- Fight: "I'm right, you're wrong." Fighting is trying to impose your preferred solution or opinion onto another by insisting, blaming, criticizing, accusing, shouting, or using force. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. "I feel..., I think..., I need..., I want...".
- Submit: "I'm wrong, you're right." You can yield by lowering your expectations and settling for less by giving in, giving up, agreeing to just end the conflict or surrendering to what the other person wants. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. There are times when you are wrong and it's appropriate to admit it. There are also times when faced with a more powerful force submission may be appropriate.
- Flee: "I don't care who is right, I'm gone." You can withdraw by ceasing to talk, retreating to your own thoughts, leaving emotionally, changing the topic, physically leaving the scene. OR you can calmly stand up for your own rights and beliefs by using appropriate measures such as your words in direct "I" statements. When emotion goes up, cognition goes down and it's sometimes useful to leave a heated discussion and take a time-out to let emotions subside, to organize thoughts, formulate "I" statements, "I feel..., I think..., I need..., I want...". Then return to the discussion, calmly, with clarity.
- Resolution: "We both have a piece of the truth. Let's work it out." We can learn to listen to each other, to state our feelings, thoughts, needs and desires and to hear those from another person. With mutual respect, listening and talking, and expressing our feelings using "I" statements we can remain in the struggle long enough to digest what's happened, problem-solve, and pursue alternatives that satisfy both and come up with solutions.
People use three basic responses to conflict. Fight, Submit, Flee. These can be used creatively but sometimes we get stuck in using just one strategy; become rigid and defensive and feel trapped and powerless. There is a fourth strategy, Resolution which can be learned and is mutually beneficial.
Listening is a skill which can be used to help improve relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
Listening is an important tool in relationships. By listening carefully, we can usually tell what another person wants out of the relationship.
The purpose of listening is to focus on the other person and learn something about her or him.
We can all become better listeners:
It doesn't always have to be a teen vs. parent fight. Parents and teenagers are always going to disagree about some things. It's simply the nature of the beast.
You, as the parent, are the half of the relationship with experience, who knows the limits, who wants to protect your child and who hopes to help guide him or her in positive ways.
Your teenager is the half of the relationship who is not only dealing with physical and emotional changes, peer pressure, and the normal developmental growth of desiring more independence, but who has to also put up with all the rules, "those totally unfair rules", that you, the parent tend, to impose.
Yes, some conflict between parent and teen is inevitable, but there are things you can do to minimize the disagreements.
Adapted from American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.
There are many factors that can have negative effects on us, but sometimes it's important to focus on those things that can actually improve the quality of our lives. Yes, exercise, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep all can contribute to better physical and mental health, but another even simpler antidote that is often overlooked is making sure to laugh frequently.
Laughing is a natural part of life. As infants, we started smiling within our first few weeks and were laughing out loud within just months. Unfortunately, as we get older and life gets more serious, the ability to laugh can sometimes be diminished. Fortunately, you can learn to laugh again regardless of age.
How does laughing help? In addition to adding joy to your life laughter can:
You can increase your laughter quota by searching out things that make you happy. Maybe it's playing with a small child or a family pet. Maybe it's taking the time to find a funny movie, TV show or a video on YouTube. Try reading a humorous book, or sharing a good joke or funny story with others. Read the comics, watch a comedian on TV, or have a night out at your local comedy club.Yes, life can be serious and we can't always be laughing, but putting a little extra effort into trying to find the funny in your life can leave you feeling happier while providing real benefits to your physical health and mental well-being.
Adapted from The American Counseling Association’s Counseling Corner Blog.
During a busy schedule you can find yourself transitioning from one task, activity, or group to another without taking a breath. Your stress escalates and accumulates and you may not be at your best. It's good to pause for a minute to bring your stress level closer to your baseline before proceeding.
Here's a quick, 30-60 second, exercise to put you back in touch with your Best Self.
Everyone has difficulty falling asleep occasionally. You can improve your sleep hygiene and reorganize your bedtime routines to create an external and internal environment which is more conducive to restful sleep.
Here is a brief visualization called The Body Scan which can help release tension and quiet the mind.
If your sleep is disturbed for many nights you may be experiencing insomnia which is habitual sleeplessness, wakefulness, restlessness. Prolonged insomnia can have serious psychological and health problems. If this is the case, consult a physician.
Researchers at Harvard have developed a list of 12 tips to promote better sleep. Look them over.
Stop, Look, Listen, Smell, Taste, Touch.
What you know of the world comes through the 5 senses. Paying attention to your sensory input can focus the mind on the present. Living in the present can, momentarily, lower anxiety, relieve muscle tension and calm the mind.
Here's a quick exercise, The Senses Check, which takes about a minute to bring you into a tranquil space.
Do The Senses Check and experience the present moment completely.
Even one episode of mindful practice can be beneficial for your health.
Most people experience a slump in January and February after the frenetic end-of-year and new year festivities. Some of this is merely fatigue but the Winter Blues can leave you feeling, sad, irritable, unmotivated. If these feelings intensify and lead to sleep problems, changes in appetite or weight, depression, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
If your symptoms are in the milder category of Winter Blues there are several things you can do to help yourself feel better.