How to be a Supportive Partner: The Brain & Neuroplasticity Approach

How to be a Supportive Partner: The Brain & Neuroplasticity Approach

August 21, 2020 by Kevin Peter0
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Our brains are squishy structures that can change and that can be changed by us, us, you know, by our own brain!

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change, adapt and grow as we learn and practice new skills. In countless MRI scans, it has been revealed that by simply moving our little finger for an hour can bring about changes in the motor cortex region of our brain. What’s even strange is that even if we don’t actually move our finger but merely think about doing it for an hour, it still shows changes in the post thought MRI scans!

Compassion and meditation have shown to increase the thickness of our prefrontal cortex. So if someone calls you a big-headed person, it’s a good thing! Well…

The science is pretty simple though. The more action or thought we do of a single event, the more connections we make in our brain. The more we strengthen the neural pathways in our brain. And over time, such chemical changes can even alter the structure of our brain.

The name of the game then is kindness, and no better player to practice this with than your partner. One way or the other, they are the ones who are going to influence you the most in your life and the person with whom you’re going to spend most of your time.

But how? What should I do? How can I be kind to my partner?

For starters, when your partner is interested in something and tries to engage in a conversation with you regarding it. Learn to pay attention and tune in to what they are talking about. You must learn to do this even if the thing that they are into isn’t really your thing! This is how you’ll strengthen the connection, both in your brain and between people.

We all lead busy lives; there’s so much to do in a single day. We have to go out, study and work. Commute and curse at other drivers for being worse drivers than us, who don’t know how to drive compared to our superior driving skills. There are housework chores to do, there are taxes to pay, there are curses to conjure towards the government for making us pay taxes, there are credit card bills to pay and then there’s panic to do when you realise you don’t have money to pay your credit card bills. There’s Nietzsche to read and wonder about the abyss, and time to look at your bank statements and wonder what kind of an abyss this is! In short, we all lead busy, tiring lives. But, and I cannot stress this enough. Having a bad day is no excuse to neglect your partner. Even when you’re stressed and tired, you must find time for your partner. Period. Especially during then!

Learn to fight. But don’t go to your local, Amazon acquired a black belt wearing Kung Fu master. Go to your local psychologist and find out how to fight. Everyone knows to fight instinctively, but no one knows how to fight kindly. Anger is natural and fair, fights arising out of it are also natural and fair. But learn, learn how to fight kindly. How to express your hurt and anger without hurting them and angering them.

Let your partner make decisions on their own. Don’t over analyse and find faults with them and their decisions. You’re with an adult, trust them to make their own decisions and any possible stumblings that they might have. If they are doing something to make you happy, accept it without questioning their motive. Just because our parents have conditioned us that when they gift you a watch, it means they expect you to score high in your boards, it doesn’t mean as adults we become suspicious of other people’s generosity.

Watch NBA, watch IPL, learn that cheerleaders are there for a purpose. Cheerleaders cheer when the team is winning and even when the team is losing. That’s what cheerleaders do. We need cheerleaders in our lives. Be the cheerleader in your partner’s life. Please don’t wait for birthdays and festivals to do good by them. Learn to be their rock and their constant support during the good times, and especially during their bad times.

Kevin Peter

Kevin Peter is a passionate practitioner in the field of psychology. He divides his time between clinical practice, consulting, and writing. He works as a consultant psychologist at Softmind. He provides Cognitive, Humanistic & Existential therapy treatments to clients to get rid of their maladaptive practices and help identify their honest and sincere self.


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