How much stress can you take?

Do you hit snooze every morning? Is coffee a MUST in order to thrive each day? Are you irritable, snappy with your spouse/kids? You might be burnt out. 

Ever heard of microstressors? A microstressor is something that happens in your day that gives you a small jolt of cortisol. It stresses your body but comes across cognitively as an annoyance, irritation or inconvenience. Examples would be: your alarm clock going off when you’re in the middle of a REM cycle, your spouse asking you to do something for them when you’re already running late, a child telling you at 7 PM they have a science experiment due that night or they need a certain shirt, brownies or something else for the next day, a car pulling out in front of you on the way to work, spilling your coffee, etc. Anything that makes you have to pivot or utter curse words under your breath. 

Your body is only equipped to handle 40 microstressors per day. 40. If you hit snooze each morning, that’s another microstressor for each time your alarm goes off. That being said, think of how many times you experience a microstressor each day. Is it more than 40? Anything more than 40 causes your body to release extra cortisol (public enemy number 1) into your system causing belly fat, exhaustion in emotional, physical and mental form, and a taxation on your adrenal glands. Tired, cranky and out of energy and patience all the time? Now you know why. All of these extra microstressors lead to burn out and chronic stress. Chronic stress then leads to chronic health problems. 

So how do you overcome them? 

1. Get 7-9 hours of sleep. The recommended amount is 6-8 but 7-9 are needed to thrive, not just function. Turn off electronics at least 1 hour before bed. Get a diffuser or sound machine. STOP hitting SNOOZE!
2. Meet your other physiological needs- food, air, water, homeostasis. If those needs aren’t filled, you can’t concentrate on anything. Kids are the same way by the way. My 10 year old didn’t go to sleep until late last night and this morning, I think I heard at least 10 times in 2 hours how tired he was while he was trying to concentrate on school work. Kids need between 11-13 hours of sleep every night to thrive too. Ever tried to have a serious conversation when you’re hungry? Doesn’t work so well, does it? 
3. Eat healthy, enough and often. When your brain is depleted from nutrients, you can’t concentrate and everything is more intense. 
4. Exercise but if you’re exhausted, don’t try to do a HIIT or something strenuous. Do yoga or go for a nature walk. 
5. Socialize with friends. 2 hours a week with friends can increase happiness by 40%! Encourage your spouse to go on that guys/girls weekend! They’ll come back refreshed and be a better spouse/parent. 
6. Progress over perfection. There’s a difference in being a perfectionist and just living in fear and “perfect” doesn’t actually exist anyway! 
7. Deep breaths. Search cosmic yoga for a fun resource for your kids to calm down. For you, 5 deep breaths every 3 hours, indulging in a hobby, journaling, meditation. All of these are fantastic! 
8. Time management. Prioritize, let go of the small stuff (does it really matter if your spouse didn’t fold the towels right? They fit in the cupboard, they’re folded and you didn’t have to do it. Let it go), delegate, partner up, share the resources you have, stop trying to reinvent the wheel…see number 6 on the perfectionist thing. 
9. When you or your child are having a meltdown, ask “what need isn’t being met here”? What do you need?
10. Set expectations clearly, early and often. Talk to your kids about your expectations for the day during breakfast. Talk to your spouse about your expectations for budgeting at the beginning of the month, for the job you’re requesting they do before they start it, etc. 

If you need more information on microstressors or expectations, I’ve done a video on both in the facebook group. Feel free to join and check them out! I do free coaching in that group 2-3x a week every week! 
Otherwise, I hope this has helped and I wish you a weekend filled with less stress! 

XOXO,

Kameran

How Clear Is Your Communication?

Every person has a fight style and a communication style. 

But what happens when the two combine? When you’re upset with your partner, how do you communicate? 

In many of the couples I work with, when an argument ensues, one of the parties will brush their wants and needs under the rug. Your partner comes in and asks “What’s wrong?” You answer with a harsh “nothing.” Your words (7% of your communication) say nothing. But your tone and body language (93% of your communication) say “something BIG”. 

Understand a few things here. 
1. Your partner is not you, they do not think, feel, communicate or operate the way you do.
2. Your partner is not a mind reader. Without clear, concise communication, your partner will not understand what you want them to. 
3. Your feelings, thoughts, irritations, triggers, etc are your responsibility. Communication is imperative to living a happy, fulfilled life with your partner. 

So let’s go back to our scenario. If you are upset with your partner, it’s your responsibility to let them know why you’re upset. If you are communicating “nothing” then their reaction is going to reflect that nothing is wrong and this is something you are working through on your own. The problem becomes deeper and a solution is never found. Additionally, this is a toxic behavior that is started when we begin dating as teenagers and we take this behavior with us through each relationship until we eventually recognize it for what it is and let it go for a more mature response. On a deeper level, we are hoping that our partner recognizes their own wrongdoing without us having to communicate it but that only leads to more disappointment when that hope is lost. 

So what’s the most effective way to communicate? 

Most wrongdoings between partners are simply because of mindlessness, not malice. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt (antidote) instead of assuming the worst (poison). 

Communicate a clear message that covers both the surface and the deeper levels. “I am upset because you said you would…. and you didn’t. I feel that you didn’t keep your word and I am disappointed because that lessened the character I believe you to have and left me feeling abandoned.” 

Sounds like a bunch of psychobabble BS, right? Ok follow me here. A simple 2-3 sentence message like this is powerful to the nth degree. Here’s why. 

  • I statements (I am..I feel…) take responsibility for your feelings and avoid blame, shame or guilt of the other party. It keeps the gate of communication open instead of saying “You didn’t keep your word” which then triggers defensiveness. 
  • You’re not sweeping your feelings under the rug. You’re validating yourself, your feelings and your equal partnership in this relationship. 
  • You’re hitting the underlying problem (abandonment and lessened character) which could be a repeated problem in your relationship. 
  • Simply stating facts avoids whining (defensiveness) or using contempt (communicating that you’re superior to your partner).
  • Saying “I’m upset that you said you would (a behavior), lessened the character I believe you to have (behavior), you’re complaining about the behavior, not criticizing the overall character of your partner. This avoids later problems and is more easily accepted than criticism. 
  • By shortening the message, it’s easier for your partner to hear, understand and stay focused than having a long, drawn out explanation. This hits high points, details and communicates needs. Everyone wins. 
  • A statement like this is less likely to escalate the conversation which avoids more hurt and promotes a healing, solution oriented environment instead. 

This message leaves an opening for your partner to now reply with a calmer, more productive feedback of “I’m sorry for leaving you abandoned and not keeping my word. In the future, I will…” 

I understand that toxic patterns of behavior are difficult to break but in an ideal relationship, communication and arguments are handled calmly, rationally and a lot less heated. If you’re trying to uplevel your relationship, this is the framework you’re ultimately working toward. It eliminates the 4 deadly horsemen of the apocalypse as well as gas-lighting which are all high indicators of divorce. 

I can tell you from experience in changing this exact behavior in myself, the latter, more effective communication technique produces much more satisfying results in the short and the long run.

I hope this helps your relationships and helps everyone move forward in a healthier manner.