Holidays stir in most of us a desire to feel loved. To be wrapped in the warm embrace of hot chocolate, sugar cookies, eggnog and holiday cheer. Whether or not you come from a family that can provide that emotional warmth you can still work on improving your ability to create loving relationships in the present time.
The following is taken from Diane Poole Heller, a pioneer in the field of attachment therapy. Dr. Heller is a somatic therapy and trauma specialist who trains therapists world-wide in helping people to heal from traumatic events, including dysfunctional childhoods, and learning to establish more safe and secure relationships with those they love. I have found her work to be extremely helpful and relevant. Below is a post that she sent to clinicians on her list-serve:
1. Send your loved one a Beam Gleam! This is a wonderful way to say “I Love You & You Are Special to Me” and establish a deeper connection with the ones you love – it's one of the techniques I teach in the Healing Early Attachment Wounds module I of the DARe/SATe program. You can do it with your partner, friend, child, even with your pet. Here's a link to the “Kind Eyes” exercise which enhances our innate ability to connect with others.
2. Got Oxytocin? Share hugs ~ we don't get enough hugs! They stimulate the release of the “bonding hormone" oxytocin, and promote intimacy and dissolving anxiety. They also increase your contact nutrition, are non-fattening and very satisfying. Initiate, hug, and repeat. Watch this video for inspiration.
3. Increase your Play Time! Just do it!
4. Plan to have quality time to spend with your special ones this holiday season. Couples or parents and children should try to double their playtime–or make sure they have at least one day a week dedicated to play. I love this quote: “Young Souls Play Hard to Get Mature Souls Play Hard but Old Souls Just Play – La, La, La…” The Universe.
5. Give gifts the way your partner likes to receive them. We all have different ways that we like to receive and give love. Learn more about this in DARe 1 – Healing Early Attachment Wounds, Dare 2 – Creating Healthy Adult Relationships, and the book: The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
6. Make a date with yourself to nurture yourself with some personal “alone time” to contemplate your New Year's vision. Having time alone is important to recharge and reconnect with your inner center. In DARe 3 – The Neurobiology of Loving Relationships, we learn that people have too little uninterrupted time to have an intimate connection with their core Selves and source.
7. Be with friends and family that you love. Being with others affirms our belonging. Part of Secure Attachment is an easy flow between aloneness and connection.
8. Find your voice to sing your heart out in togetherness. Here is a lovely example of a community sing-out that you will love: SINGING TRIBUTE IN THE MARKETPLACE. Try it in person - it will bring release to you.
9. Make a sincere apology or repair a "broken" bridge with someone.
10. Give three positive, affirming gifts of love each day. Verbal or non-verbal. Pay attention to unspoken signals and notice the results.
11. Turn off your computer and TV and make personal contact. “Real” contact can be much more nourishing than “virtual” contact even as much as we value our email, Facebook, and Skype exchanges. We've gotten so used to technology that sometimes we need a reminder of the nourishment of the authentic, face-to-face connection and hearing the sound of our loved one's voices, or giving and receiving safe touch.
12. List 3 of the BEST things that's happened to you this year. It's a great exercise to learn the art of gratefulness, which has an added benefit of expanding our capacity to give and receive. Keep this list handy in your purse or wallet. Read. Smile.
Krista Jordan, Ph.D.
Dr. Jordan has been in private practice for 20 years in Texas. She is passionate about helping people to overcome hurts and obstacles from their past to find more happiness and health in their current lives.