15 Nov 2009

A Hidden Oasis from Holiday Stress

Posted by eranmagen

In this crazy world, in this rushed and hurried life, stress is ever present. It finds us at different moments of our day: In bed, trying to fall asleep, our head is filled with thoughts of things that need to get done; in the car, we hope that no unexpected delay will occur, since we do not have much time to lose; when meeting our friends, we try to quiet the distracting thoughts that take us away from the conversation. On occasion, we can tell that we are more irritable than we need to be, make careless errors, or feel easily hurt by others. We are stressed, and stress is an inescapable fact of life.

Or is it? Have we come to accept those sleepless nights, the feelings of being rushed, agitated, or easily upset, even though we do not have to? The truth is that there is an incredible resource that is available to us, which can help us feel better and less stressed, a resource that is often ignored and rarely utilized to its full effect. And this resource is – our friends, our family, the people in our lives whom we can about and who care about us.

Today, I would like to encourage you to be selfish – to take the time and share an issue that is on your mind with someone who is close to you. To allow this other person to support you. The simple act of genuinely connecting with another person who cares for us is powerfully balancing and calming.

And when a friend or a family member shares with you an issue that is on their mind, give them the gift of Supportive Listening. Bring your full self to the conversation, listen to them closely, and do your best to understand their experience from their perspective. Hold off on the interpretation, the advice, the “listen to what happened to me” stories – and just check in with them once in a while, to make sure you understand their story. You will be amazed at how easily they talk, at how their seemingly scattered thoughts eventually evolve into a pattern that is meaningful and satisfying not only for you, but also for them. Give the gift of your presence, your complete attention, and your warm regard, and watch this person, who you care about, flourish in the warmth that you bring.


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