Lately, have you noticed knots in your stomach, dull aches in your neck, head and shoulders? Have you found yourself popping over-the-counter sleep aids into your mouth to help you sleep at night? Are you aware of an ever present low grade anxiety?
Or maybe you've forgotten where you parked your car or found yourself stuttering trying to remember your bosses name? It's obvious you're stressed.
Stress management is vital for you. However, the subject tends to get lost in the chaos of daily living, work, personal relationships and social events. However, statistics for Web MD show the high cost of excessive stress.
43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects
75%-95% of all doctor visits are for stress related
ailments and complaints.
The life time prevalence of emotional disease is more
than 50% often due to chronic untreated stress reactions.
As stess related illnesses sweep the nation, it is important to remember to keep stress management on the top of your prioroity list.
There is much literature on how to become stress resistant. While exercise, deep breathing, a good diet and rest, fo wonders for stress management Consider this:
Learn to avoid unnecessary stress. One way to do this is to deal with the energy suckers in your life.
What is an Energy Sucker?
Healthy friendships are vital to life. In good ones, there is positive give and take. The presence of friends during many phases of our lives make life richer. Friends help each other to be all they can be.
However, an energy sucker is a friend who is generally negative, complaining and self-centered. Do you know someone who constantly criticizes events and people? Perhaps these friends monopolize your time obsessively discussing their problems or portray everday as a bad day.
Perhaps such a friend insults you with subtle put downs, making you feel angry and self conscious. Spending time with these people is unsatisfying, draining and unproductive. We cringe when we see their names pop up on our caller id as our cell phones ring. These are the friends who need endless financial, emotional or mental support. On the other hand, they provide little support for you. In fact, they oftentimes are insensitive to your need for comfort and understanding during trials; they minimize your hurt and disappointments about life. So, why do we stay friends with such destructive people who sap our energy?
We Feel Trapped
Oftentimes, guilt surfaces when we think about how to deal with such friendships. We may have been friends since childhood, and feel trapped in the relationship. Or you may think that not one else can help your friend the way you can.
Or you might be afraid of their reactions to your addressing the issues in the friendhip. However, when helping your friend is hurting you, you need to consider the importance of self-care.If you consistently feel anxious, depressed, unsatisfied or stressed after speaking or spending time with your friend, that's a sign you need to act on your behalf to protect your peace. Feeling obligated to an unhealthy relationship is counterproductive to you and your goals in life.
What Can You Do to Help Yourself and Your Friend?
Wake up! Stop making excuses for your friend's inappropriate behavior! Instead of saying, "Oh that's just Jay. He screams and rants when he's angry." Face the fact that this angry pattern of his alienates you and others. How many times have you left a club, dinner or event because of Jay's uncontrollable behavior?
Accept Your Responsibility
By tolerating your friend's destructive behavior, you are subtly condoning it. To ignore it only means that your friend's behavior will continue to grow worse. Remaining silent to get along with them, shows evidenc of people pleasing. Energy suckers cannot be pleased. It's your responsiblity to discuss with them how you feel about their destructive behavior and what you're going to do about it.
Talk to a Friend
It is a loving act to confront your friend about behavior and attitudes that are affecting the relationship. Perhaps your friend does not know the extent to which his/her actions are affecting others; you're giving them the chance to see themselves truthfully, and presenting them with the opportunity to change.
Clearly but lovingly name the behavior and attitudes that are bothering you. Site dates, places and times these situations have happened. Listen to your friend's response. Are they taking ownership for their behavior that has hurt you? Or does he/she attack you, trying to defend their actions? Depending on your friend's response, you can continue to negotiatie about ways to deal with the situation, or you might have to leave the room until they deal with their over reations.
Set a Boundary
Learn to say no. One way to reduce stress is to address priorities in your life and to surround yourself, as much as possible, with support systems that will strngthen you as you pursue your goals. It's okay to say no to things you don't want to do or to draining people you prefer not to spend much time with.
End the relationship
I believe in maintaining relationships. However, if efforts to correct the problems in your friendshp don't work, after time, it might be time to end the relationship. This is a difficult decision, and should not be taken lightly. If the friendship is not mutually fulfilling, and you find yourself frequently getting hurt in the relationship, consider this option.
Stress management includes dealing with problematic relationships. Reduce the knots in your stomach, the headaches and vague pains by addressing the issues in your friendship instead of remaining silent or constantly avoiding them. From time to time ask yourself, "Am I contributing to my friend's lives and are they to mine?" Spend more time with those who are supporting you and your goals Minimize time with the energy suckers and watch your stress dissolve!
Rosalind Henderson is a speaker, author and peak performance expert. She is the president and founder of Life Keys Inc., a student resource center dedicated to empowering collete students
to live life on purpose and with passion. To book a college or organization contact her through www.rosalindhenderson.com