By Elizabeth Aloni, www.ejoycoaching.com
Everyone experiences stress. And with the tax man having just made a visit, stress may be at a high level right now. But even if tax time isn’t a stress for you, a relationship is taxed when stresses are bottled up. My Bringing Baby Workshop is so critical to new and expectant parents (and for parents with kids of all ages) because during the transition to parenthood a whole host of additional stresses come on the scene (as well as immeasurable joys of course) and stay on the scene as you raise your baby.
So what is a couple to do to ensure that the everyday stresses of life do not create disaster for the relationship? The following is one of the many tools couples take away from the Bringing Baby Home Workshop that helps couples relieve stress while enjoying support from one another.
The Stress Reducing Conversation
Couples take turns talking about what is currently stressful in their lives. One partner speaks first while the other listens and then you trade positions. It takes only 20 minutes a day with each partner getting 10 minutes to speak about their stress.
Important to note, the stresses discussed in the conversation are those OUTSIDE of the relationship (there are other tools to discuss problems in the relationship). The stresses can be (but not limited to) money, job, children, traffic, extended family, school or friends.
The role of the listener during the exercise is very important and active. The listener should be fully present. No cell-phones, TV or daydreaming. The listener should be engaged and empathetic. Some ways to connect as the listener is to ask questions, communicate understanding (“I get why you feel that way”), use words of empathy (“poor baby”), we vs. others (“I hate he’s doing that to you”) or show affection (hand on the knee, a kiss).
It’s important for the listener to resist the temptation to fix the problem. Understanding MUST precede advice.
The 4 major benefits of engaging in the daily Stress Reducing Conversation are significant.
- Lifting a weight off your shoulders. When stresses are shared they become much less overwhelming. Sharing them out loud with the one you love is a great way to reduce them.
- Providing support during these conversations is invaluable to the relationship. It makes you feel closer to one another and more in love. It is a wonderful feeling to have your partner express their understanding, concern and support for whatever ails you. Sharing your stresses can be vulnerable and sharing vulnerabilities is another way to build greater intimacy, trust and connection in your relationship. This conversation makes sure you are doing that on a regular basis making each other a priority.
- Without the Stress Reducing Conversation stresses build up. When stress builds up you are much more prone to blowing up at your partner or children. You have less patience and therefore less ability to be a loving partner, parent or friend.
- Extensive research has shown that having a daily Stress Reducing Conversation reduces the symptoms of depression.
All of these benefits and it only takes 20 minutes a day! Start today and begin to enjoy the benefits now.
I would love to know how incorporating the Stress Reducing Conversation in your relationship helps you. So please send me an email to Elizabeth@ejoycoaching.com and let me know.
Click here and listen to my radio interview on the Not So Perfect Parent show.