UMBC Wellness in the Workplace

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September 2013: “Cultivating Deposits in our Emotional Bank Account: Attending to the Little Things”

Stop and think for a moment about the conflicts in your life. Where did these conflicts come from? Did they appear overnight from a single incident or did they build up over time through a series of small interactions? This month’s relationship practice points to the importance of 'attending to the little things' while they’re still little so that we can avoid a big conflict. This can mean having a conversation with your partner over a pet peeve, doing some personal work to reframe you experience of small upsets, or simply letting these upsets go. On the proactive side, ‘attending to the little things’ can also be a form of ‘paying it forward’ by finding ways to offer small kindnesses to your partner. These can take many forms: a sincere compliment, a note, buying them lunch or bringing in treats, a hug (if appropriate), showing an interest in their life, etc. Even making it a point to make eye contact and offering a sincere smile can bring about a shift in a relationship and create a sense of good will.

In the next month, look for ways to ‘attend to the little things’ in your relationships, whether they be ones where conflict is present or not. Remember the importance of sincerity in how you make your offers…people can sense insincere motives and you will not reap the desired effect of building your relationships. Notice what relationship capacities are generated as a result of this practice.


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