Do Your Relationships Need A Little Feng Shui?

By Katya Juliet

We know every relationship requires positive energy and mutual efforts in order to stay healthy. But what if, regardless of all your effort and energy, your relationships at home or work were still being negatively impacted just because your interior decorating skills? No, I’m not suggesting you go out and completely remodel your home. But do consider how your environment is laid out and what affects could be at play.

Within the realm of interpersonal relationships and communication, there is something called Microenvironmental Features, which generally states that the environment around you has specific subtle effects on levels of personal attraction and the liking of others. Everything from the color of the walls and lighting to the materials and facing-direction of your furniture can cause your relationship to further unite or even polarize.

Communication research within the book Close Encounters (3rd edition, Guerrero, Anderson and Afifi) states “Environments that encourage interaction by providing a cozy atmosphere can promote attraction. Environments that put people face-to-face in close proximity can also enhance attraction. And the emotions people experience due to the environment can also be related to attraction.”

Part of what contributes to this is something called The Reinforcement Affect Model. This is where the environment itself is producing the subtle positive emotions that transfer to those interacting within that environment. Specifically, “people unconsciously associate the feelings they experience in a particular environment with the individuals who are a part of that environment.” (Close Encounters, p.71)

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Consider the world of dating. If you feel extremely uncomfortable in your environment, would you be more or less likely to open up and share personal information or even a first kiss? Most likely, not. Comfort, emotions and levels of attractiveness come hand in hand. So, if you entered an environment on a first or second date that felt cozy, inviting and even exciting, the likeliness of a third, fourth or fifth date just got a lot higher.

Now consider this same concept but in your home with your partner or even at work with your coworkers. Both of these environments are ones in which we become so used to, the mere routine of it all can give the impression it is not having any effect on your life or relationships at all. But research now indicates that all those microenvironmental features, when done correctly, can substantially help the feelings of attraction and liking and therefore, contribute to a happier and more fulfilling relationship.

So, what should you do with this information? Take a look around. Notice the emotions and feelings you have while inside your home or office. Are they positive, negative or neutral? Could they be enhanced?

Next, consider the state of your relationships with those around you. When it comes to your shared environment:

  • Is your living environment set up so that you and your partner constantly face opposite directions and are located at great distances apart? Or is eye contact and even the “accidental” brushing against one another when passing in the hall happening relatively frequently?
  • Does your company sit in an isolated area or in a central location?
  • Do you keep your curtains and windows open or closed?
  • Are the doors to different rooms constantly closed? Are there certain rooms in your home kept private, away from your partner?

The list could go on and on. The point is, reflect. Pay attention. Pinpoint your emotions as you move from room to room. See if the environment in which you spend most of your time is helping or hindering the development of your relationships. It is true that people feel fonder to those who they find attractive. So, if just a few small tweaks of your living room can help the feelings of positivity and attractiveness flow… I say, go for it.

Thank you for following and sharing iflourish.

blackBLOGO-coral-grey-beigeFor additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, communication consulting, copywriting, PR & Social Media Management for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations. 

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EXTRA: Not related to the interpersonal communication element directly, but I have also heard great things about Color Therapy, in where the colors themselves are doing the communication. Incorporating this concept as well could help as you consider changing a few things around within your home or office environment. Here is an intro link to this form another blog titled Art Therapy, as well as a few images just in case you find this topic interesting.)

Thepsychofcolor colour therapy wheel

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Colorful Communication: Extending Your Emotional Vocabulary

By Katya Juliet

Last week I shared an introduction on neuroplasticity and how it relates to communication based off the work of Dr. Shad Hemstetter. Today, I wanted to follow-up with something semi-related: why words have the ability to change, help or hurt us so deeply.

You know how the saying goes:

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

Unfortunately, this is not the case and words we both say and hear can be extremely powerful triggers of emotion that can either help or hurt us in a single moment and repeatedly over time.

Words have been learned and wired in our brain and designed to trigger both emotions and previous experiences. When we hear a certain word or feedback that feels critical or hurtful, our brains reference from knowledge about that word as well as any past experiences we may have had with those words. Words have real world definitions, yes. But more importantly, they have personal meanings and definitions from which we cannot escape.

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From a neurological perspective, if we tend to repeat things back to ourselves over and over on a subconscious level in our brain, we are already feeling the effects of those words hundreds of thousands of times over. Additionally, our understanding of those words may be interpreted differently than intended by the speaker. These are some of the reasons why people begin to argue in relationships. When they misinterpret information exchanged, it could be tone or context related, but many times it can be because that individual receiving the words in feedback form has had a previous experience with those words and decided that they are either positive or negative and reacts accordingly.

Words are also used differently in different cultures. Just as social norms vary, different cultures say things in ways that may feel critical or threatening to another and therefore, it is important to be as clear and precise in pinpointing what you are really trying to say as often as you can.

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The best way to start learning how to communicate with clarity and proper intention is to widen your emotional vocabulary. In general, if you think of words as crayons and communication as art – we are limiting what we can draw by only using a few colors out of our complete crayon box.

For example, when two people in a relationship are arguing, they may use common phrases like “I feel angry, hurt or sad.” But those are actually very broad umbrella words that often don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the emotion you are truly feeling at that moment. If you dig deeper – and use more colors – you realize that you are not actually feeling angry and sad, but rather rejected and afraid.

The more emotional vocabulary words you begin to use, the better you can communicate out with others and receive feedback without feeling the need to respond defensively. By using more of the colors in your crayon box, it can cause you in turn to ask others to also use more of theirs. Together, you may get to the root cause of your issue faster.

The idea is to grow and evolve in your relationships along with your emotional vocabulary and have a better understanding of yourself and feelings along the way. If you can communicate more clearly and more often, you may be able to stop future arguments all together and save relationships from eventual deterioration.

There are many resources available online to improve and extend your emotional vocabulary. To get started, here is one link for an example of how to learn more emotional vocabulary. Begin using them in your relationship discussions for better clarity and faster resolution right away and see if it makes a positive difference for you!

Thank you for following and sharing iflourish!

blackBLOGO-coral-grey-beigeFor additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, communication consulting, copywriting, PR & Social Media Management for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations. 

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An Introduction to Neuroplasticity and Communication

By Katya Juliet

Every moment of every day, your brain is changing and it is affecting your mind. Yes, your brain and your mind are two different things.

In my quest to better understand the power of positive vs. negative self-talk and its effect on both our daily life and physical brain, I stumbled upon acclaimed Author and Psychologist Dr. Shad Hemstetter’s two books What To Say When You Talk To Yourself and The Power of Neuroplasticity, both of which are absolutely incredible. I highly recommend them and will be writing, referencing and sharing concepts from them.

“You are creating, at this moment, the person you’re going to become tomorrow, and you are physically wiring that person into your brain.” – Dr. Shad Hemstetter

First off, I want to introduce the concept of Neuroplasticity and how it relates to communication. Neuroplasticity can be defined as: “The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.” More specifically, neural pathways and synapses change in response to the changes going on inside you and around you: behavior changes, the way you think or feel emotion as well as changes in your environment and even damage to your brain are all factors.

When we communicate and receive feedback with other people as well as with ourselves (both consciously and unconsciously) those brain changes are taking place simultaneously. Thus, how we communicate (tone, emotion, volume) and what we communicate (positive or negative) literally changes who we are physically, who we think we are mentally, and therefore, changes how we communicate in the future as well.

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As I mentioned before, our brains and our minds are not one the same. In Chapter 7 of The Power of Neuroplasticity, Dr. Hemstetter breaks down the way it works in four parts using a computer analogy that makes it pretty easy to understand.

Part 1 The Basic Computer: This represents your physical brain.

Part 2 The Software: This represents your neural pathways and circuits we call “programs.”

Part 3 The Computer Operator: This is you – the “you” that you’re aware of. This is your conscious, thinking mind,

Part 4 The Silent Controller: This is your brain on autopilot.

Lastly, your “Subconscious Mind” is your brain’s neurons silently firing. Which leads me to my concluding thought on the introduction of this topic. Ready for my deep-thought moment?

I was watching The Dr. Phil Show one afternoon (Haha, at least I admit it) and it was a show on Bullies and Bullying. In his council to a young woman, he mentioned that what one person may have only said to us one time can actually be repeated to ourselves, by ourselves, hundreds of thousands of times a day! In that moment it registered. How much of what I think I hear is actually being told to me by others and how much of it is me saying or repeating it to myself?

For example, when we argue with someone and say things like “you always say this” or “you always do that” and they adamently say that it’s not true – while we may actually feel that way – could it be possible that they did do or say it one, maybe two times, and because it impacted us so, we then continued to repeat it to ourselves, neurologically and unconsciously, the rest of “all the times”? Wow.

In later blogs, I will share more of Dr. Hemstetter’s work and methods he shares on how to learn to self-talk with more positivity and keep an overall healthier and more optimistic mindset. This topic is very fascinating and helpful to recognize that sometimes the way we self-talk and communicate may be making our own lives better or most likely, more challenging, and certainly causing impactful change to occur within our brains 24/7/365.

What are your thoughts on Neuroplasticity? Are you interested in learning more?

blackBLOGO-coral-grey-beigeFor additional support or consulting services, feel free to contact Katya Juliet through her business website, Buzzword-Consulting. Buzzword Consulting offers affordable digital marketing services, communication consulting, copywriting, PR & Social Media Management for small businesses, start-ups, entrepreneurs & non-profit Organizations. 

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