Katie and I just returned from the annual LOHAS conference in Boulder. If you’re not familiar with LOHAS, it stands for Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability, and is the umbrella for all the companies that make products and offer services for making life better. It was my first time at the LOHAS conference, but I hope it’s not my last. We had a wonderful time interacting with people from all the companies we buy things from on a regular basis, everything from herb tea to environmental organizations to non-allergenic lotions and potions.
Recently we’ve been getting a lot of email asking about how to deal with stress and tension. It may be because of an uncertain economy or other factors, but whatever the cause, here is some key information about stress.
First, stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Science tells us that some stress is necessary, but that too-high levels impede learning, slow productivity and make you sick. What stress level is optimal for you?
As we write this, in the spring of ’08, it seems like we’ve been in the world’s longest-running political campaign—and there’s still half-a-year to go! Seeing all those political ads have inspired us to propose a new set of rules for politicians and their ads. For many years we’ve had the privilege and joy of helping people change their lives and their relationships by learning how to use four communication tools skillfully. We originally discovered the power of those tools thirty years ago, by experimenting in our own relationship with ways to keep the flow of intimacy going strong between us. The tools work, and we’ve been rewarded with more love, harmony and creativity than we ever imagined possible.
Much of the stress of daily life is caused by incompletion in relationships. There are many stressful aspects of leaving things incomplete, but the most stress occurs around significant emotional communications that are left unfinished. Many of us have people in our lives with whom we have big incompletions on the emotional level: secrets, debts, unspoken regrets, unexpressed I-love-you’s. This stress often magnifies around the holidays and in-person visits to family members, because of the focus on and expectation of good times, joy and love during those visits. Why not take a few moments right now to make a list of incompletions in your relationship life? Then, give yourself the gift of completing as many as you can. Most significant incompletions boil down to a minute or two of heartfelt communication. Many of us put off that minute or two for far too long.
Learning how to be honest in close relationships is an art that takes a great deal of focused attention. We’ve often thought how strange it is that so few of us get any training in communication during our school years. Compared to the amount of time we spend learning addition, multiplication, grammar and such, most of us get no training in the crucial aspects of relationship communication. Even though Kathlyn and I have spent thirty years learning and teaching how to speak honestly in close relationships, we still learn something new every week. Here’s a recent learning from Kathlyn:
Thanks for all the positive comments and thoughtful posts inspired by our earlier Top Ten list. We’ve been working on a second list, on our way to what will ultimately become The Top 100 Relationship Movies Of All Time.
We receive about a thousand emails a month from people who are looking for answers to various relationship questions. Most of them break down into four main categories: money, sex, communication, parenting. A minority of the questions range over other issues such as commitment, recovering from a break-up and other specific concerns. A recent email asked a more general question that we all can benefit from thinking about: “In your experience, what one thing can people do to make a relationship work?”
These are challenging times for parents. In our own lifespan we’ve known or been around three different types of parenting challenges.
For our grandparents, the challenges were of the most basic kind: getting enough to eat and trying to keep children alive. My grandparents lost one child at birth, at a time when nearly all births were home-births, and came close to losing my mother to the malaria that was rampant at that time in Florida.
It’s that time of year when there is nothing better than snuggling up, staying warm and watching a movie with your friends or family. Here are our nominations for the best relationship movies of all time. Our criteria combined artistic merit with the ability of the movie to shed light on the inner workings of relationships, and how to maximize their potential. In addition, all the movies we selected share that elusive quality known as heart.
When the holidays approach, we receive a lot of requests from people who are experiencing more conflict and stress in their relationships.
If you’re feeling increased pressures around this time of the year, you’re definitely not alone. Along with the possibilities of great joy in this season come other feelings as well. It’s important to remember that all feelings come through the same “faucet” of your awareness, and that the holidays are an ideal time to open yourself to learning from every relationship moment.