Do This to Stop Lashing Out at Your Loving Partner
Avoid acting on those relationship damaging urges.
Posted February 19, 2017 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan
Anger issues and lashing out in intimate relationships come from toxic thoughts that spiral out of control. When you catch yourself having a toxic thought, make a point to breathe deeply.
Yes, it’s simple. But simple is good. Deep breaths will calm and slow you down. The next time you’re upset or angry, notice your breath. You’re probably going to find it stuck in your chest or throat.
Our natural inclination is to stop breathing or breathe in a super shallow manner when stressed. As you’ll see, it’s hard to remain clenched and toxic when you have breath flowing through your body.
Dr. Andrew Weil, the famous Harvard-trained physician, views breathing as “the master key to self-healing.“ Other support for the amazing sense of clarity and inner peace gained by proper breathing has been demonstrated by Herbert Benson, who actually coined the term, “relaxation response,” which was based on breathing and mindfulness techniques.
And then there’s Vincent, a 43-year old client of mine whose wife was ready to toss him out the window. This couple was on their second year of barely speaking. A self-described "tell it like it is" guy who doesn’t go for any "new age hoo-ha,” Vince was quick to dismiss my advice to breathe deeply when he became aware of toxic thinking. But because his wife really was about to walk out if he didn’t at least try to improve their communication,
Vincent began to breathe deeply at the first sign of toxic thinking. Only a week later, Vincent was a convert. “I can’t believe how much better I feel with this breathing,” he said. “I never realized how much I was holding my breath all the time. I really do feel better. I really am able to calm myself down before it’s too late.” (Too late for him meaning a toxic thought leading to a toxic silence or a toxic lashing out at his wife who had enough of it).
If Vincent can make breath a positive force in his battle against toxic thinking; you can too. See below for the proper breathing technique.
How to Breathe for Mindfulness
- Breathe in deeply through your nose to a count of four.
- As you breathe in, allow your stomach and your chest to expand with air.
- Hold this breath for a count of four.
- Exhale slowly to a count of seven or eight.
- Repeat at least three times, or until you feel calm.
Check out Dr. Jeff's best selling book, 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child to learn how to manage your reactivity with a difficult child, and see Why Can't You Read My Mind? to control anger in loving relationships.