio programs. We attend seminars that teach us intimacy in communication.

For the purposes of this article, I shall paraphrase from memory the teachings from two of my favorite books: The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, and Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.

The premise of the former book is this. Let’s say, for example, that the language that I understand the most is English and the language that my wife understands best is Portuguese. She would much prefer that I speak to her in Portuguese than in English. And vice-versa – I’d like her to speak to me in English – that’s what would speak to my heart. In the same way, there are emotional languages of communication. They are:

1. Words of affirmation – in this, a person understands love best when their partner praises them.

2. Quality time – this involves spending time with your spouse with full, undistracted attention.

3. Receiving gifts – where the love is felt best when receiving gifts from one’s loved one, not necessarily expensive gifts.

4. Acts of service – putting in effort to do what could be just a routine task for your loved one.

5. Physical touch – could be as little as a pat on the shoulder or a squeeze on the arm just to convey that you care.

An individual can have one or two favored love languages. We make an effort to find out our spouse’s favored language(s) and express our love in their favored communication.

I really like one of the exercises Dr. Chapman suggests for couples. At the end of the day, ask each other: “how full is your love tank?” – how much do they feel loved? And if the answer you get is, say, 6 out of 10, it is our duty to express love to the other in their preferred love language until their love tank is at a 9 or 10. It sound so simple, doesn’t it? It works ….. as long as there is a commitment to engage in the exercise regularly, whether you feel in the mood to do it or not ….. especially when you don’t feel in the mood.

In the book Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, Dr. Eggerichs explains with the help of psychological studies how the feminine need is to feel unconditional love and how the ultimate masculine desire is to be magnificently respected.

The above two books are masterpieces in practical psychology. It’s totally worth the investment of time in reading them. If you’re not a reader, listen to them on CD. Or watch them on DVD. Modern technology has its advantages! The principles of communication in these are primarily focused on marriage, but you’ll see that they can be applied to all relationships of life. Once you learn these ways, make sure you enhance your communication with all your near and dear ones – your children, your parents, your close relatives, your friends, yes …… even your workplace colleagues ……. and watch your life expand beyond its limits.

Let’s recap the logic presented above. When we read the above books and similar ones, we learn ideas to improve the quality of communication with our loved ones. We keep studying ways of strengthening our communication skills – it’s a lifelong commitment that keeps increasing our quality of the important relationships in life. When there’s a high quality of communication that fulfills us emotionally, we feel more secure in our relationships. This helps us with our mental health, which can possibly help to decrease our dependence on medical intervention. Does that make sense?

May you and your family be blessed this wonderful season!

Until next time, my friend …. take care of yourself and your health.

Warmest regards,

Dr. Ajit Damodaran

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One Response to “Keeping it cheerful!”

  1. Jyoti Malhotra Says:

    Thanks for helping everyone by sharing good thoughts to build a relationship stronger by respecting each other in a relation.

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