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Living Positively: Why Happiness is Your Choice


    As we move towards the GetLusty for Couples re-launch, we're all working harder than ever. This means we're working longer hours and dreaming about quality time together. Now, though, more than ever--we need to focus on the positives. We're going to offer couples more features. We'll help couples create amazing sexual relationships.

    Needless to say, when task lists and work weeks get longer, conversations can get tense. And this takes work! As Dr. Jenn reminds us in this article, it's important to focus on the positive in our lives. Our emotional perspective makes an important impact on how we feel about ourselves and our relationships. So--how about it? Can you see the positive through negative situation?

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    A client shared this with me recently. She and her husband use this idea as a reminder to not make problems any bigger than they have to be. They choose to focus on their joys instead of their fears. Through our work on mindfulness and positive psychology, and their commitment to their marriage, they created this powerful mantra. Pretty wise for 24 year-olds.

    To develop mindfulness, I encouraged them to notice or reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Sometimes a situation results in just a reaction without thought. It seems you have no choice in your reaction. Mindfulness can reveal an opportunity to respond differently. I also encouraged them to end each day by sharing three gratitudes for that day with each other.

    In addition, if they felt sucked down by negativity during the day, they could choose to “flip the switch” to positivity. Instead, they would shift their focus to something for which they felt appreciation. Small shifts like these can have a big impact on a relationship. Clearly these shifts are working for this couple, as the husband recently shared:

    "I decided that the problems (we felt) were small. On the other hand, the rewards are large. So I just don’t pay much attention to them anymore. Please know that you have helped guide us from a tragic situation to one of the highest levels of intimacy and satisfaction. I didn’t think it was possible to feel this giddy beyond the infatuation phase, but now I know you can feel in love every second of my life."

    They may be thanking me, but each of them is doing the hard work of retraining their brains. It’s not easy. But we have a lot more power and control over our emotional states and reactions than we realize. Sometimes it feels downright excruciating to break our automatic patterns. However, as this couple attests, through the pain of change, is the glory of intimacy.

    Jennifer "Dr. Jenn" Gunsaullus, Ph.D., is a sociologist who works as a sexuality and mindfulness speaker, and a relationship and intimacy counselor. She specializes in helping women, couples, and groups deepen intimacy, strengthen communication, and improve trust and self-expression. Dr. Jenn got her start in the sex and relationship field 19 years ago as a sexual health peer educator at Lehigh University in her home state of Pennsylvania. She now merges her practical training in sexual health and academic training in sociology with her passion for holistic health and mind/body/spirit perspectives. Follow Dr. Jenn on twitter @DrJennsDen, or subscribe to her Facebook page

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