Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Relationship’

Handling Holiday Stress

November 20, 2017

From pumpkin spice to peppermint mocha, there’s a tangible feel as the seasons change. Yet, for every bit of holiday magic, extra stress and confusion can easily spoil the show. Parties, traditions, food, and scheduling conflicts can add up to a holiday handful. Whether you find yourself dreading or anticipating that annual event, consider these tips to keep your relationships happy and healthy.

  • Pay attention – Expectations, memories, and drama can easily complicate the season’s joy. Be mindful of your feelings and needs, particularly if you’re in a different situation than last year. Grieving the loss of a loved one, relationship, or job can leave you feeling sad. That’s okay. Even though it’s the holidays, you don’t have to be happy.
  • Be realistic – Communicate your expectations of others and yourself. Remember, you are only one person. You can only be in one place at a time, bake so many cookies, and spend so much money. Consider scaling things back to enjoy the most from each detail.
  • Prevent stress – Everyone has that one family member, coworker, or acquaintance that gets on their nerves. Postpone deep or controversial conversations. Stay cordial, stick to the small-talk and form an exit strategy to excuse yourself from a potential disagreement.
  • Say no – Practice the discipline of saying no to preserve feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Cherish your holiday, say no to the good and yes to the best.
  • Travel solo – Double-booked with multiple engagements? Consider splitting the events with your partner. Driving separately so one of you can leave early is another alternative. Stand up for your individual needs to strike the perfect holiday balance.
  • Plan – Reduce last-minute surprises by organizing a plan for who, what, when, and where. Communicate your plans by writing them down or sharing via your favorite mobile device app.
  • Minimize – Consider limiting your sugar, food, and alcohol intake. Avoid holiday hangovers by cutting back.

No matter what holiday situation arises, practice the art of being polite. Keep scrooge locked away and remember your manners. Say thank you, send a note, or consider a donation to your favorite charity.

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Communication Skills

November 29, 2016

Communication is all around us. Whether we are actively engaged in conversation, listening intently for a newborn’s cry, or rolling our eyes in exasperation, messages are being sent, received, and processed every moment. While communication is somewhat instinctive, effective communication is a learned skill.

Mastering the skills of communication may improve relationship at home and work, aid in decision-making and streamline problem solving. Additionally, strong communication is beneficial when difficult or potentially controversial messages are necessary. There are many strategies for sharpening your communication skills. Consider these principles to help guide your speaking skills.

IMPROVING COMMUNICATION

  • Be assertive – Being assertive eliminates bullying and may even decrease stress. A clear response allows you to say “no” when needed and avoid too many commitments.
  • Focus on facts – Begin your conversation by describing what you see or hear in a situation. Be specific and avoid exaggerations and generalizations because smooth talking will not replace general knowledge.
  • Avoid trigger words – There are certain words it is helpful to avoid. For example, it is much easier to exaggerate when emotional, so eliminating “always” and “never” will help to decrease the emotion behind those statements.
  • Stay present – When you are participating in a conversation, be aware of your distractions and watch your body language. If you are constantly checking your phone or watch, you are no longer communicating your attention.

There are many benefits to improving your communication skills. Being able to clearly articulate thoughts, feelings, and needs demonstrates a level of self-worth. You also might notice a genuine enjoyment for your job or other roles in life with improved communication skills. Improving and fine-tuning effective communication skills can be hard work, but the results are worth the effort.

Codependence

November 15, 2016

When a person is codependent, they are unable to define and meet their own needs in a relationship. This individual “loses” their sense of self because they are completely absorbed in the needs of the other person. This intense focus on the other person can jeopardize your health, safety, and success in life.

CHARACTERISTICS OF CODEPENDENT PEOPLE

There are many emotional characteristics of codependent people. They often experience low self-esteem and constantly compare themselves to others. They might have an overblown sense of responsibility for other people and fear abandonment. Often a person who is codependent finds it difficult to set and maintain boundaries in a relationship, and they also have a difficult time expressing their own personal goals or values as an individual.

HELP FOR THE CODEPENDENT PERSON

The following tips can help you or someone you know move from codependence to healthier relationships.

  • Identity – Embrace your own needs and emotions. Saying “no” to a loved one doesn’t mean you don’t care for them, and it’s healthy to set these boundaries. Tough love is sometimes the most loving thing you can do.
  • Self-reliant – What are some ways you could be more independent? When can you take responsibility for your own emotions and actions? Encourage others around you to do the same.
  • Stop “fixing” – It is not your responsibility to solve all your loved one’s problems. You can still support and love them without trying to “fix” their lives. Give them space to take personal responsibility for their actions and future.
  • Relax – Relieve stress, tension, and anxiety by practicing relaxation techniques. Yoga, enjoyable music, mindfulness, and activities you love are all things you can do to help dial down worry and guilt.

If you or your loved one is struggling with codependency, be courageous and seek help. A licensed counselor or therapist can help you explore how you began to act this way. Together, you can establish a plan to change your life’s direction and move from a codependent relationship to a mutually satisfying one.

Balancing Work and Family

July 28, 2016

Some days 24 hours just doesn’t seem to be enough. Between family priorities, practicing good self-care, and juggling work responsibilities, it’s easy to feel stressed. Even though we choose how to spend our time, our to-do list sometimes crowds out what gives us the greatest enjoyment.

Our lives naturally fall out of balance from time to time. When this occurs, we struggle to regulate our responsibilities and what we enjoy most. Taking the time to assess how things are going gives us insight to realign our priorities. Consider these questions when work and family are out of sync:

  • Do you regularly set aside time to spend with your family?
  • When you are with family, do you feel anxious or guilty about not working?
  • At work, what triggers you to feel like you should be spending more time with your family?

Strategies for Achieving Greater Balance

Limit distractions – There may be times of the day you are more distracted or procrastinate. How could you use your time more efficiently during this period? Perhaps limit the frequency you check emails or use social media.

Know your values – Write down what you desire most from life. What activities are important for you to do with your family? Determine what is non-negotiable in your life.

Say no – Practice saying no to tasks that fit outside your values. This helps you avoid the stress and tension of over-commitment.

Organize – Is your workspace messy? Your home cluttered? Taking opportunities to organize will save you time in the long run.

Remember, life will happen. When it does, things will typically fall out of balance for a time. Stay positive. Use the knowledge you’ve gained, take a step back, and assess. Proper planning is always a good start to swing an imbalanced life back into perspective.

Dealing with Difficult People

June 24, 2016

Let’s face it. We all encounter people who are challenging, negative, and even aggressive. Whether it’s a family member, friend, coworker or neighbor, being able to differentiate between difficult personalities is helpful. When we better understand them, it frees us to not take things personally. We can also help create a safe and productive environment for others.

THE NEXT STEP

Some of the more dominant challenging personality traits include people who are hostile, narcissistic, passive-aggressive, or negative. Knowing how to handle and react to difficult personality traits is beneficial in all environments. Here are some helpful tips to deal with all difficult personality styles.

  • Address concerns – Don’t ignore problems and pretend they don’t exist. Chances are the challenges will only grow. The responsible thing is to address the person and the issue.
  • Express compassion – Remember you probably don’t have the whole picture of someone’s life. You may not know all that’s happened in the individual’s background, their mental health, or the past crises they may have faced. Empathize and express compassion.
  • Assess reactions – Consider your own emotions. If you’re having a particularly stressful day and can’t seem to remain calm, it’s not the right time to address issues with a difficult person. Staying calm and neutral is the best way to approach and deal with challenging people.

Effective Communication

May 12, 2016

Whether in a personal or professional relationship, effective communication is essential. When it comes to expressing your thoughts or sharing your knowledge, there are some tips you should keep in mind.

Keep it simple. People can only remember so much information at one time. You want them to remember what’s most important. So, keep your messages simple, concise, and to the point.

Rephrase thoughts. It’s a good idea to rephrase and repeat what’s said back to the person who is speaking. This ensures you have a clear understanding of what was said.

Give examples. When communicating ideas, it’s helpful to use examples or personal experiences. This makes ideas more concrete by giving them context. It’s easier to remember stories than facts alone.

Listen actively. Good communication involves listening to what is being said, and also what is not being said.

Be patient. Give people time to communicate their ideas.

Don’t interrupt. A lot of valuable information can be gained by listening to others. It’s important in developing any kind of relationship.

Be conscious of differing perspectives. Your culture, experiences, and upbringing may mean that you have a different interpretation of the same event. Be aware of the influences these biases may have. People approach topics from many different perspectives – be respectful of these differences.

Interpret. Read between the lines of what’s being said. Some people have a hard time expressing themselves. You can help them by trying to interpret what they mean.

Stay positive. You may be stressed, frustrated, or just heaving an off day, but people are much more receptive if you communicate with a positive attitude when you speak.

Make a connection. Find a common ground or interest to open the way to a good conversation. Building a connection can help increase trust and make people more open to your ideas.

Maintaining Healthy Couple Relationships

March 1, 2016

Relationships are work; good or bad, they all take work. Establishing and building a relationship is hard enough, why not make it a good one that lasts? The following are a few things to consider in maintaining a healthy romantic relationship.

Embrace change – Your relations will undoubtedly evolve with life events, unexpected things, and family changes. Consider change as an opportunity to make your relationship stronger.

Check-ins – Talk with your partner about their expectations for the relationship and their personal goals. Checking-in with one another through regular, daily dialogue establishes a good routine, rather than just crisis management.

Know the family – Families are unique, and so are their ways of coping with stress and anxiety. While your family might tend to be emotionally distant, your partner’s might like to engage in conflict and confrontation. Consider what coping style you and your partner inherited from your families. Then, look for ways to work together to resolve conflict.

Right time – Dealing with a problem in the heat of the moment may not be the best time to “hear” one another. Take a few minutes to cool off and gather your thoughts. This opportunity allows you to listen to your partner’s perspective.

Stay current – A conflict is typically not the time to bring up previous unresolved issues. Attempting to solve multiple items typically leads to greater stress and little results.

Be responsible – Everyone has needs and wants in a relationship, but it’s important to remember some expectations may be unrealistic or unfair for your partner to meet. Consider what things you are able to do for yourself and take care of them.

Healthy Relationships – Keys to Success

September 24, 2015

Whether it’s a relationship with a spouse, significant other, friend or colleague, it’s important that the relationships you have are healthy ones. We’re often good at spotting unhealthy relationships, but what exactly makes a relationship a healthy one? Bestselling author and relationship expert, Margaret Paul, Ph.D., has some fundamentals to healthy relationships:

Emotional Responsibility – Paul posits this is the most important ingredient for creating a healthy relationship. It involves taking responsibility for your own feelings, rather than trying to make your partner responsible for your own happiness, emotional safety and self-worth. These feelings have to come from valuing yourself and not abandoning how you feel.

Enjoying Time Together and Apart – In a healthy relationship, partners enjoy being together but their well-being is not dependent on the other person. When your happiness depends on someone else; it’s called emotional dependency and is the opposite of emotional responsibility. Ideally, both people should feel supported when they pursue separate interests or spend time with their own friends.

Learning Through Conflict – Partners are able to learn and grow through conflict when they’re in a healthy relationship. Conflicts are not about who’s right or who won, it’s about listening to each other’s viewpoints and using conflict as a way to evolve.

Trust and Support – People in healthy relationships trust that the other person has their best interest in mind and will not intentionally hurt them. They support each other and feel joy in seeing their partner happy. They’re not threatened by their partner’s joy or success, but rather are proud and delighted by it.

Get Along With Your Parents

June 23, 2015

All relationships experience ups and downs, and families are no different. Navigating a healthy adult relationship with your parents can sometimes be difficult. They are unique, and so are you. Healthy adult relationships can appreciate both the similarities and differences. However, there are still areas for potential disagreement, such as raising your children, achieving financial independence, arguing about future medical care, and having unresolved issues from childhood.

Having a healthy adult relationship with your parents is possible and a worthwhile investment. The following tips demonstrate how to work toward a mutually beneficial relationship.

Don’t try to change them. It’s acceptable to tell your parents what you do and don’t tolerate in your home and with your children. Setting boundaries is also important and necessary. Be mindful though, that your parents are who they are. Accept them for who they are, without trying to change them.

Respect parental freedom. Making assumptions about your parents’ lives is never helpful. They may not want to always babysit your children or fix every appliance, so take responsibility for your own life. Respect that they are adults who value independence.

Be honest. Your parents can’t read your mind. Be honest about who you are, what you want, and what’s important to you. It’s unfair to expect them to know unless you tell them.

Be careful with advice. Unless you’re seeking your parents’ insight, don’t ask for advice. Often times, we ask for counsel when we’ve already made our decision. This can be problematic if they disagree with your choice.

The most effective way to handle conflict with our parents is like you would with any other adult that you respect. Good communication is vital. Problems, especially with family members, are simply disguised opportunities for growth and change.

What To Do When Depression Enters A Relationship

June 26, 2013

The pressure of being in a relationship can feel overwhelming to someone living with depression. When you’re struggling with an illness that makes you tired, sad, and generally disinterested in life, often the last thing on your mind is the needs of others. Equally frustrating and emotionally draining is trying to maintain a relationship with someone who’s depressed. It’s hurtful and confusing when loved ones increasingly isolate themselves, pull away, and reject others’ efforts to help.

All of these feelings and reactions can damage relationships, whether they’re with spouses, partners, children, or friends. It can test even the most secure of relationships. The good news is that depression is very treatable, and by taking the appropriate steps to combat the illness, your relationship can survive.

Steps to Overcome Depression and Keep Your Relationship Healthy

The most important step toward successful recovery is to seek treatment. With the appropriate combination of “talk” therapy and medication, people with depression can achieve remission (virtual elimination) of symptoms and reconnect with life and with relationships.

If You Are Experiencing Symptoms Of Depression:¬†Share your feelings with others as much as possible. Your reluctance to talk about how you feel only creates distance between you and your loved ones. It’s especially important to keep the lines of communication open during trying times. Let your partner know that you still find him or her attractive. An affectionate touch and a few reassuring words can mean a lot, even if you don’t feel inclined toward more intimate relations.

Consider couples or family counseling. Your willingness to talk about your relationship and how it may be affected by depression speaks volumes to family members and loved ones about their importance in your life.

Keep working toward recovery. Today’s treatment options make that more realistic than ever.

To resolve all your symptoms, a combination of medication and “talk” therapy may be recommended. Your physician will help you determine the right levels of medication and how long you should stay on it.

If You Are In A Relationship With Someone Experiencing Depression: Remember, your role is to offer support and encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Encourage your partner not to settle for partial improvement and explain that with the right treatment, people with depression can regain their lives.

Although you may be prepared to do anything and everything to help, don’t try to take over the life of someone who is depressed. Your loved one may seem overwhelmed, incapable, or frustrated, but you can’t reconstruct his or her life.

Remember that depression is a real illness that should be taken seriously. Don’t belittle the person by saying things such as, “snap out of it,” “get over it” or “everyone feels down now and then.” Try your best to understand the illness.

Recognize that depression is not rational. It is painful to be rejected, scorned, or ignored, but this may be how your loved one responds to your efforts to help.

For more information contact Soundside Wellness Consultants.