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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Is your Relationship Causing You Stress?

 By: Tony Robinson

Perhaps nothing is as important in our lives as our
relationships with other people. It has often been said that a
happy family is the key to success. Much of our joy comes from
our memories of Thanksgiving dinners around the dining room
table or Christmas presents exchanged in the family room. But it
is also true that the relationships that provide us with so much
happiness can also be a source of stress.

Mental health experts say that our interpersonal relationships
can increase our stress level. Since it is not possible--nor
advisable--to eliminate these relationships from our lives, we
have to work hard to ensure that our relationships do not get
the better of us. This means focusing our attention on the
inherent stressors within relationships, and doing our best to
eliminate or at least reduce stress where possible.

One of the major stressors in relationships is a communication
problem. For instance, you may become angry at your mate because
he or she fails to do chores around the house. However, the
bigger issue at stake is the fact that you feel as if your mate
doesn't really love you. By bridging the communication gap--by
articulating exactly what your needs are in a loving and
supportive way--you can help ease the tension in your

Another source of stress can be a feeling that your mate is not
supportive of your efforts, either at home or at work. You may
feel as if your spouse doesn't appreciate all your hard work and
effort. This could, in turn, lead you to attempt to overachieve,
thinking that, by doing so, you will win your mate's support and
love. However, such a tactic could backfire, causing you more
stress than you need.

But your relationship with your spouse may not be the only
relationship that is causing you stress. You may also be
burdened by problems in your relationship with your parents. For
instance, you might feel as if your parents disapprove of your
career choice, your choice of spouse, or your choices when it
comes to parenting your children. The fear of disapproval can
lead to tension which can, in turn, give rise to stress. By
trying to understand your parents' perspective, you can help
smooth out the tensions in your relationship.

Also, attempt to boost your self-confidence, as far as your
decision-making capability is concerned. This will help you to
recognize the fact that your parents' disapproval will not break
you--that you can learn from their criticism and can become a
better person for it.

Sibling rivalries can also cause a great deal of stress. You
might feel as if you constantly need to compete with your
brother or sister--that you need to have the better car, the
prettier wife, the bigger house, the more prestigious job. If
this is, indeed, the case, you might need to re-order your
priorities. Recognize that your brother or sister is a talented
individual, that he or she should be respected and appreciated.
Realize that competition between siblings is seldom helpful and
more often counter-productive. Once you stop trying to openly
compete, you might find that your sibling calls a halt to the
competition as well. In this way, you can both learn to find
common ground--to work together rather than against each other.

In addition, you may experience stress in your relationship
with one of your co-workers. You might experience continual
conflict, as you continue to disagree on the most minuscule
details. If the conflict appears to be overwhelming, you may
need intervention by a supervisor in order to get your stress
level under control. The worst thing you could do is to let
things simmer until they reach the boiling point.

It should be noted here that you cannot eliminate stress
entirely from your relationships. However, it is possible to
minimize it. By engaging in effective communication, trying to
view conflicts from the other person's perspective, and dealin
with differences of opinion openly and honestly, you can reduc
the amount of stress in your interpersonal relationships. You
may find that you are a great deal happier and even healthier as
a result of such stress-busting techniques.

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