Heart Math

6 Apr

What does it take to have a healthy relationship?

Research done by relationship expert, John Gottman, indicates that a healthy relationship has a balance between positive and negative feelings between you and the other person. Please note that negative feelings are natural. They just have to be outweighed by positive ones. So, what’s the magic ratio?

According to Professor Gottman, it’s 5 to 1.

So, for every 1 negative feeling/emotion/interaction, there have to be 5 positive ones.

two valentine's paper hearts , valentine's day , day valentineThis makes so much sense to me.  It’s when this ratio starts to slip that your relationship can be heading into trouble. That’s when criticism, lack of support or affection and disinterest take over and it’s hard to get back on track.

Now, I’m not trying to save every relationship here. Some are just destined not to be.

But others … well, you may need to work on those relationships little harder – they are either with someone ‘permanent’ (i.e with your child or parent) or someone you have to figure out how to get along with (a co-worker at a job you really want to keep).

So here are a few tips that may help you to move that needle from negative to positive.

  • Show interest – everyone likes to feel he/she is special
  • Show caring – stop by on your way home or to work and pick up a ‘little something’ the other person will like
  • Show appreciation – saying thank-you or giving a compliment doesn’t cost anything
  • Show you’re listening – give the other person your undivided attention
  • Show respect – you may not agree, but be accepting of your differences

Every relationship has its ups and downs. Paying attention to heart math may help to keep your relationships from sliding – especially when the stressors are high and your relationship is challenged.


P.S. Many thanks to Kenneth Cloke, an amazing conflict resolution expert, for introducing me to the concept of ‘heart math.’

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