Can fighting be good for you? Absolutely! However, definitely play by the rules of the emotional brain. The BBH strategy brings to light some important realities about ourselves. When participants start using the Emotional Brain Training program, we advise that if their brain is in stress, then they probably choose partners who are at the same brain stress level!

And, unless the situation is not safe for them or others, especially children, then seeing a psychotherapist right away for support in setting needed limits and looking at options for transitions may make sense. However, by the same token, our leaving means all that lost opportunity to have the joy of loving conflict. And that is a skill that is core to deepening our relationships with ourselves and others. What follow are a couple of ideas to get you started on the pathway to using BBH to think about your relationships:

Know your brain state Check in and learn how to identify your own brain state. This is more than a stress level, as in each brain state there is a different emotional pathway back to the optimal state of connection and neural integration. A different brain area is in charge at each of the five stress levels, and we all know that the reptilian brain that calls the shots at Brain State 5 reveals a very different individual than the loving and kind person we are when our neocortex is in charge at Brain State 1.

Know the other person's brain state Each brain state activates different characteristics, has a need for a different emotional tools, and activates different emotional memories. This is very important! If the other person is at a lower brain state, they might not even "see" you. The emotional memories from other relationships, particularly early relationships and connections later that have been traumatic block their ability to connect with you.

© Laurel Mellin 2019, All rights reserved. The Stress Overload Solution and The Stress Eating Solution.

Let your brain states guide your way If either person is below Brain State 2, they may be running Stress Circuits. If you think that you or the other person is running these allostatic, extreme wires, lovingly separate and come back later (there are techniques for that, too). Appreciate that intimacy begins with the secure connection you have with yourself. This connection can easily be disrupted and your job is to stay connected to yourself. If you are not at Brain State 1 or close to it, take a break. Appreciate that as you rewire Stress Circuits, your brain's set point will go up, and it will be easier to have loving conflict and end up happier, healthier, and healed from some of the hurts from the past.

In Emotional Brain Training, the first step is to learn how to self-regulate, how to know your brain state, and then use emotional tools to change in one to four minutes. This is very helpful! The next step is to rewire four Stress Circuits, including your relationship circuit. This is even more helpful. However, the last step in EBT is to raise your set point, first creating a secure based (advanced courses in Sanctuary, Authenticity, Vibrancy, and Integrity. After that, intimacy can flow more easily because we are robust (not triggered as easily) and resilient (bounce back more quickly).

The first step in discovering the joy of loving conflict is to begin to check your brain state and the state of your partner. Empathy flows and your limits become highly effective!