Maintaining a healthy balance is important in every aspect of life, whether it be perspective, attitude, eating habits, work/life or relationships. In order to see things as they are and to not overwhelm ourselves with the “small stuff”, we must learn to improve on our unproductive reactions and thought patterns.
In order for this to happen, we must first identify them! The problem for most people is they are so used to an unhealthy way of thinking that they can’t recognize it is unhealthy.
I would begin by asking someone these questions…
- What reactions that you have to others don’t seem to foster productive conversations?
- What daily life occurrences stress you out the most?
- What sort of social interactions make you the most uncomfortable?
- What topics do you find most difficult to have conversations about and verbalize your feelings?
I would explore many more areas with a client in session, but asking yourself these 4 questions can open the door to figuring out some of your more productive (as well as less helpful) ways of interacting with others and within yourself.
Taking the time to point out to yourself what you can improve on should not into a self-bashing session, but should be more of a learning experience. We all have things that we can improve on in our communication and balance in our life. Once you have identified these less helpful ways of thinking or behaving, you can begin to work on them in order to restore balance to your relationship with yourself, and with others.
In order to change these areas, try to find a different strategy or behavior. Here is a general example: People often think that they should speak louder (or yell, if you will) when they are not being heard. You have repeated yourself many times and have become frustrated, so the words are coming out in a more aggressive tone and louder volume. Some times this gets the point across, but at others, it seems to just escalate the situation. You end up being heard less when you raise your voice because, well, no one likes to be yelled at!
So now that you have identified the behavior, yelling, you can find a different way to approach the conversation. The opposite of yelling would be to be silent, but this wouldn’t be useful because it is on the opposite end of the spectrum and therefore, also not balanced.
I would suggest you take a break then come back and speak calmly, or even write it down! One could try one or both of these so that your important message can get through in a different, more balanced way. The important thing in the situation is that you are heard, but you can see that delivering the message louder, or not at all, does not provide the desired result.
There are many other and specific ways in which we can be more balanced, but checking out our reactions and ways of communicating is an important place to start. Exploring these questions and areas in counseling can bring wonderful insight and improvement to your balanced self.