Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘New Year’

Managing Stress – So It Does Not Manage You

Manage StressThe stress-response is a normal, sometimes life-saving, physiological change in your body, designed to energize you to cope with perceived threats or stressors. You make thousands of internal adjustments (adaptations) each day of your life. You usually learn your “coping mechanisms” early, and with time and practice, they become “automatic.” Coping automatically with the stressors in your life is essential to smooth functioning and adaptability. Coping mechanisms that are automatic, are called “unconscious adaptations.” Each of us requires and uses a variety of unconscious adaptations and most people cope successfully with 98% of their stressors.

Every one of your coping mechanisms works…or you wouldn’t use it again. What’s more, you have always coped with the stressors in your life. But some unconscious adaptations have a high cost. These are known “negative coping mechanisms.” For example, smoking, doing drugs, eating or drinking alcohol do bring rather immediate relief from stress-related tension or pain. But the positive effects of negative coping don’t last very long and the negative effects are often quite serious.

Stress is not all bad; it only becomes a problem when it goes off when not needed; when it stays on longer than is useful; or when you can’t turn it off.  Stress can also be used to motivate and empower us to accomplish tasks, to sharpen our thinking, and to maintain a high level of energy.  The key is to learn to control and manage stress to maximize performance and avoid burnout.

Here are 5 tips to creatively manage stress.

  1. Know that stress does not exist outside you.  You are in charge of your stress level, and can learn to manage it to your advantage. Discover and exercise your strengths. Consistently seek more efficient and effective ways to deal with stress and accomplish what you want.
  2. View change and “problems” as challenges, not as loss or threat.Keep in mind that everything changes. Allow yourself to “float on the river of life.” Search for the opportunities, not the obstacles, inherent in change. Convert the stress of change into excitement for meeting a new challenge.
  3. Have a continuous positive orientation and outlook for yourself and others.William Arthur Ward once wrote, “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” Give attention to what you find most valuable.  Set priorities. Be consistent. Focus on the present moment.  Spend your time and energy in ways that meet your values and standards.
  4. Develop flexibility, agility and tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty. Ensure flexibility in your approach by being willing to quickly modify what isn’t working. Explore new roles and possibilities. Learn conflict-resolving skills which lead to “win-win” solutions. Intend your conflicts to result in everyone getting what they want. Forgive easily and readily.
  5. Use language to create meaning and context for change, achievements and solutions. Everyone needs to feel important. Use a vocabulary that recognizes and appreciates others. Nobel laureate, Hans Selye, in his groundbreaking research on stress said that “gratitude is the most stressless emotion.”

Source: Dr. Patrick WIlliams, MCC, BCC

Book of The Month

The Success Principles(TM): How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
Jack CanfieldThis is one of my all time favorite books, and I bring it out every January as a refresher for what I want to do in the coming year.

Jack Canfield, cocreator of the phenomenal bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, turns to the principles he’s studied, taught, and lived for more than 30 years in this practical and inspiring guide that will help any aspiring person get from where they are to where they want to be.

The Success Principles™ will teach you how to increase your confidence, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all your ambitions. Not merely a collection of good ideas, this book spells out the 64 timeless principles used by successful men and women throughout history. Taken together and practiced every day, these principles will transform your life beyond your wildest dreams!

 

December Message

Well I don’t know about you, but I have NO idea where this year has gone- I swear I was just writing the New Year’s message just yesterday. The holidays aMerry Christmasre here (like it or not!) and the next 4 weeks will be full of rushing around, spending too much money, bickering with loved ones and stressing out. Do I sound like a Scrooge? I’m really not- but the holidays can bring out either the best or worst in all of us, depending on how you handle things. In this month’s issue of Healthy Relationships, I try and give you some ideas of how to really enjoy the holidays again- bring back the feeling of magic that a holiday should be. Remember, you are in control of what you do, think and feel- and that includes the right to say “No” when needed. Don’t forget that the idea of a “traditional” family has changed for many of us- and with it the old routines and expectations that we had. Read here  for my latest interview with the Albuquerque Journal on what makes the holidays great in blended families. Above all- try and take care of yourself and the New Year will be here soon!

A SMART Start

“An optimist stays up until midnight to see the New Year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves”. – Bill Vaughan

It is the time of year when many of us make New Year’s resolutions. The most popular include things like losing weight or getting fit, getting the finances in order, organizing our life, an effort to quit smoking and reduce or stop drinking and even try to have more fun. I even read that fifty-percent of Americans say their New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family and friends.

But what about a New Year’s resolutions specifically for your marriage?

Half of marriages end in divorce. Research has found that only half of those who stay married actually carry the moniker of “happily married.”  So, this year, make a resolution to prioritize your marriage. Couples that invest in their marriages have more satisfying, pleasurable interactions with each other because great marriages do not just happen. It’s time we all make some New Year’s resolutions together and focus on our relationships.

When you think about resolutions, you can’t get any better than strengthening your marriage.

Step one is to sit down with your spouse, grab a pen and paper, a glass of wine or cup of tea-this exercise is supposed to be relaxed and enjoyable-and brainstorm together some New Year’s resolutions for your marriage.

1. Start with the positives. What do you both like and appreciate about your relationship? How can you enhance and highlight the positives?

Spending time alone together is essential for your relationship health. Commit to a monthly or weekly date night. If you have children, brainstorm about childcare. Besides hiring babysitters, you may be able to trade play dates or sleepovers with family or friends. Do not be complacent. Make a commitment or resolutions to have date nights in 2012. No more excuses!

If your romantic and passionate life used to be positive, but now has been neglected, pay more attention. Research by Barry McCarthy has found that if you are both happy enough with your sex life, it only accounts for 15 percent of marital satisfaction. However, if either of you is unhappy with your sex life, it can account for 85 percent of marital satisfaction. Commit to prioritizing your sex life. Set aside time for sex dates, read some fun sex self-help books together and commit to being more affectionate and passionate in 2012.

When you were first together as a dating couple, you likely had new, fun and interesting experiences together. Commit to trying some new activities, hobbies or outings together in the New Year.

2. Remove the barriers. What gets in the way of marital satisfaction?
How do you handle conflict? Remember that conflict is inevitable in a marriage. Do not avoid conflict, but find productive ways to deal with differences. Are either of you guilty of using criticism, contempt, stonewalling or defensiveness? If so, how about a New Year’s resolution to eliminate these hostile interactions that are predictive of divorce?

Is work or technology interfering with prioritizing time together?  If either of you has a hard time with the work/life balance or relies too heavily on technology, social media, TV or video games, you might take a look at this issue together. How about setting some mutual agreements? Amazingly, 70 percent of families are now reporting using phones, computers or watching TV during meal times together. How about a resolution to have technology-free meals and technology-free evenings during your weeknights?

Do either of you feel taken for granted or unappreciated? Do you know how your spouse prefers to be loved? Make a New Year’s resolution to show your spouse love in the way they want to be loved, rather than role model what you want!

3. Check in weekly or monthly with each other to see how you are doing with your relationship goals. What kind of marriage do you want to have? Are you being the people you want to be and having the relationship that you really want?

Make your marriage a priority. I believe the most important gift that you can give yourself and your children is the feeling of a healthy, loving marriage.

You are the GOALie

As the New Year begins, sometimes we feel depressed after the hectic holidays.  The celebrations are over, weather is cold, business seems quiet, and you may be at a loss for how to get yourself going again. We can begin to mentally prepare for this coming year by taking time to assess our personal and professional challenges and accomplishments for the past year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What have I accomplished this year? Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!

2. What have I learned this year? What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?

3. What got in my way? This is where your work will be next year. Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.

4. Who contributed to my successes? What can you do to recognize these members of your personal or professional team?

5. What mistakes did I make, and what did I learn from them? Writing these down is a good refresher for what not to do next year.

6. How was my work consistent with my values? What will you do with the inconsistencies?

7. Where did I not take responsibility? Sometimes this is easier to see with a little distance from the actual event.

8. How did my performance rate? Give yourself a letter grade or a 1-10 score.

9. What do I need to let go of? Doing so can help you move much more lightly into the New Year.

10. What was missing for me this year? How can you incorporate them into next year?

Doing these exercises can be a huge benefit to starting your year of on the right foot.

Book of The Month

A Decembered Grief: Living with Loss While Others are Celebrating

by Harold Ivan Smith

Suffering the loss of a loved one at any time of the year is difficult, yet during the holidays or special occasions, those grieving experience a more intense sense of loss. The world is moving forward and celebrating life and all its blessings, yet for grievers, a darkness pervades the holiday. This book is an invitation to Christmas and its companion holidays of the season which compose a grueling triathlon which begins on Thanksgiving and continues unabated for forty-five days until the last of the bowl games on New Year’s Day. Through quotes, prayers, Scriptures and the words of the author, A Decembered Grief is designed to guide the reader on the journey to healing.

 

Starting Off Right

As the New Year begins, sometimes we feel depressed after the hectic holidays.  The celebrations are over, weather is cold, business seems quiet, and you may be at a loss for how to get yourself going again. We can begin to mentally prepare for this coming year by taking time to assess our personal and professional challenges and accomplishments for the past year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. What have I accomplished this year? Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!

2. What have I learned this year? What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?

3. What got in my way? This is where your work will be next year. Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.

4. Who contributed to my successes? What can you do to recognize these members of your personal or professional team?

5. What mistakes did I make, and what did I learn from them? Writing these down is a good refresher for what not to do next year.

6. How was my work consistent with my values? What will you do with the inconsistencies?

7. Where did I not take responsibility? Sometimes this is easier to see with a little distance from the actual event.

8. How did my performance rate? Give yourself a letter grade or a 1-10 score.

9. What do I need to let go of? Doing so can help you move much more lightly into the New Year.

10. What was missing for me this year? How can you incorporate them into next year?
Doing these exercises can be a huge benefit to starting your year of on the right foot.

 

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