Attachment Style and How it Impacts Our Relationships

Throughout our lifetime, we may find ourselves reacting or responding in a particular way within our closest interpersonal relationships whether they be with our parents, our friends or colleagues, or within our romantic partnerships. These reactions or responses are often a result of our attachment style which we all begin forming within our infant/caregiver relationship. The development of a secure attachment style is one in which we are equipped with empathy, the ability to regulate our emotions, resilience, effective interpersonal skills, and attachment security.

Although the development of a secure attachment style is the goal, many of us aren’t always provided the environment or conditions which facilitate the development of such. Some individuals may develop what is called an anxious-preoccupied attachment style or one of two types of avoidant attachment, either dismissive-avoidant or fearful-avoidant. Those individuals who find themselves with an attachment style that hasn’t quite made its way to secure as of yet, fear not. The best part of learning about and identifying our attachment style is that we are empowered to recognize and give logic to those internal compulsions that drive us, and subsequently, what we can do to make our way towards the secure style of attachment we strive to acquire. Here are some steps we can take to begin making our way toward secure attachment:

  • Become aware of what your specific attachment style is. This can be done fairly easy through reading up on empirically based resources or even taking some of the many quizzes available on line.

  • Identify why you’d like to move your attachment style more towards secure and what drives your desire to do so.

  • Make a plan and set some goals. How would you like to work on developing a secure attachment style and what tools will you use? One may wish to do this work independently while others may wish to utilize the support and direction that can be found in therapy.

  • Once you have a plan in place and the desire to do so, stay persistent! This process isn’t an easy or quick one, as you are striving to alter a deeply engrained mindset; however, with a strong will and consistent effort, it is achievable and well worth the work.

Achieving a secure attachment style takes self-awareness, patience and tenacity but will ultimately provide us with more fulfilling, honest, and satisfying relationships within our lives.

Healthy Family Time in the Summer Time

Think about one precious memory you have of summer time. I bet this memory involves interactions with the most valued people in your life. The hectic mundane routine of everyday life can often lead us to not enjoy our families and loved ones as much as we would like. Even vacations can become stressful because we may be too focused on the activities/schedules and forget to stop and appreciate the people around us.  Being intentional with the planning of activities that promote family bonding time is the key to nourishing those extra special relationships in our lives. Here are some tips on how to promote intentional family time:

  • Put away all technological devices. 
  • A special one-on-one time with each member of the family doing something that is different from everyday routine (date with your spouse, special ice cream outing, going to a different park, visiting a different beach, etc.)
  • Eat dinner together at the dinner table at least once per week (no technology allowed!)
  • Put your family time first before play dates, friends, work, phone calls, etc.
  • Families with multiple children plan a “date time” with each child individually doing an activity of the child’s choice. 

 

Most of us are creatures of habit and finding new and creative activities can often be difficult and frustrating. Family activities that encourage a healthy mind and body lifestyle are wonderful in building stronger relationships. Summer time can be a great opportunity for families to start new family traditions and figure out what works and what does not. You can also plant a seed for healthy family time for future generations.  Here are some healthy creative activities:

 

  • Have a weekly movie night at home.
  • Eat a special meal that is completely different than your usual meals. Go around and say what your favorite memory of the week was and what you are looking forward to next week.
  • Go to a new library, new park, new beach, new fishing spot, etc.
  • Plant a garden together (you can start very small!)
  • Paint together (set up special area for younger kids) or have a dance party in your house.
  • Go for a hike and pack lots of water and a favorite lunch!
  • Involve the family in making healthy meals: make a smoothie, fruit/veggie plate, healthy desert, etc. together.
  • Go bowling or play a board game together on rainy days.

 

Get a calendar and write down one intentional activity you will do with your family per week. Make sure to include the whole family in the planning of these new activities. The process of just planning together can be a fun and exciting family activity. Make sure to follow through with the plans and enjoy your special time together! 

Sometimes it can be difficult getting the family together or figuring out how to make family time memorable. Our qualified therapists at Southwest Florida Counseling Center can provide individual and/or family sessions to help your family thrive. Give us a call to start today!