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Doctors Sylvia and Milton Gearing have been serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area since 1985 with compassion and professionalism.

The Gearings implement the latest in psychological research to stay at the cutting edge of their field and bring the most effective and life changing techniques to their clients.

Their methods and strategies have been sharpened over the years, and are now built upon Gearing Up’s Three Gears of Change.

Grumpy Holiday Partners - Dec 14, 2006

Grumpy Holiday Partners

December 14, 2006

Dr. Sylvia Gearing, TXA 21 News

With Christmas parties and holiday celebrations, many North Texans may find themselves not feeling quite so "merry." Negative partners can be difficult for any relationship but new research now indicates that maintaining a good attitude, even during the holidays, may be the key to making love last. Here to tell us more is Channel 21 Contributing Psychologist, Dr. Sylvia Gearing.

Q: What does this new research say about attitude and love?

Dr. Sylvia: Basically, this new study argues that positive people do better in love, especially during the holidays. Positive people tend to hold onto their relationships and both they and their partners report more relationship satisfaction. In fact, being optimistic is guaranteed to help you live longer and in better health.

Q: Is it more important for the man or woman to be positive?

Dr. Sylvia: Interestingly, the researchers reported that 75% of the couples with optimistic men stayed together in contrast to only around 50% of the couples with grumpy men. Apparently, women tend to be more sensitive to negative guys. We do know from research that while women get depressed twice as often as men, women also experience considerably more positive emotions than men do. Now, the researchers weren't sure if this finding was random, but the bottom line is that women are more likely to stay with a guy who is has a good attitude.

Q: Why is it so difficult to maintain a good attitude during the holidays?

Dr. Sylvia: The expectations that we bring to this time of year are always our undoing. Many of us are tired of the holiday excess and according to a recent survey, 84% of Americans want a greater emphasis on what money cannot buy during the holidays. However, we all tend to set ourselves up. This pattern is responsible for people becoming extremely irritable during the holidays. Unfortunately, this pattern explains the fact that the day after New Year's is one of the most popular dates to file for divorce!

Q: How does this holiday stress impact our relationships?

Dr. Sylvia: Stress is a normal part of life, but the holidays stress can overload even the best of alliances. We know from research that one of the main secrets to relationship longevity is not how well you handle conflict but how solid your marital friendship is. How you get along when you are not fighting will make or break the relationship. The holidays are a perfect time to strengthen your love affair.

Q: Do you have any tips for helping a grumpy partner become more positive, especially as you're heading into the holiday celebrations?

Dr. Sylvia: There are several things you can do:

1. Socializing is Healthy: Remind your grumpy partner that socializing is good for their health. In studies we find that very happy people spend the least time alone and the most time socializing.

2. Socializing Reduces Stress: In groups, we find that the physiological arousal that we usually experience from stress is considerably lessened. The social groups we move in literally promote well being and regulate our stress systems.

3. Attitude is a Choice: Remind your partner that his or her attitude is under their control and that negative attitudes are guaranteed to create a negative evening. They can turn the negativity around by transforming their view to a positive one by dwelling on the fun they can have during the holidays.

4. Partners Need to Give: Research tells us that the happiest, most stable marriages are those in which one partner treats the other with respect, cherishing and shares power and decision making with them. Sharing power can be particularly difficult for some men, so they need to extend an extra effort here! They may view giving in as giving up! Don't just hold onto what you want, give to your partner and share the moment!