In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A 2020 survey, near the beginning of the COVID pandemic estimated the prevalence of symptoms of depression was 28% and symptoms of anxiety 21%.
Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:
- Eliminate the stressor or
- Change one’s reaction to stress.
When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.
Good communication and productive ways of handling conflict depend on couples carefully listening to one another. Active listening involves listening attentively without interruption and then restating what was heard. Acknowledge content AND the feelings of the speaker. The active listening process lets the sender know whether or not the message they sent was clearly understood by having the listener restate what they heard.
Examples of Active Listening:
“I heard you say you are feeling ‘out of balance’, and enjoyed the time we spend together but that you also need more time to be with your friends… and you want to plan a time to talk about this.”
“If I understand what you said, you are concerned because you want to go skiing next winter. But you think I would rather to go to the beach. Is that correct?”
When each person knows what the other person feels and wants (assertiveness) and when each knows they have been heard and understood (active listening), intimacy is increased. These two communication skills can help you grow closer as a couple.
Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.