Tag Archives: skills

Relationship Skills

Just as laughter is a part of relationships, so are tears. We are reluctant to talk about fighting as a relationship tool, but a clean, fair fight can help. Avoiding fights isn’t a good solution. People who bottle it up are just as stressed as those who constantly bicker. Don’t fight over everything; compromise and pick your battles and words carefully. Be sure you know exactly why you want to fight. It’s easy to get caught up and not understand what’s wrong.

Don’t pick a fight at a time or place that gives you the upper hand. Pick a time when you can both sit down and talk logically, and wait until you’re both calm. Don’t be petty and take a cheap shot to get the last word. If the fight has lost steam, let it go. Don’t hit below the belt, but also, don’t wear your belt around your neck. Being too sensitive will close off things you may need to fight about. You know where the line is; there’s no need to be disrespectful and hurt someone for the sake of gaining ground in an argument. Don’t drive the other person into a corner either. Cornered people panic and don’t fight fair, and this just ends up hurting you both. Avoid always or never (you never listen, you always make me feel like this). Fighting isn’t something that we want to do, but clearing the air is better for everyone involved.

Honesty and time to think can help alleviate a lot of the stress that causes unnecessary fights. Assertive, Flight, and Nest-Building skills help prevent fights that you don’t really need.

Assertive skills maintain honesty. Respect yourself and your partner. Don’t be afraid to say no if you mean it. Practice saying it in a mirror if you have to — it becomes natural with time. Saying no doesn’t have to be permanent. It’s ok to say “I can’t now, but in the future if I can”. However, don’t use this as a cop out, and only say this if you mean it! Making excuses opens a door for a fight later on.

Flight skills help you put some distance between you and your stress long enough to calm down. It can be as simple as taking a nap, or letting your mind relax. Give yourself a few moments to decide how you really feel about something. If you need more time, sleep on it – give yourself 24 hours before acting on any major decisions you make.

Nest-building skills supply you with a place to retreat to when you need to get away. It gives you security and comfort. Is there a place in your home where you can really relax? Try rearranging your home so things that help you relax are all in one spot. For a quick and easy fix, repaint a room a color you enjoy. It gives you a space your own to go to.

Listening as a Relational Skill

Even the extroverted will have trouble with relationships if listening is an issue. Listening skills go hand-in-hand with contact. No one wants to talk or listen all the time; understanding one skill is equally as important as the other. Being a good listener is more than just hearing. It means being aware and accepting of the other person’s emotions. However, there is a line between being sympathetic and too empathetic.  Empathy isn’t a bad thing, but it’s important to separate out your feelings. It’s easy to take on the emotions of others you care about in stressful situations, but this is not helpful to anyone. While supporting a friend through a divorce is healthy, if you take on your friend’s emotions, both of you are drained and stressed, which doesn’t help anyone.

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand why a person feels a particular way. The key is to just accept their feelings. Don’t judge them or compare their reaction to how you think you would feel. Sometimes if you are confused about a friend’s reactions, try paraphrasing what they said back. This will help both of you understand what was said and if that’s what was meant. Another way to improve your listening skills is to keep an eye on body language. Watch how people interact with each other. Most people have clear signals for how they’re feeling.

  • Do you think you are a good listener? Why or why not?
  • Are there ways you can improve your listening skills?

Personal Management: Stress Less!

Everyone has moments where we feel as though life is throwing too much at us. We can’t control what happens to you, but we can control how we each respond to it. By understanding how to spend your time and energy, you can help yourself when you feel overloaded. Understanding how to prioritize yourself is a great stress-reducing tool. These are called Personal Management Skills. They are useful when you:

  • feel as though you spend too much time on things that aren’t important,
  • feel out-of-step with yourself,
  • feel you have too much to do and no time to get it done, and
  • you don‘t really understand what you want from the future.

There are five facets to Personal Management Skills. The first are Valuing Skills, which help determine what’s important. Second are Planning Skills, which turns your values into a road map. Commitment Skills help put those plans into actions. Fourth are Time-Use Skills, which help you trim out your time wasters, and last are Pacing Skills, which help you to keep on course and not fizzle out halfway through.

  • Do you feel as though you need management skills, or do you feel like you’re already organized?
  • Does it seem as though you need help on one facet in particular?

Negative Coping Skills

Negative Coping Skills
From Kicking Your Stress Habits
By Donald A. Tubesing, PhD, MDiv

How do you handle stress? The different ways we tackle stress are called coping skills. There are two kinds of these skills. Positive skills are ones that energize you, like exercising or laughing with a friend. The other set are negative skills that leave you feeling worse, like drinking or ignoring your stress.

Say you react to stress by turning a blind eye to it. You will end up drained from all the effort you’re putting into ignoring your stress. This only makes you feel worse, leaving you with even less energy. See the pattern? You have less energy and you still haven’t solved your problem. The drained feeling you get from stress can lead to illness—up to 90% are caused by stress alone! Can you imagine being sick 90% less? Consistent stress can cause peptic ulcers, chronic headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even heart disease. Thinking about that alone is downright stressful!  On the other hand, if you choose a positive coping skill, you will regain energy rather than just spending it. Then you have more energy to put into things you enjoy, which will help you relax even more. This is also a pattern, but an infinitely better one.

  • What kind of coping skills do you have?
  • Are they positive or negative?
  • Have they changed over the years?

~For more information on this subject, click here.

Kicking Your Stress Habits Cover