Survival Kit for Stress – Tool # 3
“Shared joy is double joy, and shared sorrow is half-sorrow.”
- Swedish proverb.
In my past 3 articles on stress, I talked about the two ingredients that can help us overcome stress – 1. Having autonomy in our life, and 2. Finding your passion and purpose. Today, I will touch on the third important tool you need in your survial kit for stress: 3. Connectiveness.
Connectiveness has to do with the relationships in your life – the quality and quantity of time you spend with the people you care about. People who are dislocated from a familiar environment often fall sick because they feel disconnected. If you have a strong connectiveness, you’re less likely to get stressed out.
One test to check the level of connectiveness in your work environment: When you go away from the office for a period of time, do your colleagues miss you, or even realize you were not around? (I have heard of managers sending their staff away for a seminar, and when they return, the manager asks, “So where have you been? Haven’t seen you around for a few days!”
How can you develop a satisfactory level of connectiveness, wherever you may be? You can start by making an effort to put an extra something into every relationship, be it just a kind word, a friendly greeting or even a smile. Watch out for the words you use – you can turn what sounds like criticism into positive feedback or even reinforcement just by carefully selecting the right words.
Research has shown that how a relationship is perceived depends on the ratio of positive to negative interactions. That means, even if the ratio is 2:1 (two instance of praise to one of criticism), the relationship is still seen as totally negative. Only when the ratio touches 4:1, does the perception turn around. (Imagine a ham sandwich with the piece of ham in between 4 pieces of bread!)
So beware the next time you open your mouth to criticize… make sure you mind your language and pad it up with lots of praise and appreciation as well! Many people fall out of love or marriages turn sour for precisely the same reason – even if one partner is doing the right thing, they are not seen as doing it right, often enough.
Another step you can take to achieve connectiveness is to constantly ask yourself, “Am I really getting what I’d like to have happen?” One way to enhance any relationship, be it work or personal, is open communication - to lay the cards on the table, so to speak. Be frank about what you would like to happen in the relationship. Very often, you’ll find that it was not that difficult to attain, if only the other person knew what your expectations were.
Look out for Tool #4 in the next segment of Health Coach International’s Survival Kit for Stress.
Attend our workshop to learn how to manage stress and turn it into positive energy.