by Seth Eisenberg
As President Obama signs the Food Safety Modernization Act, the most sweeping legislation in nearly a century to prevent food-related problems that can make people sick, Dunkin Donuts is launching a multi-million dollar ad blitz to get us to eat more donuts and drink more coffee. Collectively, Americans already eat ten billion donuts annually. As a bridge between these two events, here’s something to do during your next morning coffee to strengthen the health of your family.
Make family health a priority by pausing over morning coffee (with or without the donuts) to actually connect with family members. Adding this brief healthy family exercise to meals at Dunkin Donuts can help prevent illnesses related to relationship breakdown.
Whether it’s in person or by phone, reach out to a family member or loved one to touch base, in order, in these five areas. The exercise, known as the PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading, has helped thousands of couples and families create happier, healthier relationships.
- Appreciations: Take turns saying aloud things you appreciate about each other. Be sincere and specific. Get in the habit of acknowledging loved ones for the positive things they do. It builds self-worth, goodwill, helps keep relationships from becoming vulnerable to negative outside influences, and may boost the immune system.
- New Information: Let each other know what’s new in your life, whether it’s about school, work, family, community, church, or anything else important to you. Keeping up-to-date with each other is vital to healthy relationships and shows you value one another.
- Puzzles: If there’s anything you’re wondering about connected to the other person, ask about it. It’s important not to make assumptions, which are often wrong. Ask when something is puzzling you. Whether or not you get an answer, it’s important to let others know what you’re wondering about and give the person a chance to provide an answer or other information.
- Concerns with Recommendations: Is there something bothering you about a behavior of the other person? If so, say what it is (specifically focused on the behavior, not the person), how it makes you feel, and what you suggest doing instead. With goodwill, most differences can be worked out. It’s much different to bring up a concern as part of your regular daily temperature readings then letting it build up until it comes out wrong.
- Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams: Share what your wishes, hopes and dreams are – for the day, week, your life, or anywhere in between – and listen as you learn about the dreams of someone you love. It’s a big world out there. You are the witness to the lives of the people you’re closest to and they’re your witnesses. When possible, help make each others’ dreams come true.
This brief exercise over morning Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, McDonald’s, or coffee brewed at home is preventive maintenance for relationships. Making it part of your regular morning routine will help bring more health, happiness and strength to your family and closest friendships.
You can drink (coffee) to that.
Seth Eisenberg is President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation in Weston, Florida, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education.
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