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Reduce stress with good communication

Reduce stress with good communication

At work and at home, the ability to communicate effectively can improve your relationships and resolve conflicts that cause stress.

Good communication is crucial for reducing your stress levels.  When we are misunderstood or criticised, we feel isolated and defensive.  When conflict arises at home or at work and we cannot discuss it in a constructive way, we often feel stressed and angry.

In any situation, let the other person know you are listening by nodding and making eye contact.  Respond regularly by saying “yes” or “uhuh” and don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation if you don’t understand.

Dealing with Conflict:

Remember that constructive criticism is the best way to deal with any conflict.  Always refer to the person’s actions and behaviour, not to the person, for example “I disagree with the way you handle our child”, not “you’re a bad parent”.  Equally, if someone is criticising you, try to listen without becoming defensive.

Express your feelings:

It’s not always possible to avoid stress, but you can learn to cope with it better.  Expressing your feelings can dramatically reduce stress levels and enhance your own sense of well-being.

Explore your feelings:

Get in touch with your feelings.  Being aware of how you feel – whether it’s anxious, depressed or angry – is the first step to dealing with a stressful problem.  This means taking time out from work and family to be alone.  Keep a journal, take a walk on the beach or go and see a counsellor or therapist. Be honest with yourself.

Confide in a friend:

At times of stress, we all need support from our friends and family.  If you feel overwhelmed by events, it is good to get a new perspective on the problem.  Share your feelings with the people who you trust, so you don’t end up feeling exposed and even more stressed.  But remember, friends may have their own problems so be prepared to listen as well as talk.

 

Time is right:

Choose a time when the other person can listen – not when they are rushing out the door.  If your friend is too busy, let them know you have a problem and ask if they set aside some time in the near future for you to talk.

Say what you mean:

Never be afraid to say what you think, feel or believe.  If you disagree with someone, try to say so.  This can be hard if you are afraid they will be upset or angry, but in the long run communicating clearly will lead to better relationships and lower stress levels.

Keep to the facts:

Under stress it is easy to distort problems, exaggerate the significance of an event or make sweeping generalizations.  When explaining a problem to problem to someone, always be as specific and objective as you can.

It’s okay to cry:

Cry when you feel hurt or grief.  These feelings are the natural result of change and loss and a good cry and get them off your chest.  Make time to honour and express your feelings.  Perform a simple ritual like lighting a candle.  Not giving yourself time to grieve can cause long-term stress and damage your health.

Saying sorry:

Take responsibility for your mistakes and feelings of remorse or guilt.  Making amends will relieve your stress and improve your relationships.  Write a card if you can’t say it in person.  Once you have righted any wrongs, you’ll be able to move on and leave your feelings of guilt behind.

Be kind to yourself:

Give yourself time to feel happy!  Stressed people often don’t take time to laugh and feel pleasure and pride in their own achievements.  Tell a friend why you’re proud of yourself.  Go out and celebrate. or buy yourself something nice, or book a treatment and we will look after you.

8 steps to well expressed anger

  1. Never shout or hit another person when you are angry

  2. Be direct and assertive.  Don’t express anger in passive ways such as the ‘silent treatment’

  3. Discharge aggression by hitting pillows or screaming into pillows, or do some strenuous exercise.

  4. Put your anger into words.  Before you approach the person, write down “I am angry because…”.

  5. Tell the person why you are angry in as calm and reasonable a tone as possible.

  6. If you become furious again, ask if you can leave the conversation and come back when you feel calmer and express your thoughts more clearly.

  7. Give the other person time to respond.  Remember that many people find anger frightening.

  8. Be brave – expressing anger doesn’t have to mean being out of control.

 

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