Words of Affirmation and How To Fluently Speak This Love Language

It’s often said that actions speak louder than words, but for people whose love language is words of affirmation, it’s actually words themselves that speak volumes.

Never heard of love languages? Introduced by Gary Chapman’s best-selling 2015 book, love languages are ways of communicating based on methods to speak and understand love. There are five different types: quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch, and the aforementioned words of affirmation. (Which is apparently the most common, according to Chapman.) Knowing your partner’s love language is important because it clues you in as to the best way to show them how much you care. You may think your partner wants to feel showered with thoughtful presents (receiving gifts) when really they would so much more appreciate you cleaning the kitchen for them (acts of service).

People whose love language is words of affirmation like their partner to use words to express their love. But if you don’t consider yourself good with words, being in a relationship with someone whose love language is words of affirmation seem challenging. Here are some tips on how to fluently speak this love language.

How to do it

You don’t have to be “good with words” to speak the words of affirmation love language. It’s important to know that you don’t have to come up with something to say right on the spot. You can spend some time and think about it, and then write your partner a love letter.

However, just a simple “I love you,” (while nice) doesn’t always cut it. Generally people who are inclined towards words of affirmation are looking for specific and personalized messages. They want to hear why you love them and how you love them. For example, what actions or personality traits do you appreciate about them? Thinking about that could help you make what you say more meaningful and impactful to both of you.

If you take time to craft a love letter and it’s still challenging to put your feelings into words, borrow from time-tested love stories over time. You can quote a passage from a poem or story. Or, you can gift your partner a book and underline passages that speak to your relationship.

Surprising your partner with notes is another way to express words of affirmation. If they’re going on a business trip, you can leave little notes in their suitcase. Or, you can put one in their lunch bag!

How to accept words of affirmation

Someone whose love language is words of affirmation likely also likes to show their love this way, so it’s important to be able to accept words of affirmation, too. If you’re someone who can’t take a compliment, this can be challenging. If accepting words of affirmation is challenging for you, it’s good to express this to your partner. Tell them. ‘I’m not used to accepting words of love, but I’m working on it.'

When your partner starts voicing all the things he or she loves about you, if you don’t know what to say, a simple thank you works just fine.

Just like with other languages, it can take work to become fluent in a love language, but it absolutely can be done. It’s also good to be fluent in more than one language, so it’s great to practice the other love languages as well.

The important part is that you and your partner are expressing your love to one another. And that’s something that’s appreciated no matter what language you speak.

Read the full article at Well + Good.


If you live in the Los Angeles or Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Check out my services to see which one might fit your needs. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!

Using Essential Oils for Energy

Life is exhausting. Family, pets, work, anxiety…It can all lead to relying on cup after cup of coffee to get through the day.

There isn’t one magic fix that instantly leads to increased energy: good sleep, eating healthy food, thyroid function, and stress management all play a part. But there is one supporting player on the better energy all-star team that’s often overlooked: essential oils.

While using essential oils for energy isn’t a replacement for prioritizing all the other factors that could be contributing to fatigue, it can help.

Essential oils that encourage deep breathing: peppermint, eucalyptus, and cardamom

We often don’t think about it, but deep breathing is directly connected to better energy. One reason why many people have an energy deficit is because they’re taking such shallow breaths all the time and there isn’t enough oxygen flowing through the body and to the brain.

When it comes to which specific essential oils are linked to deeper breathing, peppermint increases VO2; eucalyptus and cardamom are both popular oils that can provide respiratory support. (Eucalyptus is a decongestant, promoting deeper breathing. Cardamom is considered “warming” and can help improve circulation.)

Mood-boosting essential oils: orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit

Fatigue can also often stem from a mood imbalance. Mood is a big piece of energy. We know that chronic stress and depression can lead to chronic fatigue, and we also know that citrus essential oils such as orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit, are linked to boosting mood.

Because memory and smell are so intricately linked, other essential oils can help boost mood too, based on what makes you specifically feel warm and fuzzy inside. For some people, lavender is a mood-boosting scent because they have such happy memories tied to it; it’s very individual.

Essential oils that support good sleep: lavender, chamomile, valerian root

Getting good sleep is a big part of feeling energized throughout the day, which is why working essential oils into your nighttime routine can be beneficial too. If you are really wanting to use essential oils for energy, you likely aren’t going to be using the same blends all the time; your morning blend will be different than your night blend because you don’t want to perk up at 10 p.m., which is likely what peppermint will do.

Lavender, chamomile, and valerian root are all essential oils that are linked to promoting good sleep. Lavender can calm the nervous system, helping you relax, while chamomile can help with anxiety and valerian root is literally used as a natural sleep aid.

How to use essential oils for energy

Now that you know which oils contribute to better energy, how do you use them? Topical use, applying a few drops of your chosen oil or blend to your wrists or neck. The reason why topical use is best is because you basically become a walking diffuser.

For the quickest effects, inhalation is best. Nothing is faster than inhalation, and adding a diffuser can be used in this way. Take a whiff of peppermint. You’ll instantly perk up!

Whether you choose to apply an essential oil topically or use a diffuser, the effects won’t last more than a couple hours, so because of this, you may want to incorporate them into your routine throughout the day. Perhaps you have one blend you smell in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one before bed.

While essential oils are only one piece of the energy-boosting puzzle, they can work in conjunction with other holistic solutions such as eating more nutrient dense foods and taking measures to minimize stress. When used together, a clearer picture of better energy starts to come together, and in turn, it could transform your entire day.

Read the full article at Well + Good.


If you live in the Los Angeles or Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Check out my services to see which one might fit your needs. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!

Breaking the Cycle of Fear

In every moment, you have the power to create your future. The “failures” you’ve had in the past don’t define your future or mean that you are going to “fail” again. You have the power to define who you are, what you want, and how to get there. Every day, remind yourself: I am not going to let my past define me. I am going to define me. I am going to create my future.

Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

Change is uncomfortable, but it’s also the only constant in life. The world around us—our relationships, jobs, living situations, friends, everything—is constantly changing and influencing us. Amid all of this change, why would we expect that we would stay the same? We’re constantly changing. Honor that. A lot of people feel that a change of heart is a negative thing. That it reflects a fickle nature. It doesn’t. You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody. You have to find what fits for you—right now, at this time in your life.

When we don’t honor the ways in which we’ve changed, we end up sticking with something just because we don’t want to quit. We end up stressed, overworked, and miserable, holding on for dear life to a dream we don’t even want anymore. This is dangerous—but as long as you’re still breathing, as long as you’re still alive, you have the opportunity to change your situation and find a dream that’s worth the gamble. Each breath is an opportunity to change. Each breath is an opportunity to be better than we were before. With each breath, we choose our future.

Lesson: You always have the opportunity to grow if you’re willing to change.

Stretch Yourself

The body is often naturally tight, and that’s okay. Breathe into your muscles and they will loosen. The same thing happens in life. Breathe into your fears and they will loosen their grip on you, opening you up to new opportunities. The more you breathe into your fears, the easier it gets to do so, and the more flexible you will become in trying new things.

Change is happening all around us and inside of us. If you’re flexible, you’re able to move easily with those changes and find your flow. If you’re not, you’ll get stuck, be unable to shift and adapt, and live in a way that isn’t working for you anymore.

The more flexible you are and the more you keep moving, the less likely you are to get stuck in your fears, doubts, and worries.

Lesson: Stay flexible and available for new opportunities.

Never Call It Failure

Things don’t always work out the way we want or plan. When a deal falls through, a client goes to a competitor, a job opportunity vanishes, a relationship ends, a proposal is rejected, or an experience falls short of your expectations, don’t call it a failure. Shift your mind-set. Stop asking, How did I fail? How can I stop failing? Instead, ask, How did that situation make me stronger? What can I learn from that experience?

It’s important to do a reality check. Do you want to keep pursuing this goal, or do you want to stop? Ask yourself: Is this something I want to push forward, or do I want to let it go and put my energy in another direction? Am I happy on this journey?

Lesson: You can’t fail if you don’t stop trying.

If you’re comfortable being uncomfortable, stretching yourself, and not calling fears failure, you’ll see opportunities for growth daily. Embrace growth, embrace change, and find your flow.

Read the full article on Goop.


If you live in the Los Angeles or Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Check out my services to see which one might fit your needs. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!

Accepting Unwanted Emotions

Emotions: according to the dictionary, the definition of an emotion is, “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body”.

But emotions serve us in a variety of ways.  For example, they give us valuable messages (e.g., fear in an unsafe situation), reveal how important something is to us (e.g., you have stronger emotions in your romantic relationship than you do when you’re shopping for cereal or having a casual conversation with a stranger), and prompt us to act (e.g., you stroke a partner’s face with love or turn away from spoiled food in disgust).

But the story of emotions is a bit more delicate and complex, as it isn’t simply about what we feel in response to what happens around us.  We tirelessly size up our inner world and place value judgments on it.  Depending on the circumstances we’re in and the messages we’ve received along the way about what we’re allowed to feel, emotions (or at least certain ones) may get tagged as acceptable, healthy, or reasonable, or they might get labeled as wrong, crazy, or threatening.  For instance, researchers at the University of Oxford highlighted the following categories of disapproving beliefs when it comes to painful emotions:

  • Emotions are too powerful and can’t be managed.

  • Emotions are bad and/or ridiculous.

  • Emotions are defective and make no sense.

  • Emotions are unproductive.

  • My emotions could sabotage me or other people.

  • My emotions might spread to other people and I can’t let that happen. 

What’s thorny about this is that if we have a negative outlook on our emotions, we’ve got a whole new load to carry—we’re more likely to have another negative emotion layered on top of the one we’re already experiencing.  The emotions we have about how we feel are known as meta-emotions.  For example, let’s say we see sadness as a sign of personal weakness and inadequacy.  Because of this viewpoint, we might feel shame or fear in response to our sadness.  And it’s not just uncomfortable emotions that get a bad rap.  People can feel nervous about pleasant emotions too.

Our ideas about our emotional life don’t just impact how we feel about our emotions, but the steps we take to respond to them as well.  To illustrate, let’s stay with our example of sadness.  We regard it as a signal that we’re weak and defective in some way, and this idea stirs up intense shame. The big question now: What do we do with all of this?  Considering that we’re treating sadness as intolerable and we feel ashamed of it, we’re relatively unlikely to talk about it with someone else, to be kind to ourselves in the face of it, or to allow ourselves to feel sad and see what happens.  No, instead we’re probably going to be more inclined to react to sadness in other ways, such as:

  • Mentally beating ourselves up for feeling it

  • Racking our brains over why we feel this way and why we can’t get over it and feel happy like everyone seems to feel

  • Trying to cover it up when we’re around other people

  • Self-medicating with alcohol or other substances

How we choose to respond to our emotions also has an impact on how we feel and on our quality of life.  If we criticize ourselves all the time, that harsh voice gets stronger and we’ll continue unintentionally manufacturing more shame.  We could mull over why we feel the way we do and question why we can’t make it go away, but this approach is more likely to leave us feeling even worse.  If we try to hide our sadness and mask what feels so unspeakable, we’re liable to bear the cost of this strategy, experiencing more distress, less comfort, and more detached relationships.  And although we can try to escape through alcohol and other substances, this opens the door to use disorders and other problems.

There are a variety of other ways in which rejecting what we feel sets the stage for giving us more of the very thing we don’t want.  For instance, when people are scared of emotions, this forecasts difficulty managing anger, feeling more upset, drawing from pleasant memories to feel better, and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Moreover, people who view uncomfortable emotions as bad are also less likely to be empathic toward themselves.  And the idea that painful emotions are hazardous is related to lower odds of naming such emotions for one’s children, a valuable step in emotional skill-building. 

So if it doesn’t serve us to treat our emotions as off-limits, what’s the alternative?  When we accept distressing emotions as being a universal, natural part of life, it’s ironically linked to experiencing them less and, in the long run, having better emotional health.

But why might this be?  Why would accepting the emotions we don’t want generally be connected with them dwindling rather than growing?  Researchers have proposed several possible explanations:

  • Rumination can make people feel worse, and individuals who accept upsetting emotions don’t tend to ruminate over them as much.

  • Efforts to avoid what a person feels can go awry and have a boomerang effect, furnishing them with more of what they tried to push away.

  • Individuals who accept their emotions may be spared an extra layer of emotional pain by not having to feel upset about feeling upset.  

  • Disquieting emotions that we meet with acceptance are less likely to have as much staying power.

Acceptance is a mindset, an approach of giving ourselves permission to experience our emotions and taking the perspective that they’re human rather than silly, weak, crazy, wrong, dangerous, or beyond our power to ever be able to manage.  It’s about challenging that self-critical inner voice that says we can’t feel what we do, or that an emotion will harm us or be a badge of our inherent fault or shame.  Acceptance is about giving ourselves the space to listen to ourselves in a nonjudgmental way.  


Read the full article on Psychology Today.


If you live in the Los Angeles or Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Check out my services to see which one might fit your needs. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!

Becoming an Active Listener

Body language and unspoken attraction are some of the most fun parts at the start of a relationship. As you can probably imagine, those traits do not make for a healthy, lifelong partnership. One of the main reasons couples divorce is because they lost the ability or never had the skills to communicate with one another. Poor listening skills lead to the breakdown in communication in a marriage. Here are some tips on how to be a more effective and life-giving listener. 

  1. don’t interrupt: Let your spouse finish what they are saying. If this is a problem and you interrupt a lot, find some way to remind yourself to keep quiet. Some people put their chin in their hand as a sign to themselves to not speak until their mate is finished talking.

  2. keep an open mind: Don't judge. Jumping to conclusions or looking for the right or wrong in what is being said prevents you from listening. Think before you say anything in response, especially if it is an emotional reaction.

  3. make listening a priority: Listen without planning on what you are going to say in response. Let go of your own agenda. Be aware that you need to listen. Make eye contact. Pay attention by not looking at the TV or glancing at the newspaper or finishing up a chore.

  4. use a feedback technique: Let your partner know that you heard what they said by using a feedback technique and restating what was said. Say something like "I hear you when you say that..." Be open to the possibility that you didn't hear clearly what your spouse was saying, and give them space to say so if that is the case. 

  5. pay attention to their non-verbal signs: Be aware of non-verbal signs and clues—both yours and those of your mate. These include shrugging your shoulders, tone of voice, crossing arms or legs, nodding, eye contact or looking away, facial expressions (smile, frown, shock, disgust, tears, surprise, rolling eyes, etc.), and mannerisms (fiddling with papers, tapping your fingers). Over half of your message is delivered through non-verbal signs.

  6. understand what blocks you from listening: Try not to fall into these patterns of listening: mind reading, rehearsing, filtering, judging, daydreaming, advising, sparring, being right, changing the subject, stonewalling, and placating.

  7. stay focused: Focus on the main points that your spouse is talking about. It's okay to ask questions to clarify what you thought you heard.

  8. understand the differences in your communication styles: You may just communicate differently. Being aware can enhance your listening skills. One of you may often share because you want to give information or solve a problem. The other may tend to talk to connect with someone or to get information. Some folks talk more about relationships than others. You may be more concerned about details than your spouse. But don't attribute all your listening differences to your gender.

  9. show respect: Respect your spouse's point of view, even if you disagree with what is being said.

  10. know the difference between advice and talking: Don't give advice unless asked for it. You can't listen and talk at the same time. Feelings are neither right or wrong.


Read the full article on MYDOMAINE.


If you live in the Los Angeles or Westlake Village area and are interested in therapy, I invite you to contact me via email at: tanyasamuelianmft@yahoo.com . I provide a complimentary consultation. Check out my services to see which one might fit your needs. Contact me now to see if we might be a good fit to work together! Or book your appointment here!