Having Healthy Family Relationships With Less Stress

Manage stress by fostering closer relationships within your family

Happy families support each other through stressful times.

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A connection to family provides a certain type of social support that you can’t get from other people. Provided they aren’t severely emotionally toxic, we can generally depend on our families in times of crisis for emotional and practical support, and sometimes even financial support when we’re desperately in need. Most of the time, the family is a constant in our lives, and a welcome one when there are so many people who are content to drift in and out when circumstances change.

Our families carry our history with them, and they generally share our future as well. Who better than siblings, parents, and other close relatives can reminisce with us about our childhoods, or remember pieces of ourselves we’ve forgotten? This connection to fond memories, support in times of need and near-unconditional love is a unique way that family brings us happiness as well as relief from stress.

Unfortunately, with the complexity of these relationships, they're not always easy. If you would like to feel more connected to your family, the following resources can help for a variety of family structures:

Become Adept at Dealing With Difficult People

Dealing with difficult people is never easy. But while it may be better for your stress level and even improve your health to eliminate strained relationships from your life, it's not always a simple undertaking when the difficult people are relatives, co-workers, or people you otherwise must have in your life. What to do? These tips on dealing with difficult people can help keep conflict at bay and reduce your stress level.

Improve Your Relationships With Healthy Communication

Social support is a great stress reliever, but relationships can also be a major source of stress. As conflict is virtually inevitable in any relationship, here are ten important tips on managing conflict in a respectful way that yields positive results, rather than damaging your connection and causing additional stress.

Do You Like Who You Are When You're With Your Family of Origin?

When people get together with their families of origin, they often regress to the behavior patterns they had when they were younger, as that’s how we’re usually most experienced in dealing with parents and siblings. It can be stressful to feel pulled toward old patterns, however, especially if you’ve grown beyond these old roles and they no longer reflect who you are. If this describes your situation, here are a few things to try:

How to Handle the Stress of Adult Sibling Rivalry

"Mom always did like you best!" Sound familiar? If you feel strained in your relationship with your family because your parents favor another sibling or another sibling’s family, you may be surprised to find that you’re not alone. Learn how to handle sibling rivalry as an adult, and enjoy your family gatherings much more from now on. Here's how.

The Family Stress Section

The role your family plays in your life, and the health of your family relationships, can really affect your stress levels. Remember, strong family relationships can be a source of strength that you can draw upon in times of stress, and use to expand your enjoyment of the good times you experience in life. A conflicted family relationship can not just deprive you of that support, but they can create additional stress that depletes your ability to cope. You may not be able to completely control the types of relationships you have with your family members--after all, relationships are dynamics that involve more than just one person--but there are many things that you can do to create greater harmony in your relationships, and protect yourself from unnecessary stress and pain. Find more resources for dealing with family relationships here.

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