Health Coaching Spotlight: Taking Care of Relationships
Have you ever turned to a loved one when you felt stressed or overwhelmed? Whether we realize it or not, we rely on support from others to keep our minds and bodies healthy. In addition to helping us relieve stress, social support helps us to maintain motivation and willpower to choose healthy behaviors. However, to have a strong social support system, we need to take care of our relationships. This is where the importance of what we say and how we act around others comes in.
Communication is key to maintaining strong, healthy relationships with our loved ones. Relationships require give-and-take: you give your own time and energy but also take the time and energy of another. Treating and talking to others with respect and compassion can help to grow our relationships so that we have people to support and encourage us as we adopt healthier behaviors.
Here are 5 tips that we can use to communicate more effectively and thoughtfully with the people we care about most.
1. Be an active listener.
Don’t just wait to speak. Listen to what others are saying, and make an effort to understand their point of view. Pay attention to both what the person is verbally telling you and what their body language is saying to correctly understand the message.
2. Communicate clearly and directly.
Make your message plain and simple, and share it with the appropriate person. Avoid making your message vague or unclear. However, make sure you’re being honest and compassionate. When dealing with a touchy subject, use “I” to put the focus on your feelings rather than using “you” which could make others feel like they’re being attacked.
3. Share your feelings.
If something is bothering you, talking about it will help to resolve the problem much sooner than keeping it inside. Alternatively, if you’re feeling grateful for your loved ones, tell them that you value them! Letting them know their worth to you will brighten their day and further strengthen your relationship.
4. Respect the need for “me-time.”
At some point, most of us need time to ourselves to recharge. Make sure to respect the “me-time” of others, and give them the space that they need. Avoid interrupting them during this time to avoid frustration or irritation. If you can’t wait, always ask for permission before talking.
5. Know when to pause.
Certain conversations can get us fired up and emotional. When the conversation gets heated, it can be healthy to take a break! This gives you time to calm down and clear your head so that you can return to the conversation and make a decision based on reason, rather than emotion.