A ritual to keep stress from outside of our relationships from getting inside of our relationships

Given the potential stress of this holiday season, we are focusing this month on practices for reducing stress.  The first practice is a daily "stress reducing conversation."  The goal is for each of us to have 10-15 minutes to vent about something outside of our relationship.  The goal for the listener is to help our partner to feel heard and valued, and to know that we are a team together.  If we are not intentional, stress from outside the relationship can get into the relationship.  If we can be a good listener and help our partner to feel heard, we can reduce their stress and keep our relationship healthy.  The key to a good stress reducing conversation is that understanding must precede advice!  Check out this article from the Gottman Institute about how to have a stress reducing conversation.

Here is a video example as well.  

Remember!  What do we do if we agree with the enemy?  For example, our partner got criticized for being late, and we know that he/she is often late.  We can use EMPATHY to agree with how our partner feels without addressing the facts of how often he/she is late.  We will get into more detail on this coming up...