Gemma McCaw: Cherish the ones you love

Remember that small gestures can go a long way.

By Gemma McCaw
Former Black Sticks captain Gemma McCaw has made a career out of being fit and healthy, so she knows a thing or two about wellness. Each week Gemma shares her tips on how to live healthier, from getting started on your fitness to how to increase your water intake. This week she gives her advice on how to look after your loved ones.
Whether you choose to sneak in a date night, share a beautiful home-cooked meal or simply say "I love you", some positivity in your relationships certainly goes a long way.
The most heartfelt connections in your life – which may be love for your partner, children or yourself – are all equally important and should be celebrated.
Positive relationships are so important for your wellbeing. They have a way of opening up your heart and mind, whereas negative emotions and fear can literally shut you down. The happiest couples focus on what is going right rather than what's wrong, and this enables them to navigate through life's triumphs and challenges together.
Remember small gestures can go a long way in a relationship. Expensive gifts, exotic holidays and extravagant surprises can be nice, but they're not as meaningful in the long term as simple efforts, like taking time out for someone, encouraging them towards their goals and noticing the little things.
Small, thoughtful actions can top up your love reservoir and keep your connections replenished. Positivity, kindness and attention in your relationship leads to more appreciation, engagement and trust.

Provide support

Find subtle ways of making your partner's life easier. Often we feel we must make grand gestures, but the reality is that small acts of kindness can brighten someone's day, especially if they are going through a challenging time. Make a packed lunch for your loved one or help out with a job at home they've been meaning to do. No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.

Look after yourself

The ultimate source of happiness lies within. By focusing on your own wellbeing, you do not rely on someone else for your happiness. Look to make your life more meaningful and by doing so, you will then bring a more positive attitude to your relationships.

Spend the day with someone special

Whether it's your partner, a friend or an important family member, making time for a relationship enhances feelings of gratitude and improves a person's sense of wellbeing.

Get back in touch

Physical touch increases our oxytocin, the bonding hormone that can reduce our blood pressure and physiological stress levels. A quick hug or back rub can boost your mood and your partner's too.

Be present

There's always one more email to send, one more text to reply to or one more news story to read. Put down your phone and really look at what is in front of you. Be in that moment with the person who you cherish and don't let that moment slip away.

Have a laugh

Playfulness can be a casualty of a busy life. While we are working, paying bills and keeping afloat, we can forget how important it is to keep a sense of humour. Research has shown that couples who tease one another during a heated moment feel more connected afterwards than those trying to communicate in a serious way. Couples who can tease are able to use that quality to handle tough times in a relationship too.

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