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Stress management

Prevention of stress in relationships

Unfortunately, love is not always enough when it comes to everyday life. It can therefore be beneficial to evaluate how well you match, by talking about some important basic attitudes. You can jointly make a list of things you feel are important in life, and then try to guess what priority your partner gives to each item. Example values might be a warm relationship, sex life, children, money, job, travel, sport, etc.
You could each make a list of, say five, things that are certain to make you angry, and then try to guess what items are on your partner's list. Examples might be: being ignored, lies, lack of freedom, criticism, insensitivity, etc.
Spend a few minutes telling your partner how you think he or she thinks of you. In particular, mention the characteristics you think your partner finds annoying about you and would like to change. Then find out if you were correct.
Each write down a list of the things you like best about your partner, and the things you like doing together. Compare the lists and select the things you both agree about and both like. Agree to find time to do these more in the future.

Below is a list of conditions necessary for a good and lasting relationship.

  • Rules and ways of creating new rules must be known and accepted by both persons. Both parties must be able to negotiate and be responsive.
  • The boundaries between the parties, and externally, must be well-defined and flexible. This relates to, for example, loyalty, and the right to be individual and have a private life, as well as having respect for each other's boundaries.
  • That differences are all right. In other words, that you can accept that you have different attitudes and ways of reacting, for example, in relation to other people, ideologies, and to order and tidiness, etc.
  • That conflicts lead to cooperation and conflict resolution. This involves recognising that cooperation can lead to gain for both parties, in contrast to a power struggle.
  • That it is permitted to give expression to all your feelings. Recognise and accept that you can both become stressed and, for example, angry. Often an outburst of anger is misinterpreted as a total rejection.
  • That jobs and conversations are completed. Her: "It's now two weeks since you promised to sort that out". Him: "I'm going to leave now if you keep talking about it".
  • That you generally give acknowledgement to each other, and that criticism is corrective and not derogatory.
  • That you generally live in the present, in contrast to dwelling on the past, or "if only…" statements. Him: "You never…". Her: "If you could just hold your tongue. It was like that time…".
  • That you recognise that a good relationship requires caring, friendship and time together, as well as duty and responsibility.
  • That you help each other to enter your eros states.

Prevention of stress for new parents

It is both joyous and stressful to have a child, but you can try to prepare yourself for it and help each other by reducing the strain that can arise.
Give free expression to your feelings. Talk to your partner and listen to him/her.
Give each other some free time. Arrange times where one of you can have time off and do something completely different.
Maintain contact with your environment, your wider family and friends. Refrain from feeling guilty or thinking that you should do such and such, for example, because others expect it. If you are in doubt about something, use the community nurse or consult your doctor where appropriate.

Prevention of stress in the family

Speak to each other in an open, honest and direct manner.
Accept that feelings and opinions are expressed, but expect that members of the family (including the children) learn to control their emotional outbursts.
Make an active effort to ensure a positive atmosphere.
Show your children that it is the parents that call the shots, but do it by explaining to them what's involved.
Be careful not to pressure your children into particular roles or patterns. Accept and love them as they are.
Nurture the family fellowship, but also encourage everyone to have interests and contacts outside the family.
As parents, you can take turns to be the one who sets boundaries, for example, so that it is not always Dad who says no, and Mum who gives in.
Try to help each other to handle stress. Work on developing some good coping habits. One of the best things you can do for your children is to ensure your own well-being.

Stress at work

Stress at work normally arises due to an imbalance between the workload and time pressure in relation to one's resources. The key is therefore to, as far as possible, try to create a reasonable balance between these factors.
Beyond this, you need to localise the specific stressor(s) that exist and seek to solve each problem, one at a time. You could consider using problem-focused coping and the stress management plan.

Live a healthy life and strengthen your resources

Set aside time for exercise and rest and relaxation. Breathing exercise for relaxation.
Ensure you have good dietary and sleeping habits.
Avoid or reduce physical stressors.
Set aside time for play, sport, hobbies - or just to be lazy.
Use your social support network, have fun and excitement, make use of humour and listen to music.
Consider using a mental training and visualisation tape/CD, or learning meditation, tai chi or yoga.

Your mental resources are increased by using social skills, knowledge and tools for tackling stress, and last but not least, by teaching yourself to be able to change over to your eros states.

Here you can test your coping skills and personal resources.

Here you can read more about stress management: Stress Management - Taking Charge.