Set Yourself Free From Needless Stress

SDo you find yourself arguing with your family about so many things; your partner is unorganized, your teen procrastinates, your extended family is all about drama? Why do we continually engage in these conflicts over and over when nothing changes?

I think that we assume that if we continue to engage in the interaction and we try to correct their behavior that they will eventually see the wisdom of our ideas and they will change. But this takes a lot of energy and is it really the best use of our time? We think that life would be easier if we could just change these people and they would do things our way. I think we need to re-evaluate, decide where we can best use our energy. 

Let me give you an example. If you are dealing with someone who is a procrastinator, this could be your child, your spouse or a friend. They do everything at the last minute, you can see the disaster approaching, and when it does they might turn to you for help or they complain to you about their situation. So in the past you try to avoid this by warning them continually along the way and then when they don’t listen we step in at the last minute and help them. This takes a lot of our energy and it is frustrating. Why don’t they just listen in the first place?

This is not your problem to solve, so don’t make it your problem. That is the key, we take on problems that we don’t need to. The better strategy is to give your advice once and then let the scenario unfold. Let them experience the consequences and you step away. Focus your energy on something else. 

This applies to many things. Why do we let ourselves get sucked into other peoples drama? Why do we try to change someones way of doing things? There are many ways to do something so unless it effects you then don’t get involved. I understand that some people want to suck you into the interaction because they benefit from your involvement but this is where you have to set a boundary and let them know that you are no longer going to play that role. It causes you stress and is not a good use of your energy. 

When we step away and we set a boundary we get freedom from that stress. We can now focus our energy on something that will bring us joy. Instead of focusing on the thing that your partner or child does that stresses you, focus on something that is positive. Plan something fun you can do together. The other person will eventually benefit too because they no longer have to deal with your stress inducing involvement in their behavior. 

So as we move into a new year, let’s re-evaluate what we want to put our energy into. Minimize the stress that you take on and you will be a more pleasant person for your family and friends. They will have to adjust to the change but in the long run you each will be happier. 

It is not easy to change patterns of behavior. If you need help and support, give us a call at 562-537-2947.

Written by Lisa Strong

5 Reasons to Improve Family Communication

When you get home after a long day of work is your home a place of rest, where you feel comfortable to be yourself and you can relax? This is not always the case.  It can feel like a place where you have to put walls up to protect yourself, you don’t feel understood, and there is no peace. You can’t figure out how to change that. It could be that you and your loved ones are not communicating in a way that works. If you could communicate in a healthy way then you would see benefits. Here are 5 benefits to healthy family communication.

1. If you can learn to communicate your needs and feelings in a way that is received then you will minimize resentment in yourself. Resentment is a feeling of indignation and displeasure because you feel like you are being mistreated, misunderstood or wronged. This is not how you should feel with your loved ones. They should be your teammates, the people who are on your side. It can be an environment of cooperation, not competition.

2. When you learn to listen to those that you care about then they will feel cared for and validated by you. This will improve your relationship and minimize their anger and frustration with you.

3. When you learn to communicate in a nonthreatening way then you will minimize defensiveness. By minimizing their defensiveness then you create an environment where you can be heard and they will feel safe, they can take their walls down. You will be building trust and a feeling of security in your home.

4. Respectful communication is a good role model for your children. They learn how a marriage functions by watching you and your spouse. Do they see you showing care and compassion or is it more of a competition to get your way? Is the communication demanding or does your child see each of you listening and working together to find a solution to a conflict?

5. You will be able to resolve conflict without feeling like you are in a battle. With healthy communication you will feel heard and you will be able to understand your partners view and then move to brainstorming a solution that would be acceptable to each of you.

These communication skills can be learned and practiced. It may be hard for you to change bad habits.  Possibly because you were not raised in a home with this type of an environment. You can change the repetitive cycle of bad communication, be the one in your family to change what your children are exposed to and how they will interact with their future friends, colleague or spouses. This ripple effect will benefit your whole family.

By Lisa Strong