One of the hardest things about living during a pandemic and times of social distancing is the lack of human connection. The fact is that human brains are wired to connect. We need other people to fully enjoy life. And that sense of human connection definitely lowers stress.
Even introverts need human connection. If you’re doubting how “wired” we are to each other, consider this: Both laughter and bad moods are contagious. Yawn in front of someone and watch what happens. This occurs because of what neuroscientists call “mirror neurons.”
When we realize that even trivial interactions can affect a person’s physiology, we have to take it more seriously. For example, scientists can now show by brain imaging and other … >>>
During times of crisis, maintaining healthy relationships is more important than ever. But due to social distancing and more people working from home, it’s common for relationships to get strained. They say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” but it also opens the door to misunderstandings and tension. Whether it’s with a family member, co-worker, or friend, every relationship is prone to stress during times of crisis and separation.
Rather than let these negative times ruin your once healthy relationships, a better approach is to shift from being reactive to proactive.
Make a Shift for Healthy Relationships
When you feel offended by someone’s words or deeds (and you will at some point), consider viewing the situation in multiple ways. … >>>
Your ability to truly listen to others is critical for building relationships and reducing stress. The reason is simple: The better you’re able to listen, the more the other person knows you care. When that sense of caring is present in a relationship, you and the other person experience less stress when you interact.
Unfortunately, few people know how to really listen. Have you ever talked to someone and noticed that they were not listening to you? How did it prompt you to feel? Disrespected? Unimportant? Angry? These are normal reactions. This is why listening is so important.
The key to listening is to be attentive. Don’t let your mind drift while the other person is talking. If your attention … >>>
Here is an important concept for all to remember regarding strong relationships: Not losing is more important than winning.
People’s desires will not always be fulfilled. However, as long as others are aware that they have a choice as to their responses, they are not put in a position where they feel that they lose. It’s that feeling of losing that prompts negative feelings. This is why “not losing” is a key to strong relationships.
No one likes feeling cornered, literally or figuratively. The belief of not having a choice encourages resistance because it prompts a feeling of being trapped. When a person feels there are no options, the result is not only resistance but also resentment. By contrast, offering … >>>
People do better when they feel good—not when they feel bad. This is a simple fact of life.
When your guide your thoughts and others’ thoughts to focus on the positive and constructive, then the self is nourished and enriched. That’s when people feel good.
Andrew Carnegie, the first great industrialist in America, understood this concept well. At one point he had 43 millionaires working for him. A reporter asked him how he managed to hire all of those millionaires. He responded that none of them was a millionaire when he hired them. The reporter inquired, “Then what did you do to pay them enough money so that they became millionaires?” Carnegie responded that you develop people the same way … >>>
We all want successful relationships in our life. Whether that relationship is with a significant other, a child, a co-worker, or a friend. Successful relationships help make life more enjoyable. The key is how to keep those relationships from becoming stressors in your life.
To help you navigate the many relationships you have, here are some tips for cultivating successful relationships.
Logic prompts people to think, but emotion prompts them to act. Communicate on both levels.
When someone upsets you, rather than talk about the person, focus on the behavior or comment that prompts upsetting or negative feelings.
Share your feelings about the effects of what someone does or says. It’s healthy and aids relationships to say, “That comment really
Chances are that at one point you’ve attempted to change another person. We’ve all done it. Unfortunately, most people try to prompt change in others the wrong way.
Dr. William Glasser, the originator of “Reality Therapy” and “Choice Theory,” believed that attempts to change others by using “external control psychology” (including the common approaches of imposing punishments or rewarding to control) are eventually doomed to fail. He referred to such “external approaches” as the “seven deadly habits.” He listed them as: criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and rewarding to control.
To prove his point, just respond to the following:
Having good listening skills will make your life easier and your relationships less stressful. In fact, if you ask yourself how you know someone cares for you, one of your responses is likely to be that you know because the person listens to you.
Without good listening skills, no relationship can flourish. Ask a husband about a good wife, and he is likely to say that he knows his wife cares for him because she listens to what he has to say. Ask a wife about a good husband, and she’ll respond that he listens to her.
This is true with children too. When the parent says, “It’s about time you started listening to me,” chances are the youngster is … >>>
We all have experienced a strained relationship from time to time. Whether it was with a spouse, child, or co-worker, dealing with a strained relationship can be a challenge. Taking the time to fix a strained relationship takes courage and finesse. Here are three suggestions for improving strained relationships with youth and adults alike.
A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have heard their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship. For adults, an affirmation, such as “I see your point and understand where … >>>
Your relationship with your spouse or significant other should be one of happiness and understanding. But sometimes it can be stressful. Learning how to strengthen your relationship with your spouse will do wonders for not only your marriage, but also your stress level in general.
Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when dealing with a spouse, significant other, or social partner.
1. Recognize that you can only control your own behavior. The more you try to control someone else, the less likely it is that the person will do what you want.
2. Differences in perceptions, opinions, needs, and wants need to be respected. The most effective way to accomplish this is to clarify your position rather … >>>
Sometimes in life you have to say no to others. While most people dislike saying no, it really is an important life skill to learn. Failure to say no to others can often lead to stress, overwhelm, and unhappiness.
In my books, speeches, and professional work, I stress the importance of positivity. But saying no to others feels so negative. The word itself is certainly not positive. And the feeling it leaves after a conversation can sometimes feel negative. So how can you say no to others without actually saying the word “no”? How can you protect your time, your feelings, and your needs while keeping the relationship positive?
Here is a simple four-step process to say no positively:
Your words are powerful. In fact, I often say that people do good when they feel good. This is true of adults and children. Children who act on Levels C and D of the Levels of Development chart feel good. While those who act on Levels A and B have more negative feelings. What are you doing to help others do good? Is your language uplifting others? Or are your words bringing people down?
Yes, your words are powerful and what you say often has a big impact on others. While many people don’t intentionally say outright mean or nasty things to others, they may use other subtle words or sentence patterns that disempower others.
Relationship stress is a common problem. The relationship can be between two adults, two children, and even between an adult and a child. The quickest and best way to ease relationship stress is NOT to try to change the other person. Instead, change something about yourself first.
If you are convinced that another person is wrong and they are the source of the stress, there is always the chance it could just be a case of “mistaken certainty.” Or, perhaps, the two of you just have significantly different belief systems. Or, perhaps, it could be the case that “I know you believe you think you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what … >>>
Of all the things that cause stress in people’s lives, relationships rank high on the list. Whether it’s between adults, family, friends, or children, relationship challenges are inevitable.
Here are three tips for significantly improving relationships and making them less stressful.
1. Give Affirmations
A simple acknowledgement can have dramatic results. This is especially important with young people. They want to assert their independence and autonomy. Just acknowledging that you have HEARD their point of view, regardless of agreement, can have a profound effect on how your growing young one feels about the relationship.
2. Use quality listening time.
Quality time is quality-driven, not necessarily quantity-driven. Simply give your full attention to the person speaking. By using eye contact, a … >>>
If you want to help children overcome challenges, then personal connections are the key. In fact, strong relationships can curb almost any problem. Letting people know you care is the most important thing you can communicate.
Here are two questions to ask yourself—especially when working with young people:
1) Does the person feel safe with me no matter what happens?
2) Have I used kind and encouraging words in my relationship with the person?
Unfortunately, when it comes to discipline and helping youth overcome challenges, many adults use counter-productive approaches. In an attempt to discipline or “mold the youth,” they enforce rules. But if a child breaks a rule, what is the parent’s natural tendency? Response: to enforce the rule … >>>
Positive people are more likable. Think about the people in your life. Do your favorite people tend to be positive or negative? My guess is that they are the more positive people you associate with.
The fact is that you will be more likable to others when you focus on being positive.
When I was young, my mother often told me that if I can’t say something nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all.
This is great advice, not only for your communications with others, but also with yourself. In other words, if you can’t say (or think) something nice about yourself, then don’t say (or think) anything at all. Instead, exert discipline to turn your thoughts … >>>
Do you think society, including relationships, has become more stressful or less stressful over the years? Most people think it’s more stressful today than it was just a decade ago. One of the factors contributing to the stress is the rate of change everyone and everything is going through.
A number of factors have changed society over the years, not the least of which is technology. Unfortunately, however, technology has not helped to improve relationships. In fact, in far too many situations technology has actually hindered relationships, leading to increased stress levels. As a result, people continue to use ineffective approaches—mainly coercion—to influence others.
Here are two former American giants who made the point that coercion is ineffective.
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