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Strengthen Your Relationships with Attachment Exercises

Amanda Gregory, LCPC, EMDR

Would you like to feel closer to someone in your life? Attachment exercises can help. There is overwhelming research regarding the importance of developing secure attachments, as your relationships have a direct impact on your physical and psychological health. Whether it be a significant other, a child, a friend, or a family member, having and maintaining secure attachments in your relationships is a key ingredient to your wellbeing.

Try these attachment exercises to strengthen your relationships and provide opportunities to connect with others.

Rhythmic Movement. Attunement is a powerful attachment intervention that can be created by rhythmic movements between two people. Sometimes we engage in these moments intuitively, such as when we rock an infant or play catch with a child. Try these rhythmic movements to create experiences of attunement with your partner:

  • Dance: engage in dances that require partner participation (Tango, ballroom, Salsa, etc.)
  • Play a 2-person sport or physical game.
  • Play musical instruments together or create a beat.

Haircare. Providing and receiving haircare is a popular attachment exercise amongst attachment therapists. This may seem odd, but physical interaction focused on the hair and scalp can be an intimate experience that provides nurturing and builds trust. Here a few of the most popular hair care exercises:

  • Wash your partner’s hair or allow them to wash your hair (be sure to massage the scalp).
  • Comb your partner’s hair or allow them to comb your hair.
  • Style your partner’s hair or allow them to style yours.

Touch. Touch is a foundational method to create and reinforce attachment. We touch (hug, hold, sooth) small children because intuitively we know that they need touch. Yet, adults need touch to feel safe, loved and connected just as much as children do. Before providing touch, you should check in with your partner, as touch can feel threatening for some, and you should take care to respect others’ boundaries Furthermore, there are some cultures that have rules or customs concerning touch. Here are a few attachment exercises utilizing touch:

  • Apply lotion to each other’s hands.
  • Hug/Embrace/Cuddle.
  • Hold hands or play hand games such as thumb war or arm wrestling.
  • Give high fives or first bumps.

Pets. Establishing and maintaining attachments to people can be difficult and at times even intimidating. Animals can provide relationships that feel less threatening, as some animals are experts at expressing unconditional acceptance. Your relationship with your pet can improve your attachments to other people. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Introduce the other person to your pet and/or share photos and stories about your pet.
  • Interact with the other person and your pet together.
  • Encourage the other person and your pet to establish their own relationship.
  • If you need help bonding with a pet, read my previous blog, 6 Tips to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Pet.

Eye Contact. Our brains are wired to attach to others, and eye contact is one of the most common ways in which human beings connect and form attachments with one another. Before utilizing such an intervention, check in with your partner. Be aware that some cultures do not embrace eye contact as a form of attachment. Here are a few ideas to utilize this intervention:

  • Make it fun by having an old-fashioned staring contest.
  • Spend time noticing the details of each other’s eyes. Look for colors, freckles, shapes, etc.

Vulnerability. Expressing vulnerability can create a deep level of intimacy and trust. Being vulnerable allows us the opportunity to show others that we accept them as they are, and they can show us the same. Here are a few ideas of ways to express vulnerability:

  • Express your emotions as you feel them in the moment, even if they are embarrassing or uncomfortable.
  • Discuss your mistakes, your flaws, or parts of yourself that you don’t like.
  • Share your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

Attachment in your relationships is a key ingredient to your physical and emotional wellbeing. Try attachment-based exercises to assist you in strengthening your relationships.

Do you need help to develop or strengthen attachment in your relationships? Symmetry Counseling provides individual therapy, couples therapy, and family therapy. Contact Symmetry Counseling to schedule an appointment.

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