The ability to calm an anxious or angered partner is no small feat.

If there is one relationship superpower that borders on being magic; that has an effect akin to sparks flying from your fingertips and bending metal, it’s cardiac manipulation–a relationship skill that does just that.

Cardiac manipulation, the ability to support your partner in calming down their nervous system, can stop the tears that seem endless, silence the shouting and soften hardened hearts. It’s powerful stuff. It can take down that forcefield between the two of you and pull you into each other’s arms, and in time, it can rebuild trust.

It’s not uncommon to feel that there is nothing you can do when things hit a certain level of upset. But trust me, there is. First, you must learn to recognize your own signs of distress. Become a keen observer in what’s going on in your body. Listen for the little rumbles that start to quake early in tense moments. Pause and attend to them before the rumbling escalates to a roar. Take a deep breath.

On a purely physiological level, you and your partner are interconnected. And if you have kids, they are part of this familial nervous system. So, when one person’s heart rate goes up, everyone’s heart rate goes up. And we know from the research of John Gottman that when your heart rate reaches a certain level, trouble is likely just around the corner.

What I love about this relationship skill is how doable and concrete it is. Anyone can implement it with practice. To learn more about how to calm and assure your upset spouse, watch our video, from NCCT Director, Kerry Lusignan, about the essential elements of wielding your relationship superpowers.

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