Suffering From Stress And Don't Know Who To Turn To?
Your Family Can Offer Some Solutions!

If you're suffering from stress in silence...DON'T! Your family can help rescue you and help you suffer less from all the stress that has been building up. More often than not, the family can be - and most families are to varying degrees - a welcome refuge from the rest of the world. In a work world beset by continuous challenges and filled with seemingly unending change and turmoil, the family is one of the few sources of sanctuary left; yet, many people seem to have lost sight of this rather obvious fact. When a family member is suffering from stress, their own family can be a positive force for understanding and emotional well-being. In fact, this "mental hygiene" function may be a major part of the family's role. It may not be a part of the family function, nor one which family members are consciously aware of performing, but it exists nonetheless.

One of the most important forms of rescue is listening. This is perhaps the single most important form because listening can be a tension dispeller in its own right and because it participates in almost every other form of rescue. Listening is one of the finest tributes one person can pay another. Listening says "I care"; "You are important"; "I am interested." We have all had the experience of feeling better about something simply by talking to someone about it.

Families can be the greatest listening source available to us. To be listened to, however, first requires that you talk. Many people don't talk to their families, at least not about stresses. They operate under the mistaken assumption that they are being altruistic by not bothering their families with their burdens. This is particularly true of men who have been conditioned to be strong and "suffer in silence." Unfortunately, there is nothing even slightly altruistic about such behavior. On the contrary, it's really quite selfish!. It deprives the family of an opportunity to help, which is what they really want. In addition, such behavior is likely to lead to the family being victimized by stresses kept in and built up rather than being released harmlessly. If your notion is that you shouldn't let your family know that you're having a hard time and suffering from stress by telling them about your problems, disavow yourself of that right now! You may be perpetrating an image of yourself which you think is desirable, but you are doing neither yourself nor your family any favors.

Listening, in addition to being an important end in itself, its also a means to a number of other important ends. If the lines of communication are open, families can be a constructive source to help in problem solving, thus reducing stress. Sometimes others, who are not as emotionally caught up in a stressful situation as you might be, can offer some solutions which you were unable to see because of your intense involvement.

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