Make a Good Relationship Great

Most couples focus on avoiding conflict, but happy couples see the positives. They provide support and take the focus off the partner.

10 Things to Say to Generate Good Feelings

The more you give, the more you'll get.

Positivity expressed in smiles makes you more attractive.
(c) Ingram Publishing www.fotosearch.com Stock Photography
At any moment, you can send people positive vibes or negative vibes. 

Criticism sends out negative vibes. So do complaints, disagreement, blame, and frowns. Love, by contrast, involves the emanation of positive energy. Expressions of thanks, gratitude and appreciation, along with interest in others' lives and warm smiles, all send forth positive energy as well. The more positive emanations you send people, the more they will feel appreciated, and appreciate you in return. 

Overdoing the positivity with excessive gushing, like sunshine that is too intense, can be off-putting. For the most part though, people who emanate positive vibes feel "warm."  Whether it's your boss, employee, or colleague; your friend, relative, or partner, warm people feel safe to share with, and, like gentle sunshine, radiate good feelings. Their positivity makes you want to talk with them more; they establish good vibes as a relationship standard.

Positive people avoid being critical or argumentative, negating what you say, or responding dismissively to what you say. Those are the habits of negative people. Interacting with someone who is often negative, or being in a group with a leader who sends forth negative words and vibes, can be a downer. Their energy makes others feel insecure, ignored, criticized, irritated  or depressed  Time shared with someone who rains toxic energies can be downright unpleasant. If you are living in a household with bickering or outright fights, you'd best learn how to stop arguing.

Positive individuals and leaders, by contrast, convey interest in your perspective and well-being, along with agreement with what you say, appreciation of what you do, humor, and affection.

Subconsciously, the levels of feel-good chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin in your body rise when you hear positive words and phrases, or receive a smile, eye contact, or a pat on the back. By contrast, serotonin levels go down when you interact with someone whose words and body language convey the message, "Stay away!"  

Similarly, the energy in the positivity area of your brain,  the left prefrontal lobe, diminishes while the right prefrontal lobe, the locus of negative feelings, increases in energy.  

You can decide to be more positive. 

The following a list of sentence starters that launch good vibes. (I'm sure you could add more.) Consider deciding to add more of them to your conversational routine, especially if it feels like your close relationships need a bit of rekindling, and see what happens:

  1. Yes...
    "Yes, going swimming sounds great." ["Yes... but.." has the opposite impact; but negates the positivity of the Yes.]
  2. I agree...
    "I agree that it's too hot to do any exercise other than swimming today."
  3. I appreciate...
    "I appreciate your willingness to pack a lunch."
  4. Thank you for...
    "Thanks so much for getting me moving. I was stuck on my couch all day."
  5. I like (love, enjoy) ...
    "I like that suit! Looks terrific!"  And to initiate action, "I would like to ...".  "I would like to swim laps for a good workout while we're at the pool."
  6. That makes sense to me because...
    "Bringing lunch makes sense to me because the food at the pool is so expensive."
  7. I'm pleased (happy, delighted) that...
    "I'm pleased that you invited those guys to join us."
  8. Good! (Excellent, Great, Wow, Cool, Terrific, etc.)
    "Great! Let's hop in the car."
  9. How...?/What...?
    These open-ended question words convey interest in the other. Interest in others conveys warmth and positive views of the other preson. "How have you beeen feeling about driving since your accident?" "What have you heard lately from your Mom?" 
  10. Positive non-verbals.
    Positive words have even more impact when spoken in an enthusiastic tone of voice, with positive facial expressions.  Smiles, laughter, playfulness, "eye hugs" from making eye contact, and, with intimates, hugs and other physical expressions of affection also go a long way toward generating good feelings.

Of course, every sentence you say need not radiate good vibes, and over-done or insincere gushing would be counter-productive.  

Another tip: Eliminate as many negatives as you can.  But, no, not, don't like, crticisms, sarcasm, blame etc. all drag down the emotional tone, undermining whatever positives you are adding.

Yet another tip: giving positivity is one of four essential arenas of skills that keep relationships positive.  Be sure also to develop your skills in the other three communication skill-sets. That way your smiles and positive words will express genuine inner feelings of well-being as well as outward expression of goodwill.

Then let yourself  enjoy yourself.  Sprinkle a generous seasoning of positive expressions onto your interactions.  Agreement, appreciation, playful humor, and enthusiasm in your interactions warm your relationships and brighten how people feel when they talk with you, whether you are dealing with a salesman in a store, a co-worker, or a loved one or children at home. 

With positive language and voice tones, you can become a positive leader in all your relationships. Emanate positive vibes, even to yourself, and affection and appreciation will return your way. Everyone will enjoy the sunshine!

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Denver clinical psychologist Susan Heitler, Ph.D, a graduate of Harvard and NYU, is author of Power of Two, a book, a workbook, and a website that teach the communication skills that sustain positive relationships. Click here for a free Power of Two relationship assessment.  Click the logo for more information on the interactive website program. 

The brief video below focuses on how positive vibes sustain the glow of love in marriage. The principles apply though to all relationships. The video can help you to assess how you've been doing in the department of positive emanations and give you further ideas on how to do more.

Make a Good Relationship Great