Reducing stress in relationships

Stress and relationships

The relationships you have with friends, a partner, or colleagues at work can be sources of support to help you get through difficult times.

Alternatively, they can be sources of stress. In this article we will be looking at how to get the best out of your relationships.

Getting the support you need

No matter how resilient we think we are, everyone, at some time or another, needs the positive support of  others to help them survive stressful times – the support we get from friends and family can be a substantial buffer against emotional strains.

When dealing with any crisis – such as the death of a loved one, financial difficulty, or any situation  which leaves  you feeling unable to cope – remember that you do not have to face it alone. One of the vital things you need to do is to get help and support.

Express your feelings

The key to getting support is learning how to express your feelings. Try to avoid the ‘stiff upper lip’ approach to your problems, believing that if you ignore them for long enough they will go away. They usually do not.   In truth, bottling up feelings invariably has the opposite affect – more often than not, bottling up makes problems seem worse than they are. Over a long period, containing your feelings can jeopardize your immune system and lead to illness. (See The Health Hazards Of Stress).

Believe it or not, there are many people out there just waiting to give you the support you need. First, however, you need to invite them in – it is up to you. Even if your family and friends are not close at hand, there is no reason to feel lonely and isolated. If you need help, it is important that you ask for it – it could be as simple as writing a letter or making a telephone call.

Making the first move

Asking for help may seem like an insurmountable task, a terrifying admission of failure. It is neither of those things. Think of it another way. If you avoid asking for help you will have failed yourself and maybe others as well. Do not be afraid to make the first move and set yourself clear goals – create an ask-for-help action plan to help you take the first step.

• Make a list of positive-thinking people, whom  you respect and whose opinion you value. Then make a conscious effort to see more of them.
• Invite a friend or member of your family, to whole you are close, to lunch to talk over your problems.
• If you do not have a network of friends, try to speak to at least one new person a week.
• Join a self-help group, evening class or voluntary activity organization – these provide meeting places for nurturing new friendships.
• Do not be afraid to seek professional help. If those you would normally discuss your problems with are too closely involved, then an impartial adviser – your doctor, a counsellor or a therapist – may be the answer to your problems.

In the next section we’ll learn how to take the stress out of relationships.

Taking the stress out of relationships >>

Text Copyright © Alix Needham
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