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Workplace interactions got you stressed? Here are my 5 Steps to De-Stressing Communication

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stressful communication

When I give a presentation on Communication, I always devote a slice of time to the topic of stress as it relates to communication. If you take a moment to consider the situations that can cause stress in your life, you may realize that some of them involve your interactions with others. If you commit to developing a strategy or plan for overcoming the situations that cause stress, you can change your life for the better.

Now, this may not be what you want to hear, but managing stress doesn’t actually have anything to do with straightening out the behavior of others. Instead, it’s all about management of your own emotional state. We can base our stress-reduction action plan on two unwavering facts:

Fact #1: You only have control over yourself—your actions and your emotions.

Fact #2: People will continue to be, well, PEOPLE. Their actions are completely beyond your control, and often reflect a perspective, rationale, and behavioral preference different from your own.

With the reality that you can only control yourself in mind, consider the following pointers for improving your daily communication:

  1. Recognize the situations that stimulate your energy. When are you most comfortable? When do you perform at your best? Seek out these situations and find ways to alter or eliminate the situations that bring you down.
  2. Be consistent in what you do to control stress. Once you’ve identified a cause of stress and created an action plan, be persistent in your new habit. If you decided to reorient your role during the weekly meeting, build a short reminder of your new habit into that morning’s routine.
  3. Be authentic in your emotional expression. Nothing can wreak havoc on your emotional state worse than a misleading façade. Until you’re honest with yourself and others about what’s tough for you, you won’t escape the stress and dread of the situation.
  4. Combat the “If only she/he would…” reaction. Remember facts 1 and 2? Instead of blaming others for your stress or feelings of frustration, realize that the best way to avoid feeling this way in the future is to ask yourself, what can I do to avoid feeling this way in the future? Whether it’s altering your own expectations, resolving not to feel so deeply about an issue, or finding a way to circumvent the scenario that created the communication issue in the first place.
  5. Oftentimes stress in communications simply comes down to differing communication styles. Instead of jumping to conclusions of ill will or incompatibility, make the effort to observe how others listen and speak, and match your own style of communication with the person to keep them engaged, interested, and trusting.

Dedicate yourself to developing a plan. Learn from each new experience and looks for areas for improvement. If you’re interested in learning more tools for de-stressing your life and improving communication, feel free to send an email or phone call in my direction!

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