Ok maybe we can’t fix your relationship in 20-second but there is a 20-second technique that can help reduce conflict, increase intimacy, and help you and your loved one reconnect.  What is this miracle trick?  A hug!  We all know that a hug can make us feel better after a terrible day at work or cure a child’s disappointment.  But did you know that the warm, connected feeling that comes with a hug is actually the work of a special neurochemical in your brain.  Oxytocin is a hormone that works in our brain to create feelings of trust, security, and emotional connection.  Often called the “bonding” hormone, it has long been known that it is vital in the infant-caregiver relationship.  New and exciting research is beginning to explore how we can stimulate the release of oxytocin in ourselves and how that process can improve our relationships and even the effectiveness of therapy.  Below is an excerpt from an article I recently published with Associated Content, take a look or click here to read the full article and find out how a hug or 2 a day can keep away the arguments.

Before you try to give your sweetheart a bear hug in the middle of your next fight, it is important to talk about the possibility of using this method. Suddenly reaching out to grab your partner mid-argument is not a recipe for success unless you’ve agreed on trying this approach in advance and you both feel comfortable with it. In fact it is often useful to try it on your own first with a technique I like to call ‘holding your heart’. Simply place your hand over your heart and close your eyes. Breathe deeply and think of a moment when you felt safe and loved. Hold this image of security and comfort in your mind’s eye and focus on the feelings that you had at that moment for 20-30 seconds while continuing to breathe deeply. Go ahead, try it now.

What did you feel? Most people experience a sense of warmth in their bodies and the release of tension in their muscles. In general my clients report feeling peaceful and more in control of their response toward their partner. This feeling of peace and calm is the effect of oxytocin in the brain. The experience of re-living a moment of loving security can be powerful, so don’t be surprised if it brings up some strong emotions from time to time. Some couples may become tearful as they connect with feelings that may have been ignored for months or even years. If you find these emotions overwhelming, it may be helpful to talk with a therapist…  (read full article here)