The changes in modern communication have made it more difficult for us to effectively communicate with our loved ones. The effects of this modernization of communication have taken an even greater toll on relationships and indirectly, on healthy lifestyles.
Your partner may be able to sense that you are stressed out even when you don’t know it yourself. So, how do you manage your relationship when this stressful world can keep you crazy most of the time?
Here are some interesting ‘body language’ approaches that you can use to get the stress out of your relationship:
How your body reacts to stress
Alexithymia is the phenomenon where someone who can’t verbalize the stress that he/she is feeling experiences bodily changes that indicate stress. These include squinting and darting eyes, tight and rigid held-up shoulders, and hands and arms that barely relax – the result is a tensed look reflecting unspoken problems. You might not know it, but your body might be sending out stress signals to your partner and these signals could put your relationship on the edge because of the developing tension.
Be conscious of the reactions your partner is sending back to you. Try to be more sensitive of your partner’s unspoken cues. Then try to practice the unspoken cues that represent the message you want to send out to your partner. Messages like ‘you are important to me’ may be sent out as individually designed emotional cues.
Look for these warning signs in your partner:
- No or little eye contact
- The absence of soft, just-for-the-fun-of-it touching
- Higher tone of voice – shrill voice.
- Step shifting from side to side or backstepping
- No signs of agreement like nodding or ‘mmmm’ sounds to indicate that you’re listening to them
Learn to recognize body language and observe your own unspoken cues. There are many methods to do this and sharpen your skills in terms of sending out those cues. People usually respond more to what you do and keep unspoken – try these out and you will find that your ‘someone’ has improved in relating to you.
No or little Eye Contact
Eye contact can be tricky because of the intimacy that it denotes. If your relationship is solid, a great amount of eye contact and smiling can be noticed. Make sure you look someone in the eye when you are talking to him/her; closing the eyes when talking to someone can sometimes mean shutting that person out. Such can also indicate anxiety.
Touch to Reassure
Be tactful when touching people – a soft brush at the back of another person’s hand or arm, or a reassuring hand when opening the door or going up the stairs can be enough most of the time. Make sure the touches are gentle, and go unnoticed.
Mind your tone
Modulate your voice. A good technique would be to tape it and listen to it, then adjust it accordingly; record in a room with enough sound insulation. Do some breathing exercises and relax your throat when you speak. Your goal is to sound more inviting.
Consider the value of feedback
Try to respond agreeably with a nod of the head, a smile, or a slight sound when your loved one talks to you – this will send them the message that you are engaged with them and that they are talking ‘with you’ instead of ‘at you’.
Smile as much as you can; this is the best non-verbal cue that you can use anytime, anywhere.