How Healthy Relationships
Can Lower Stress

The basis for healthy relationships is respect, freedom and value of each unique person for the other’s equal freedom and right to think, feel, make personal choices and take responsibility for them. --Aila Accad

Often, when life is throwing you a curve ball, it it hard to socialize with friends.  But that is just when  friends and family members can be a great help.  When things are going wrong, you may be inclined to withdraw into your shell.  Stay by yourself.  Avoid putting on a fake smile.

Friends and family are important, especially in times when you struggle.  Developing healthy relationships is an activity that provides comfort and support in tough times. You may want to withdraw from the world around you if you are experiencing depression or anxiety.  Yet this is the time to reach out and share your concerns with others. 

Life is meant to be shared in good times and in bad.  So how do you build healthy relationships and how do you manage these friendships when you are feeling stressed? The first thing is to get out of the house and stay active in some form of activity where you are around people.  Find one or two activities such as exercise classes, church groups, hobby clubs, or volunteer organizations in which you have an interest.

Focus on others.  Talk to others and learn about their lives before focusing on your own challenges.  It is especially helpful to find one or two trusted individuals who you can confide in because they are honest and non-judgmental.  One of the ways to reduce stress is to cultivate a best friend.  Here are three other suggestions for maintaining helpful relationships during times of stress.

Respect the Other Person.

To build any type of meaningful relationship, begin by accepting people for who they are.  Each person has his/her unique set of beliefs and values.  Find out about the person, what they have done and are most proud of.  Be willing to learn about the person's opinions, even if those do not agree with yours.  Differences do not have to be a barrier in building a lasting relationship but can add interest and a broadening of perspective.  The foundation for healthy relationships begins with respect and valuing each other's unique perspectives and talents.

Own Your Behavior.

You can't control other people’s behaviors or their attitudes but you can control your own behavior and attitudes.  In a healthy relationship, others do not assume control over what you are doing, or your opinions and attitudes.  When you are stressed and things in life are going badly, you may find yourself falling into the habit of finding fault in others--seeing life through negative eyes. 

Stop and reconsider. You are responsible for your own actions. This includes getting along with others and maintaining those relationships. Instead of finding fault in people, look for the beneficial ways that they contribute to the relationships.

Let Go of Unhealthy Relationships.

There are times when relationships stop being enjoyable and beneficial.  You may be spending large amounts of time and energy but find that it is simply bringing more stress, tension and anger than it is providing benefits.

Throughout your life phases, your own personal needs and interests may change and so may some of your relationships. If you are experiencing a conflict in a relationship it may be time to end the involvement.  Limit the amount of time you spend with people who are increasing the stress in your life. 

There are better uses for your time and energy and this may be a time when you need to seek involvement in other organizations or with other friends that provide a more positive experience.

Relationships and support networks are necessary for your emotional health. If you are a mom trying to balance your family, friends, and professional relationships, check out Judith's website that has Best Advice From Mom.  Advice handed down from one generation to the next.  Healthy relationships shouldn't be stressful or an inconvenience. 

How to Deal with Stress : Getting Along with Others

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