During this time of uncertainty, with mass layoffs, heightened health precautions, and societal lockdown, anxiety is running rampant in the homes of Americans. With this lockdown, we are spending more time at home with our immediate families, roommates, or housemates while feeling disconnected from our other friends, coworkers, and extended family members.
While we are in close quarters with our housemates for an extended period of time, tensions inevitably seem to rise. With all this time cramped together, we may see a different side of our partners, family members, or housemates that we may have not acknowledged before. Bill grinding his teeth or Angela hogging the remote became a daily emotional ordeal rather than a weekly reminder.
How do we deal with these daily annoyances when we feel like we can't escape? How do we check ourselves emotionally to make sure we aren't damaging our relationships and tearing down others around us? How do we express ourselves, get our needs met, and build a stronger, more cohesive relationship?
I want to discuss some ways that we can find peace among chaos with the ones closest to us in our own homes.
1) Express how you feel. Use "I feel" statements. Yes, we have all heard about this and yes, they do work. The next time you see an argument getting away from you, try this out: (1) "I feel ____ when ____ happens. What I need is ____." To make this fully effective, avoid using the word "You" When you express your emotion, don't say "I feel angry or upset when you..." or What I need is for you to do something to make me feel better. The use of the word "you" is accusatory and places blame on the other person. Whether you believe the other person is at fault or not, by taking personal responsibility for your own feelings, this completely disarms the other person and allows you to work together to solve the main problem. Instead, try something like this: "I feel angry when I don't feel heard or respected. What I need is to feel respect."
2) Validate other’s feelings and point of view. Communication is hard. When I say the word “Chair” what do I mean? A wooden chair, a recliner, or maybe a barstool? Words have different meanings and connotations given a specific context. Try to understand the other's point of view and validate how they might feel based on their perspective.
3) Let's talk about self-care. This is the most important thing you can do for yourself in times of anxiety. To take care of yourself is central to your own mental and physical health. Go for a walk, a run, paint or draw in a quiet room or with music if you prefer. Meditate, read, or take a bubble bath. These gestures to yourself allow you to stop and reflect on positivity and express gratitude for simply being able to experience the current moment. Doing this regularly provides pleasure, peace, and a clearer perspective of your present problems.
Practicing these 3 guidelines can help turn an argument into a controlled conversation. When we are in a good space emotionally and mentally, we are able to navigate conversations more effectively. When we are able to have productive conversations we build positive connections with those around us and the tension, stress, and anxiety seem to all melt away.
About Sam Nabil
Sam was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English
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