By Bridget Edwards, Stress Expert and Author of the book Stress Gone! How to Identify and Reduce Stress Easily
We are all products of our environment. Family and home environment is an important area for developing basic stress management skills. The home is where behaviours, habits and core beliefs are learnt, and stress triggers a myriad of emotions. When parents handle stress well, they’re likely to teach their children to do the same. Conversely parents who are anxious, panic and stress excessively; the probability children will emulate them is high. In his book, Biology of Belief, Dr Bruce Lipton explores the importance an environment plays in shaping beliefs, behaviours and habits.
Within a family and home environment, it is natural for emotions to be highly charged, even explosive at times. Love, caring, conflict and arguments form important aspects of how family members learn to bond, interact and relate to each other individually and collectively.
A family who has experienced, and surpassed, stressful trying times together such as unexpected illness, death, financial difficulties etc. are more often likely to emerge stronger and be prepared for problem solving. Although memories may still be fresh or repressed, what is important is learning how to cope and stand together to deal with stress as a family. These valuable lessons prepare one for the future because stress is an inevitable part of daily life.
These 11 tips can help families cope with daily stress more effectively:
- Love and hugs: Love and affection alleviate stress, and is deeply gratifying and nurturing. Hugs release Oxytocin, the feel good hormone. When someone affirms their love we feel supported, safe and secure no matter how stressful the circumstances. Loving supportive family can weather any storm, and are likely to stand together no matter what. The power of unity far exceeds even the strongest individual.
- Everyone experiences stress: All family members, including children, experience stress, although the stressful levels vary. Effective communication includes listening and assisting to deal with and alleviate stress. Sharing is caring. Naturally, an eight year olds stress about homework or a school bully may not be as earth shattering as an imminent retrenchment or foreclosure. Providing emotional and physical support to stressed children can significantly create stress relief for parents too; a win-win.
- Volunteering: People actively involved in charity work are more likely to manage their stress effectively, lessening detrimental stress effects. Sincere qualities of giving, compassion, kindness and caring are generated by the heart. Whereas stress is a perception of a particular situation created by the limitations of the mind. The field of the heart is expansive, creative and infinitely resourceful, whilst the mind is generally limited, contained and bound by belief. Love and care are fundamental stress release mechanisms.
- Reduce home stress: The adage ‘home is where the heart is’ transcends material possessions and wealth. It’s not about money – most humble homes contain tangible vibrations of love. Every home needs love, compassion, generosity and kindness for the family to feel safe, secure and peaceful.
- Reduce toxic clutter: Clutter creates stress. Cleanliness is next to godliness. A home filled with clutter is unlikely to conjure wholesome vibes. The Chinese apply Feng Shui to ensure positive ‘chi’ energy flows through their homes. Regular spring cleans reduce stress.
- Don’t take work stress out on loved ones: Maintaining a happy face at work but venting frustrations on family is unfair, and causes unnecessary suffering to loved ones. Release toxic work related stress before arriving home. No family deserves this bullying or punishment.
- Effective communication: Shouting or barking orders whilst walking through the door is unlikely to be well received, and creates resistance and stress within the family. Rather calmly explain stressful work frustrations without venting and taking this out on family. Talking ‘to’ a family is much more effective than talking ‘at’ them; a subtle difference. Tone of voice and body language is equally important.
- We’re all in this together: Sharing daily chores means everyone pitches in and learns to supports one another. A great opportunity to teach children how to do simple tasks, develops their skills and abilities, creating responsibility and independence.
- Do activities together: Set aside family time on weekends, or a week night is an ideal way to open communication channels. This maintains a healthy family bond. Do fun things that create the opportunity to talk, catch up, laugh and simply enjoy each other’s company.
- Shared family meals: The family tradition of sharing meals together around the dining room table is invaluable. Today’s TV and tech era has destroyed this. Sharing meals provides quality time for connecting with one another, relationship building, sharing ideas and discussing personal issues. This maintain a strong family core, and engenders wholesome values.
- Living alone or an only child with deceased parents, can be stressful because humans are innately gregarious connectors, thus need and thrive on frequent human contact. This is integral to emotional and mental well being, and balance. Ensure frequent social interaction and get hugged often. Sadly Facebook, dating sites, Reddit, etc. don’t provide authentic emotional support, physical hugs and comforting.
Until next time, wishing you a stress free lifestyle.
Bridget Edwards is a South African entrepreneur, author and emotional change catalyst. She is passionate about helping people overcome their emotional obstacles and personal challenges. She does this through speaking engagements, training (workshops), and private consultations. Bridget has authored two self-help books, Anger gone! How to Easily Defeat Anger, and Stress Gone! How to Identify and Reduce Stress Easily. She continues to write self help programs to assist people in dealing with their personal obstacles. www.Bridget-Edwards.com
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