Improving your relationships with effective communication

Effective communication is vital not only to our health but our relationships. It’s important to express what’s on your mind and deal with a problem in a calm, positive fashion so that issues don’t fester and then require a blow-up to release the pent-up resentment or anger. People have their unique styles; therefore, it’s essential to be as clear as possible with your message, so you know it is received and understood.

Here are some simple tips to follow to help you communicate your heart:

  • Before you set a time to meet, think about the points you’d like to make (and if applicable, what your compromises might be). You may even want to write them down so you can be as clear as possible when delivering your thoughts and you remember the salient points you want to cover.
  • Set aside some quiet time to talk without distractions from your phone or television.
  • Speak to what you want, need and feel (use “I” statements).
  • After you’ve spoken, listen to your partner’s response trying to understand their intentions, feelings, needs and wants without interruption.
  • Express your positive feelings with your partner, especially what you appreciate and admire about them.
  • Be aware of your body language and tone of your voice.
  • If needed, you (or the other person you’re communicating with) might even decide to take a time out if emotions are running high.

If some things are too difficult to communicate, or you find yourself hitting a wall or out of your league, remember to seek out professional help.

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