communication

Dismissing versus Supporting

In the process of supporting our loved ones, it is easy to move from being supportive to being dismissive without realizing it. Maybe you have run out of things to say that may be supportive and do not know how else to help. 

Being dismissive minimizes the value of what your loved one has said and felt. But, it does not always come from a place of not caring. It can look as simple as what we think is supportive; “It will all be fine...You worry too much; take a break...That person is not worth your time...You didn’t think that would be helpful before...” These things can tell your loved one that their fears, concerns, and hurt are unnecessary but simply confuse the fact that those feelings already exist. 

Support can be offered in many ways. Most often, you will find that your loved ones simply need to feel heard. You may not have to say anything! Think about the times when you have truly felt heard. How can you pass that feeling along?

Make eye contact

Paraphrase what they've said

Ask for clarification if you’ve misunderstood

Simply gestures, like a nod, let them know you’re still listening

Empathy and validation let others know that their feelings and thoughts are acceptable and you can appreciate why they feel that way, even if you may feel differently about the same situation.

Other times, your presence may be more than enough. We have this sense of urgency to fill the voice when there is uncomfortable silence. But when a loved one is hurting, they may just need that silence to process their thoughts and feelings, with your supportive presence. 

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Thank You

Often times, we are rather hard on ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. We are constantly expecting and demanding more and becoming frustrated easily. 

 

But what if, we took a few moments each day to appreciate all that those bodies and minds have done for us? Notice that pesky anxiety or unwanted memory of a traumatic event? Although the symptoms that follow may prove challenging, your mind is working to protect you.

 

Your memory stores information for you, some of which you may not even recall. When a familiar sensation, smell, sound, etc. presents itself, it triggers a thought process, which is quickly followed by an emotional process. This emotional process can then lead into moments of anxiety, stress, doubt, etc. 

 

Although you may in fact be safe, that smell may connect you to a memory in which that smell was once unsafe. In order to protect you, your memory is reminding you that smell has previously meant danger.

 

Instead of harboring frustration towards your mind and body for the symptoms that follow, allow a moment to appreciate its intent. You may just notice your symptoms weaken and anticipatory frustration subside.

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Good Communication Starts with 5 Simple Things

Do you want to have better communication with the people in your life? The ability to communicate is an essential skill in today's world. Good communication is key to all relationships and it starts with 5 simple things:

 

1.  Listen to learn; not to judge 

Avoid criticism, name calling and diagnosing.

2.  Pay attention to the person speaking

Look at the person speaking and put away electronic devices.  

3.  Use language relevant to the person you are speaking to

Avoid technical terms that are not relevant to the person

4.  Only offer advice when asked

Some people would like to come to a solution on their own.

5. Address the concerns of the speaker

Take the person's concerns into account.

 

Another important aspect of good communication is body language. Facial expressions, gestures and posture speak volumes. Nonverbal cues can be just as important as verbal expression. If you want better communication, go ahead and try these 5 simple things!

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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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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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