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Self-Help and Family/Buddy Care


Dr. Patel
Effective stress management and relationship management techniques can prevent or resolve interpersonal issues. Dr. Phillips, can you give us some stress and relationship management tips?

Dr. Phillips
Sure, Dr. Patel. Stress often contributes to or aggravates interpersonal issues. Everyone experiences stress differently, so it's important to understand how stress affects your own thoughts and behaviors. Stress may make you feel angry or irritable, or it may interfere with your ability to concentrate. Many people experience physical signs of stress, such as headaches or muscle tension.

Useful tips for managing stress include:

  • Identify sources and triggers of stress.
  • Recognize your natural tendencies for dealing with stress, and determine if any of those tendencies are unhealthy.
  • Use healthy coping strategies, such as meditation, regular exercise, and talking things out with family or friends.
  • Eat right, get enough sleep, and stay hydrated.
  • Make time for relaxing activities, such as reading a good book or listening to your favorite music.
  • Take regular vacations or other breaks from work. (and)
  • Reach out for support, and accept help from friends and family.

Using effective relationship management techniques is key to maintaining healthy relationships.

Practicing assertive communication strategies can be a useful relationship management technique. Assertive communication means being able to express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. Assertive communication also means owning your emotional reaction in a conflict, and pointing out the specific behavior that upsets you without blaming the other person.

Another relationship management technique is setting appropriate boundaries. It's important to know and understand your own limits, and  to give yourself permission to speak up or say no when those limits are being stretched.

Prioritizing relationships and time spent with others is another good strategy. Make sure you're giving priority to the right relationships, and that the time you spend with others accurately reflects your priorities.

Finally, practice compassion for others and for yourself. Be honest about mistakes and flaws in yourself and others, and be understanding too. Try to appreciate where the other person is coming from and why they behave the way they do. At the same time, don't blame yourself for things that aren't your fault, or punish yourself for things you can't control.