How to Enjoy Stress Free Relationships
By Michael Atma
Imagine how your life might be
if you knew how to finally stop the stress in relationships that saps your strength, drains your energy & ruins your productivity!
Until you've released the need
for judgment, you'll always have it reflected back to you in your relationships. This is one of the main causes of stress. All too often we assume that we know what others mean by what they say or do without bothering to gain a clear understanding
of what's really going on.
This inevitably leads to a
breakdown in communication & conflict. The biggest secret to stress free relationships is to master the skill of being agreeable!
If you think about it just
for a moment this makes a lot of sense. How did you feel the last time someone disagreed with what you though, said or did?
Did you thank them,
give them a big hug & then ask for more disapproval? Probably not!
The bottom line is that people
don't like being disagreed with. This is what leads to arguments & conflict. You have a choice every time you relate with
another person. You can either be agreeable in nature & in communication or you can
The first choice
will cause people to be more relaxed & enjoy your company. The second creates stress & frustration. It costs nothing to agree with someone else's point of view even if you think it's ridiculous.
Who are we to judge
how another person views their life & the world around them. Conflict always arises from disagreement's which then leads
to power struggles. This means that either one or all parties are trying to prove that they're right & someone else is
This is a no win scenario
because if one person is made wrong, then the outcome is tension & resentment. So what do you do if you disagree with
what someone is saying?
Ask if it's ok
to share your opinion. If the answer is no, then to keep your relationships stress free keep your mouth shut. Changes topics if you need to or go do something fun together but let it go & move on.
The next secret
to stress free relationships is to master the skill of understanding.
The key here is
to learn to be a good listener. Can you remember a time recently when you were talking with someone & they either interrupted
you before you finished talking & started talking about themselves or completely ignored what you said & talked about
something totally unrelated?
I know that's happened
to me thousands of times. Well guess what, if you didn't like it I can guarantee you that others won't like it if you
do it to them. By listening attentively to what others say & not interrupting you will prevent the possibility of causing
stress & tension in your relationships because the people you're communicating with will feel seen & heard.
This builds trust
& respect which are 2 of the most important ingredients of a happy, healthy & productive relationship.
Here are 4 keys
to master the skill of understanding:
1. Don't interrupt
unless you have something urgent to attend to. Then excuse yourself politely & make a time to meet with them that you
can give your undivided attention.
2. Look them in
the eye & keep your body language open
3. Only ask questions
that are relevant to the topic. This lets the person who is talking know that you're really listening to them.
4. Never assume
you know what someone means, always ask for clarity before sharing you're opinion. Don't be afraid to keep asking questions
until you're 100% sure about what's being said.
The only time to
try & get others to understand you is after you've understood them. Then they're more receptive to what you have to say.
This skill is one of the most important in building good bonds between people that are stress free.
There's nothing more powerful
than letting others know that they matter. Happy, healthy & stress free relationships are no accident. They're skillfully developed over time by people who care about people.
These secrets will
only work if you apply them. The more you apply them, the less stress you'll have in relationships. I know this for a fact because they've been working for me for more than 15 years.
source: self growth.com
The Power of Saying, "No"
by Linda D Tillman, PhD
"No" is such a simple word....
only two letters. Yet saying "No" out loud is harder for most people than saying, "I'll be glad
to..." (11 letters) or "When do you need me to..." (17 letters)
Most of us said,
"No!" quite well when we were two. After all, it's the two-year-old's job to say "No." The authority figures in our lives
at the time, our parents, expect us to say "No." And it is because of "No" that the year is known as the Terrible Two's.
Many of us grow up to be people pleasers. The word "No" drops out of our vocabulary & we substitute
lots of ways to be agreeable & keep the other person happy.
Saying "No" to the authority figures isn't expected. And underneath it all we believe that saying
"No" can cost us a lot in our adult life.
The unassertive "No"
is accompanied by weak excuses and rationalizations. If you lack confidence when you say "No"
you may think that you need to support your "No" with lots of reasons to convince the other person that you mean it.
You might even make up an excuse to support your "No." This can backfire if the lie is exposed
& again, you'll sound ineffective because you need to have an excuse to support your stand.
The aggressive "No"
is done with contempt. "Are you kidding? Me, get your mail
while you're out of town?"
Sometimes the aggressive "No" includes an attack on the
person making the request. "You must be crazy. I couldn't take on a project that unimportant."
The assertive "No"
is simple & direct. "No,
I won't be able to help with that." If you would like to offer an explanation, make it short & simple. "No, I won't
be able to help with that. I've already made a commitment for Friday afternoon."
Strategies to make the assertive "No" easier
1. When someone makes a request,
it is always OK to *ASK FOR TIME TO THINK IT OVER*. In thinking it over, remind yourself that the decision is entirely up
2. Use your nonverbal assertiveness to underline the "No." Make sure that
your voice is firm & direct. Look into the person's eyes as you say, "No." Shake your head "No," as you say, "No."
3. Remember that "No," is an honorable response. If you decide that "No," is the answer that you
prefer to give, then it's authentic & honest for you to say, "No."
4. If you
say, "Yes," when you want to say, "No," you'll feel resentful throughout whatever you agreed to do. This costs you energy
& discomfort & isn't necessary if you just say, "No" when you need to.
If you're saying, "No," to someone whom you would help under different circumstances, use an empathic response to ease the
rejection. For example, to your friend who needs you to keep her child while she goes to the doctor, you might say, "No, Susie,
I can't keep Billie for you. I know it must be hard for you to find someone at that time of day, but I have already made lunch
plans & I won't be able to help you.
6. Start your sentence with the word, "No."
It's easier to keep the commitment to say, "No," if it's the first word out of your mouth.
Practicing for the World Series
Let's look at some daily ways
you can practice saying, "No," so that it comes more naturally to you. Paulette Dale in her book, Did You Say Something, Susan?
suggests some simple ways to practice saying, "No." Here are some of her suggestions:
- to the clerk who wants to write your phone number down when
you return something to the store
- to the telemarketer who disturbs your dinner
- to the perfume demonstrator at the department store
- to your friend's pets when they jump on you
- to the secretary who answers the phone & asks if you mind
if she puts you on hold.
Make it a project to say,
"No," to something every day.
When you do, notice it & give yourself credit
for practicing saying such an important two letter word.
source: self growth.com
How to Cope with Jerks at Work
By Alexandra Levit
At some point in our careers, most of us are forced to work with someone
whose people skills can only be described as atrocious. Sometimes our companies wisely get rid of these people, but they are
like weeds. Pluck one & within seconds another will sprout up in its place. The dread that comes with having to regularly
interact with someone who is routinely negative, argumentative, stressed out or mean can make your job a wholly unpleasant
experience – if you let it.
Your first instinct might be to go out of your
way to avoid working with Mr. (or Ms.) Difficult & if you can pull it off, more
power to you. Often, though, this isn't an option & whether Mr. Difficult is your boss, a colleague or a senior executive,
you must prepare for each meeting with him like you're going into battle.
Swallow your apprehension. Remind yourself that no one has the power
to control how you feel & suit up your armor so that nothing he says or does wounds you deeply.
Take a deep breath & walk calmly into Mr. Difficult’s office.
Speak to him in a controlled, cheerful & reasonable tone. Get the information you need & get out. Negativity
& stress can be highly contagious, so don’t allow yourself to get sucked in.
Difficult’s arrows can be easier to deflect when he’s an equal opportunity shooter. You might even joke
about him with your other colleagues:
- “Oh, you’re working with Mr. Difficult on that? I’m so sorry. I hear
a bunch of people are getting a hitman if you want to contribute.”
It’s easy to become demoralized, however, when Mr. Difficult saves
his best poison just for you. One of my early bosses, i.e., couldn’t stand me. She was sweet as apple pie to the rest
of our colleagues & to the best of my knowledge, I didn’t do anything specific to incur her wrath.
Inexplicably, though, whenever I came around she turned into the wicked
witch of the west.
Your best bet in this type of scenario is to sit down with your
Mr. Difficult & have a heart to heart. Tell him how you're feeling, assume that he doesn’t mean to act like the
devil incarnate & give him the benefit of the doubt.
Solicit his feedback regarding how the two of you can improve the relationship
& then give him a chance to do right by you. If this doesn’t work & he continues to regularly use you as target
practice, remove yourself from the situation.
No job is worth your self-esteem.
One caveat to all this: human beings operate with such different styles that it’s
impossible for us to get along with all of our colleagues all of the time. You could be the most agreeable
person on earth, but I guarantee that someone at work will find a reason not to like you.
Maybe she isn’t blatantly obvious or malicious like Mr. Difficult,
but you can feel her negativity just the same. She might walk right past your desk without saying good morning & probably doesn’t engage in friendly
conversation with you the way she does with other people in the office.
For those of us
with a sensitive streak, this type of behavior can be hurtful too. What did you do to her anyway? Why won’t she give you a fair shot? As natural as it is to fixate on the situation,
if it’s not affecting your daily working life or your career path, refuse to take it personally & go about your
Focus on your reasons for being at work & save your energy for the
people in the office who deserve it.
source: self growth.com