When dealing with stressful situations in life a couple of more things to consider are building a support network and taking time to listen more and talk less.
Building a support network sounds technical and more like work than pleasure. One of the things about the TV program “Cheers” was that there was this imaginary bar where “everyone knew your name.” I’m not sure that alcohol is the solution to dealing with stress all the time but having a group of friends who you can off-load some of your stress with is a real key to keeping your mental health. Even Jesus formed a small group of friends that he could hang out with; that group had one too many people in it. Most times you need to be active in seeking this group out. You can’t just sit and wait for your support group to form. As Jesus said once, “Ask, seek, knock…” (Matt 7:7-8)
Another strategy for dealing with stress is to listen more than you talk. Have you ever been in a conversation where you are formulating your response to someone even before they have finished talking? At that point you are no longer really listening to them. Trying to carefully listen to someone takes a lot of energy. Try reflecting back the thought to the speaker in a conversation to clarify what they are saying.
Consider these approaches to listening:
1. Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Your non-verbal communication is a powerful part of the communication. Look at the speaker directly. Put aside distracting thoughts. Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. Like side conversations.
2. Provide Feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. Try to be a listener who seeks to understand what is being said.
3. Don’t be Judgmental.
Interrupting is a time waster. It frustrates the speaker and limits understanding what they are saying. Do not watch Chris Matthews for tips on this. Allow people to finish what they are saying before asking questions.
There are a number of other things I could say about it but these are just a few to get you thinking about your own DE-STRESSING listening skills.
Go out and have a great weekend.