Recognizing and Negotiating Conflict

Problems and conflict are part of life - they are natural and inevitable. Conflict does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. When conflict occurs, the relationship may be weakened or strengthened.Not being able to recognize and address conflict can leave you feeling angry, upset, misunderstood or helpless. However, if the conflict is handled well, it can be productive - allowing both people to feel respected and validated. 

 

Healthy ways to recognize and negotiate conflict

  • Conflict must be viewed as a problem that can be solved mutually - finding a solution that is acceptable to both. 

  • Each person must participate actively in the resolution and make an effort and commitment to find answers which are as fair as possible.

  • Make conflict resolution the priority rather than winning or being right. 

  • Ues effective communication techniques- Use "I" statements, use empathy, and practice active listening

  • Focus on the situation rather than the person- don't attack

  • Ask questions using exploration rather than domination- Try asking open-ended question that provokes communication 

  • Be respectful

  • Brainstorm possible solutions together

 

Conflict is hard, but these are healthy ways to communicate and negotiate conflict. Remember conflict happens and it can be productive if handled with care.

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Loving Yourself

In the relationship conversation, the Five Love Languages is a hot topic, rightfully so. It is important to understand how one speaks/understands love in order to actually feel and receive that love. Why then, do we not consider this in terms of loving ourselves?

 

When the focus is on a duo, the tendency is to ask how each person is meeting the other’s needs. Often times when the responsibility is given to another person, our attention turns elsewhere. We’ve forgotten how to love ourselves. Similar to the concept of self-care, self-love should be another priority of yours, whether part of a duo or not. 

 

So, what is your love language, and how have you shown yourself love today? If you have not, consider reading The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. And, explore the ways in which you can meet your own needs first. It is widely quoted, “You cannot pour from an empty cup,” so let’s fill yours up first.

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A Reminder About Love

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the topic of love is in the air. Heart shaped boxes filled with chocolate and cards with “Love” scrolled across the front are everywhere. We’re reminded to tell that special someone in our life just how we feel about them and to spread Valentine’s to all our loved ones.

 

I love the idea of taking time to be intentional with letting those around know exactly how we feel and to take time to verbalize our gratitudes and appreciations of them. However; at times, I think we forget that self-love is just as important as the love we show to those around us. Sometimes, it’s easier to focus on saying and doing for others. When is the last time you told yourself that you loved you? Or that you are grateful for and appreciate something in yourself? It can be difficult to both give and receive love from others when we aren’t loving our own self well. 

 

This Valentine’s Day season, make sure you set aside some time to think about and take action towards loving yourself well. Start with just one committed action. What is one thing you could do today to love yourself? It may be a bubble bath, allowing yourself some time to read, or going to bed early for the first time in days. Whatever it is, include in that time some loving self-talk. Let yourself know some things you’re grateful for, and remind yourself that you deserve to be loved!

 

What’s your act of self-love going to be? What are you grateful of in yourself right this moment?

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Copy of Experiencing Depression Pt. 2

Depression can either be healthy or unhealthy, especially considering the responses you may choose to have to the depression.  If you are a person who has a history or tendency to experience depression, you can take some of the actions below to help you avert or cope with feelings of depression, despondency and despair.

  • Take a close look at your diet!

Some foods are natural depressants. If your diet is heavy on sugars or caffeine, you are making yourself a target fortremendous mood swings which can include  depressive moods and fatigue. A balanced diet cankeep you in a better physical, emotional and mental condition.

 

  • Make exercise a part of your routine.

Exercise regularly. The best routine is walking a minimum of 15-30 minutes at least three to four times a week.

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Experiencing Depression Pt. 1

The word depression is used to describe a variety of moodsfrom “feeling a little down” or sad to being overwhelmed, incapacitated and possibly suicidal.  These mood changes or swings can be triggered by life situations or biochemical causes.  Depression causesfeelings of hopelessness, despair, sadness and apathy.  

 

Depression affects every aspect of the person’s being. Here are just some of the effects of depression:

  • Aloss of perspective.Depression distorts life and how we see ourselves. Depression perpetuates a negative pattern of thinking.

  • Changes the person’s physical activities and social involvement.A depressed person has little strength or desire to be involved in activities that once were of interest. Constant fatigue plagues the victim of depression.

  • Aloss of self-esteem.The depressed person develops and nurtures a negative self-image.

  • Withdrawalfrom othersat a time when support and encouragement are important.

  • An overwhelming needto escapeproblems, social situations and life as normal.

  • Over-sensitivityto what others say and do.

  • Difficulties in thinking, concentrationand decision making.Depressed people can’t focus and complain of muddled thinking and forgetfulness. They feel as if gloom and doom hang over them all the time.

  • Difficultiesin managing emotions and everyday situations.Depressed people are almost always frustrated and angry.

  • Feelings of guilt or regret….either real or imagined.

  • Creates a strongsense of dependencyupon others.

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Resilience In Mental Health

When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you bounce back from difficult stressors. Resilience is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.  

 

Resilience does not make problems go away — but gives us the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and better handle stress. 

In the mental health world resilience can help improve ability to cope and handel difficult situations. Below are a few ways we can build resilience. 

 

Ways to build resilience 

Get Connected: Building strong, positive relationships can provide support and acceptance in both good times and bad. 

Maintain Hopeful Outlook: We can't change the past, but we can keep hopeful towards our future. 

Accept Change: Accepting situations that can't be changed can help us focus on situations that we do have control over.

Take Care Of Yourself- Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. 

Make days count:Let's do something that gives us a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. 

 

Becoming more resilient takes time and practice, and you are worth it!

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Boundaries with Family

Boundaries are rules and limits that you present in your interactions with others. They can be physical, mental, psychological and spiritual. Setting boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and are good mental health practice. It can, however, often be difficult to set boundaries with the people whom we are the closest. Setting and sustaining boundaries with family is a skill that needs practice.  

 

Here are a few helpful ideas on how to set boundaries with family:

 

  • Practice self-awareness- Understand yourself and your needs. Remember your needs and feelings are important. Setting boundaries happens when you understand your feelings and honor them.  

  • Name your limits- You aren't able to set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. So identify your limits. Ask yourself- What behaviors will I not tolerate? What kind of relationship do I want with my family?

  • Be firm, but kind- Setting boundaries doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be callous.When you set a boundary make sure you are clear. 

  • Keep realistic expectations- Be realistic with yourself about what boundaries you want to keep. Follow through with boundaries can be difficult, but keep at it and remind others of the boundaries you set.

  • Be direct and assertive- Don't drop hints or be passive aggressive about your boundaries. Being clear about what is okay and what is not okay is the only way you can make sure others understand you.

  • Take care of yourself and your needs- Practice self-care. Go for walks, read, or spend time alone. Make yourself a priority. 

Start small- Boundaries takes practice. Start with a small boundary and work your way up to more difficult boundaries.

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People Pleasers- Are you one of those?

We are all people-pleasers in some way or another. And that is just fine for the most part. Wanting to be approved of—and loved—is as natural as needingfood and shelter.

But it’s when you try to please everyone that it becomes a problem.

You might be the go-to person for your extended family, co-workers or social circle.  

Are you:

       The guy who will always change their plans at a moment’s notice.

       The girl who will always take on more work and stay late.

The one who will always say yes.

The person who never says no!

 

If this is you, keep reading:

Why Trying to Please Everyone Doesn’t Work

  • You attract people less.

  • You love yourself less.

  • You are seen as untrustworthy.

  • You end up with less confidence.

  • You become more resentful.

  • You fail to please the one person that matters.

The most important reason to stop trying to please everyone has nothing to do with everyone and everything to do with just one person—you.  The more people a pleaser tries to please, the less time they have for their own pursuits, which can leave them feeling bitter.

Learning to be the real you, to stand up for yourself, to say no, is the only cure.

Make a promise to yourself to start today!

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The Dream Team Communication Playbook

Any team sport athlete can tell you that effective communication is vital to the success of a any offense or defense. Team players understand their own role and responsibilities but also need to be able to communicate when they need help, anticipate potential issues, or point out teammates’ blind spots. This is all helpful and productive in the context of shared goals and assuming positive intent. If there is division, selfish motives, or unhealthy players, the team likely will lose. 

 

Communication is defined as “the act of conveying meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs, symbols, and semiotic rules.” Each couple has to come up with their own mutually understood signs, symbols and rules. This applies in conflict situations as well as sharing information and feelings. Creating and practicing your own healthy communication “playbook” with your partner can be highly useful for those game time situations that will catch you off guard.As you begin, here are a few helpful pointers: 

 

  • Make statements that start with “I” instead of “You.”

  • Explain and describe versus accuse

  • Be in tuned to your own needs remembering to H.A.L.Tif necessary

  • Compromise so both parties “win” 

  • Be open to learning from each other and about each other

  • Practice “quick, slow, slow” - Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry

  • Know both you and your partner’s verbal and nonverbal triggers

  • Maintain even TVC when talking - tone, volume, and cadence

  • Validate, validate, validate!

  • Ask for clarification, don’t assume

  • Play to your strengths 

 

At the end of the day, remember to affirm good efforts and small victories. Championships are never won in just one game, but through a compilation of daily efforts, practice, re-evaluation, and improving where weakest. 

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Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest

As a parent of two children I find myself always trying to expose them to new opportunities. Just like many other parents I too want my kids to do better than me; therefore, I am constantly encouraging them to try new things, meet new people, and get involved in whatever interest them. However, by encouraging them to get involved means I too am involved; whether it is being a driver, leading an activity, hosting a fundraiser, or being a chaperone, I have found my calendar is fuller with their commitments than my own. With being so wrapped up in their activities/lives I do at times find myself thinking what I will do when they graduate, and both are no longer in the home.  What will my life look like when my home is empty?  

Empty Nest Syndrome, what is it?

Empty Nest Syndrome is not a mental health disorder and cannot be clinically diagnosed; however, it can be diagnosed by a therapist, social worker, or caregiver as it is a real condition. It is a time in which parents experience a feeling of sadness and loss when the last child leaves the home. For some parents it is struggling with letting go and an intense worry of will they know how to be independent, can they take care of themselves, and remain safe. For others it is having a hard time adjusting to not having anyone at home to care for, not having the constant companionship, the quietness, and the feeling of loneliness. Research has shown that parents who do struggle with empty nest syndrome are more vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity crisis, and marital conflicts.

Revamp

I was recently told empty nest syndrome doesn’t have to be a death sentence, but a time where you can revamp your life. For couples it can be a time to reconnect with one another, improve their quality of marriage, and an opportunity to rekindle interest they shared but didn’t have time for. For single parents it can be a time to build up your social network, pick up old hobbies or start new ones, join a club, volunteer with an organization, or the chance to get back into the dating world. It is a chance to rediscover self-care, mindfulness, your personal strengths, and implement these into taking care of you.

Proactive and Coping

You can also be proactive if you are worried about experiencing empty nest syndrome. Before your last child leaves the home begin to look for new opportunities and interest in your personal and professional life. Take on new challenges at work or at home, this can keep you busy and fill your calendar with your own commitments.  Ways to cope if you are experiencing loss due to empty nest syndrome: accepting the timing by focusing on what you can do to help your child be ready and prepared for when he/she does leave the home; keep in touch by making an effort to maintain regular contact through phone calls, visits, texts, video chats, and emails; seek support if needed with consulting with your doctor or a mental health provider; and last stay positive by thinking about the extra time and energy you now have to put into your marriage, relationships, or self.

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