How To Maintain Peace Within Your Relationship During Quarantine

How To Maintain Peace Within Your Relationship During Quarantine

We’re in such a testing period–Not only in our work and health life, but in our relationships as well. These times right now are really forcing us to look within. Because without the distractions, we face a lot of truths and uncomfortable realities that we’ve been trying to deny and repress. Without the distractions, we also face a lot of triggers and if we don’t have the proper tools and knowledge to navigate our triggers, it can have severe implications on our relationships.

So what’s the first step—How can we maintain the peace in our relationship during quarantine?

I’m going to teach you the fundamentals to what I teach my coaching clients. These are scientifically proven techniques to help you not only become aware of patterns that are negatively impacting your life and your relationships, but practical strategies that you can use under any challenging circumstance.

The first step in maintaining peace within your relationship is becoming aware of how you are thinking, feeling and behaving. The therapeutic approach I love using for this is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, primarily the Cognitive Behavioral Triangle.

The CBT Triangle states that our thoughts, feelings and actions create our patterns, which as a result, create our reality. These 3 components are working in your life 24/7.

By looking at the arrows in this diagram, you can see that our thoughts↠can impact our feelings↠which then can impact the choices we make (our actions). The triangle also works interchangeably demonstrating that a feeling we have↠can cause us to think a certain way↠which then causes us to behave in a certain way. The last two scenarios is that we can behave in a certain way (an impulse or habit)↠which then causes to think certain thoughts↠which then causes us to feel a certain emotion…Or we behave in a certain way (an impulse or habit)↠which then causes us to feel a certain emotion↠then causing us to think certain thoughts.

So what does this look like in real life?

Here’s a personal example…My partner, of whom I live with, just stopped working. We, like most couples on the planet right now, have been spending  A LOT of time together–And although spending time together is something so many of us crave within our relationships, too much time together can leave us feeling a bit on edge.

Something that’s been triggering me with my partner is when I ask him to do something (a house chore mostly) and he doesn’t do it immediately. This drives me crazy because not only can I be a bit impatient, but I also feel as though if it weren’t for me, the house chores wouldn’t get done.

When referring to the CBT Triangle, the first thing I notice in this scenario is that I feel upset↠which then causes me to think about how unfair it is that I have to do everything↠which then either causes me to snap at him or to passively hold a grudge against him.

Does this pattern sound familiar to you?

Over time, I’ve learned that this approach to dealing with my triggers don’t help me, or him, or our relationship–Because as I’m sure many of you know, tone, language and reactive impulses can cause us to get defensive, which in turn can spiral into a nasty argument where nothing gets resolved. And if children are present, these reactions affect them and their well-being as well.

So how can we change our patterns?…I invite you now to think about your own triggers.

What is ticking you off about your partner right now?

And when that trigger gets set off, is it an emotion, a thought or an impulsive reaction that first comes up for you?

When you have that reaction, what does it do to you?

When you have that reaction, what does it do to your partner?

When you have that reaction, what does it do to your relationship?

When you have that reaction, how does it impact your children?

Becoming aware of that pattern and the reaction it causes to the people around you is the first step.

The second important step I wanted to share with you (also another scientifically proven technique) is how to interrupt those destructive patterns with Mindful Self-Compassion.

Mindful Self-Compassion has three components:

Mindfulness– Becoming aware and observing your thoughts, feelings & actions without judgement.

Common Humanity– Understanding that we are not alone in our suffering. Every human struggles in one way or another.

Self-Kindness– Treating/speaking to ourselves in the same way we would treat/speak to someone we loved–being gentle with our tone, verbal language and body language. The key here is to use self-kindness as a more productive way to motivate/encourage ourselves (and other’s) as opposed to harsh criticism.

So how do we implement Mindful Self-Compassion into our real life challenges?

Let’s take the same example I listed earlier…

First thing I do, is I use Mindfulness to become aware of my trigger (my partner not helping me out with the chores exactly when I tell him to).

Second, I use the CBT triangle to decipher if following the trigger, I notice myself either have a thought, feeling or an impulse to behave in a certain way.

In my case, the first thing that happens is that I have a feeling. I notice where the feeling is coming from (usually I feel hot in the face) and then I label the emotion, in this case, anger.

Third thing I do is remind myself that it’s normal to feel angry (Common Humanity) and that it’s just a normal human emotion. This takes away the shame many of us feel from experiencing certain “negative” emotions.

Last step is to show myself kindness. I’ll think to myself, “What can I say to myself right now that will help me self-soothe?” In this case, I told myself “Jessica, you already asked him to do the dishes, he agreed to do it, so just trust that it will get done. You’re not in a rush. If he forgets, just simply remind him. The world is not going to end whether he gets it done now or in an hour from now.” And then I like to end it with, “You got this and you’re amazing” just for some extra love 🙂

Do you see how this was a more logical approach to my trigger as opposed to the more emotional, reactive approach?

Talking to myself in this soothing way (like I would talk to a dear friend that’s going through the same thing) instantly eased the sensation I was feeling in my body and allowed me to focus on something different.

So whether it’s something you say to yourself to help you self-soothe, or perhaps an activity you can do to shift the feeling of unease, the point here is to show yourself and other’s compassion. And the more you implement this technique into your daily routine, the more natural it will become with time.

These techniques are simple, but not easy.

It’s simple to understand how our patterns impact our lives, but it can be challenging to implement new strategies in order to break those patterns. Because the truth is, these set ways of thinking, feeling and behaving have been a consistent part of your life, and as a result, they’ve become habitual. However, although these patterns may come as second nature to you, by using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindful Self-Compassion, you can begin interrupting those patterns in order to experience more peace in your life and healthier, strong relationships.

If you’re interested in learning more about incorporating these strategies into your life, I offer an 8 week Empowered Living 1:1 Coaching Program. Learn more HERE.