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Emotional Piggy Banks and Relationships 

All relationships can be subject to stress which can impact the quality of any relationship. It doesn’t really matter what relationship we refer to, ones with our family, our children, and our partners/spouses can become prone to negative interconnections at any point. An emotional piggy bank really refers to the negative vs positive interaction within any relationship. 


It is quite common when unintentional or through life’s busyness, sometimes the negative can really outweigh the positive in interactions and after accumulation this can really impact the connection between two people. 


An emotional piggy bank really is a great visual reference to negative interactions (withdrawals) such as criticism, nagging, questions, with children, consequences. Whereas positive interactions would be your (deposits), hugs, time together, praise, empathy, dates, validation, and play. 


Positive effects can benefit both the individual and the relationship. Some of the newer research supports benefits such as increased happiness, resilience to adversity, positive psychological growth in a positive mindset, lowered stress and cortisol levels.


So as much as we need to invest in others’ emotional piggy banks, we also need to invest in our own. We can do this by setting time aside for ourselves, practicing mindfulness and gratitude. One of the other ways to fill your piggy bank is to also reflect on the people you surround yourself with. Are they positive? Are they uplifting? Sometimes setting boundaries and being conscious in building relationships that are supportive can also ensure your piggy bank stays balanced. 


Mental health practices and habits can be developed over time, there is no one size fits all. Try a few different practices or tools to determine the best for yourself, your emotional piggy bank and the emotional piggy banks around you.



Carrie-Lee, MACP is a Canadian Certified Counsellor with the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association and specializes in the areas of stress management, personal growth, as well as many others. For more information on Carrie-Lee and her work,  click here to link to her full bio page.