If you have been following this blog you know about good stress vs. bad stress. Over the next few blogs we are going to discuss some simple things you can do to reduce stress in your life.
Negative out is negative in.
We all have that friend who are mostly negative. Everything in their life is negative and they love "dumping" it on you. We don't want to be a "bad friend" so we listen. Negative out of them is negative into us. We cannot help but "react" to what they are saying:
- Their job is horrible
- Their spouse is horrible
- Their child(ren) are out of control
- They never have enough money to pay their bills
- Their car broke down
The list goes on and on and on and on. Each day there is something different. Some days it repeats something that you heard a week or month ago.
Some people just absorb the energy of those around us. If you are surrounded by happy people you can't help but be happy. If you are with someone who is negative you can't help but feel stressed.
So how do reduce YOUR stress of listening without being a bad friend?
Here's what I do (not that it will work with everyone)
- Allow that friend five minutes to tell me what is "wrong" in their life. (I will actually tell them they have only five minutes and I will actually clock the time).
- Once the five minutes are up I allow them five minutes to tell me how they are going to solve the problem. (I prompt this by saying, "okay so your child isn't listening what can you do to fix that?)
- After that five minutes (10 minutes total) I turn the conversation to something positive about that person. (At this time I don't talk about positive things in my life).
- Now you can have a normal conversation without the negative portions which keeps you from getting stressed.
If my friend continues to come back to the same negative conversation over a period of time (example: my boss is a jerk) I will tell my friend, "I am sorry about your situation but for the next week, month, etc. you cannot talk about your boss unless it is positive). I have found that the person who is mostly negative continues to be negative if all they say is negative things.
Eliminate the stress that you take on from others by changing your reaction to it. It starts with change. Change requires a plan. By reducing your stress in this situation you may help your friend become a more positive person with more positive thoughts. Win Win!
Keep coming back for more ways to reduce stress in situations.