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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Build Better Relationships

Personal connections make life meaningful. But when a problem arises, it can wipe the smile from your face.

Boost your bond with … your husband:
Back away from the BlackBerry. If you’re texting or emailing while talking to your husband, you’re essentially saying that message is more important than him, says Dr. Dale Atkins, a New York City-based psychologist. Drop the gadget and focus on your partner. And make sure he does the same.
Boost your bond with … your boss:
Tweak your thinking. You can’t change your boss, but you can alter your reactions, says Atkins. If you get nervous talking to him or her, do a quick relaxation exercise before approaching. Breathe deeply, and practice a positive mind-state mantra. Say to yourself: “I’m anxious, but I’ll get through this,” instead of, “This is terrible; I know I’m going to trip over my words!”
Boost your bond with … your sister:
Create a new connection. Adult siblings clash because of childhood roles, explains Atkins. Talk about life now -- discuss your respective hobbies, jobs and kids. If your sister launched a scrapbooking business, for instance, don’t make fun of her just because she’s Little Sis. Instead, ask her to share her vision with you.
Boost your bond with … your kids:
Explain your reasoning. Avoid being critical or judgmental when asking children to do something, advises Atkins. Instead, tell them why a task is important to you. If your preteen won’t clean her room, explain that cleaning her room helps her learn responsibility and pride.
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