Tag Archives: communication

Stress and social media: Increases our awareness of distressing events in others’ lives

The widespread use of the internet and related digital technologies has raised concerns that technology use may be responsible for higher levels of psychological stress. However the opposite us true. Studies have shown that the widespread use of the internet and related digital technologies is not responsible for higher levels of psychological stress. Stress is not associated with the frequency of people’s technology use, or even how many friends users have on social media platforms. For women particularly, the use of some technologies is tied to lower stress.

Such analysts often suggest that it is the heaviest users of these technologies that are most at risk. Critics fear that these technologies take over people’s lives, creating time pressures that put people at risk for the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.

How can it be that social media use is not directly associated with stress, but for some, social media use can still lead to higher levels of stress?

The answer: The relationship between stress and social media use is indirect. It is the social uses of digital technologies, and the way they increase awareness of distressing events in others’ lives, that explains how the use of social media can result in users feeling more stress.

Like the recent terror attacks in Manchester at the Ariana Grande concert that took the lives of many young concertgoers, the use digital technologies, such as facebook, Twitter, email and text messaging enables fast and distributed communication of the event. As a result of this communication, many are aware and reminded of distressing events in the lives of others.

On the one hand, there are benefits from this fast and distributed news, informing and providing awareness. According to previous research by the Pew Research Center, compared with non-social media users and those who are not as active on Facebook, this person likely: has more close friends; has more trust in people; feels more supported; and is more politically involved. While some might assume that this typical user of Twitter, Facebook and other digital technologies experiences peer pressure to participate or keep up, and a fear of missing out, if such pressures exist, our typical user does not feel more stress than what he or she would otherwise have experienced, or the social benefit of using these technologies cancels out those additional costs. He or she is unlikely to feel more stress than those who are not using or are less active on social media.

On the other hand, there is the common exception to this situation. Sometimes, a social media user’s awareness of events in others’ lives includes knowledge about undesirable events such as the terror events, or a friend or family member getting fired or losing someone close to them. Learning of such events in the life of a friend or family member can result in higher feelings of stress.

In sum, social media users are not any more likely to feel stress than others, but there is a subgroup of social media users who are more aware of stressful events in their friends’ lives and this subgroup of social media users does feel more stress.

Reference:

    Tune in for part 4 next week – Social Media and stress levels.

    Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

      Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

      More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

      Take the Couple Checkup

      Take the Couple Checkup

      Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

      Take the Couple Checkup

      The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

      The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

      For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #strongerrelationships

      Social Media and Stress: It is the social uses of digital technologies, and the way they increase awareness of distressing events in others’ lives that explains how the use of social media can result in users feeling more stress

      Married couples are using the internet and mobile technology to communicate with one another, to keep up-to-date with information and news about others. Combined with the ease of access to these communication mediums and their instant and constant influence over couple relationships, its presence and impact cannot be underestimated or ignored.

      Whilst most of the qualities that help sustain a good relationship have not changed – commitment, effective communication, constructive conflict and patience, honesty and forgiveness amongst others – there is strong evidence that couples are using these technologies to enhance their relationships. Both the opportunities and threats associated with the use of internet and mobile technologies by couples and the use of them must be understood and considered to ensure programs are relevant and meaningful to meet the evolving needs of couples in all their life stages.

      For generations, commentators have worried about the impact of technology on people’s stress. Trains and industrial machinery were seen as noisy disruptors of pastoral village life that put people on edge. Telephones interrupted quiet times in homes. Watches and clocks added to the de-humanizing time pressures on factory workers to be productive. Radio and television were organized around the advertising that enabled modern consumer culture and heightened people’s status anxieties.

      Inevitably, the critics have shifted their focus onto digital technology. There has been considerable commentary about whether internet use in general and social media use in particular are related to higher levels of stress.

      Such analysts often suggest that it is the heaviest users of these technologies that are most at risk. Critics fear that these technologies take over people’s lives, creating time pressures that put people at risk for the negative physical and psychological health effects that can result from stress.

      Interestingly, US studies reveal that the frequency of internet and social media use has no direct relationship to stress in men. For women, the use of some technologies is tied to lower stress.

      The survey analysis produced two major findings that illustrate the complex interplay of digital technology and stress:

      1. Overall, frequent internet and social media users do not have higher levels of stress. In fact, for women, the opposite is true for at least some digital technologies. Holding other factors constant, women who use Twitter, email and mobile picture sharing report lower levels of stress.
      2. At the same time, the data show there are circumstances under which the social use of digital technology increases awareness of stressful events in the lives of others. Especially for women, this greater awareness is tied to higher levels of stress and it has been called “the cost of caring.” Those users who feel more stress are those whose use of digital tech is tied to higher levels of awareness of stressful events in others’ lives. This finding about “the cost of caring” adds to the evidence that stress is contagious.

      Studies have shown that the widespread use of the internet and related digital technologies is not responsible for higher levels of psychological stress. Stress is not associated with the frequency of people’s technology use, or even how many friends users have on social media platforms. For women particularly, the use of some technologies is tied to lower stress.

        Reference:

          Tune in for part 3 next week – Wedding planning and stress levels.

          Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

            Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

            More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

            Take the Couple Checkup

            Take the Couple Checkup

            Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

            Take the Couple Checkup

            The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

            The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

            For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #strongerrelationships

            Alcohol is one of the main causes of conflict between partners

            According to research by travel agency ebookers.com, over a quarter (26%) of British women blame alcohol for any arguments they have with their partners while on holiday. While it’s important for couples to air their issues from time to time, arguing after drinking rarely leads to constructive problem solving.

            To try and stop these conflicts arising, here are a few tips:

            1. Talk about your problems when sober.
            2. Break the routine. If routine dictates that you and your partner get through a bottle of wine most evenings, why not break from it and cut back a little?
            3. Go for a walk, to the cinema or to the gym together.
            4. Eat while drinking. Food can slow down the rate your body absorbs alcohol.

            If you don’t want to cut alcohol out of your diet, make sure you drink responsibly and if a sensitive topic is discussed, agree to discuss it at a later time.

            More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

            Take the Couple Checkup

            Take the Couple Checkup

            Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

            Take the Couple Checkup

            The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

            The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

            For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

            More positive to negative is the key to marriage success

            Aim for greater than 5 times positive moments in your marriage to the negative. If as professor John Gottman suggests, marital satisfaction is linked to each partners’ physiological response to one another, then balancing positive and negative, 5 more positive moments to 1 negative, gives couples a guide on how to behave.

            When your relationship tends toward negative responses to one another such as stubbornness, withdrawal, contempt or defensiveness, consider the 5 plus times you need to express interest, show affection, or being appreciative or showing concern. Whilst there is some evidence that conflict may serve a positive function in marriage, too much negativity can be harmful. Think about a positive thing that you can do for your partner right now and act on it. Be intentional about your relationship.

            Adapted from Gottman, J. 2007: ‘Why marriages Succeed or Fail’; Bloomsbury, London.

            More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

            Go to: www.intentional-relationship.com

            How to Communicate Better with my Partner: Part III – The four marriage killers 

            John Gottman popular psychologist and Social  Scientist has worked with couples for over 40 years and based on his research he identifed communication styles that predict the end of a marriage relationship Termed the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and outlined in this blog last week, we need to watch out for the following 4 toxic signs of communication – Criticism, Contempt, Defensiveness and Stonewalling:

            Why?

            • 96% of the time, the way a conversation starts in the first 3 minutes, will dictate how it finishes
            • Contempt is the single biggest predictor of divorce
            • 5:1 Magic Ratio – positive to negative interactions
            • Good listening comes from good speaking

            The four marriage killers:

            1. Criticism: harsh comments, Attacking your partners personality or character; Put downs; Blaming; These examples make it personal rather then the issue
            2. Contempt: eye rolling, sighing, dismissiveness – what would you know; Intention to insult your partner; Name calling; Sarcasm; Negative body language – saying you are listening but pulling faces, looking in the other direction
            3. Defensiveness: Yes, but… You think you’ve been harshly done by… Places problem with partner; Yes but…. Obstructs communication – nothing gets resolved
            4. Stone Walling: 70% of men do this. Man cave. Don’t face the issue; Removal of self emotionally; Shutting down

             Now what: Daily Debrief

            • CONVERSATION #1 – DAILY DOWNLOAD
            • A) Speaker *Talk about a stress outside of your relationship
            • B) Listener: *Side with your partner and validate
            • NO FIXING ALLOWED!
            • SIDE WITH YOUR PARTNER NOT WITH THE ENEMY!.

            Homework 2: Affirmation

            • Concentrate on 5 to 1 Positive to Negative.
            • Say positive, encouraging things to each other daily.

              Need more information, email me now shane@intentional-relationship.com

              Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

              How to Communicate Better with my Partner: Part II

              There are many obstacles that distract us from what is important. My partner and I are serious about our marriage and although we want to have fun and enjoy what life has to offer, we know we need to take intentional effort to ensure we stay connected. Like you, we are a busy couple and we try (often unsuccessfully) to balance a full-time job, a business, volunteer work and our friends and family and time for ourselves – exercise etc.

              Like climbing Everest, it’s a tough climb that you are on or have ahead. Its hard work and there are many scattered bodies around us but not only is there a reward at the summit, there are gorgeous views all around. It’s a great journey, an important journey, not only for you but for the future generations.

              1. What is marriage enrichment?

              Today I want to give you an insight into marriage and to send a message about the importance of marriage enrichment.
              What is marriage enrichment: what are we trying to do and why?

              It’s a work of art: Picture of married life. It starts with our romantic notions, our vision, and our perception of how our marriage will be and then it takes on life. Art, done with commitment and dedication, it is perceived in different ways by all who look at it. It’s meant to last forever, so it needs nurturing and commitment. What does the real picture look like?

              2. Common misconceptions

              • We don’t need it
              • We are doing fine – we’ll wait for problems to arise
              • It’s a waste of time
              • We do not want others to know our business
              • Good marriages happen naturally – ”we’ll be ok”
              • There is no benefit of this to our marriage

              3. What happens during a typical marriage enrichment event?

              • Taking intentional time out to focus on your marriage
              • Becoming aware of where the ‘edges’ are between yourself and your partner
              • Identify the positive aspects of your marriage
              • Opportunity to re-discover each other
              • Learn skills in communication and ways to deal with conflict
              • Understanding how emotional intimacy can be increased in your marriage – important

              4. Research

              John Gottman popular psychologist and has worked with couples for over 40 years.

              • 96% of the time, the way a conversation starts in the first 3 minutes, will dictate how it finishes
              • Watch out for the 4 toxic signs of communication – Criticism / Contempt / Defensiveness / Stonewalling
              • Contempt is the single biggest predictor of divorce
              • 5:1 Magic Ratio – positive to negative interactions
              • Take 30 mins time out when overwhelmed or flooded
              • Good listening comes from good speaking

              Need more information, email me now shane@intentional-relationship.com

              Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

              How to Communicate Better with my Partner: Like Mt Everest, it’s a great journey, an important journey not only for you but for the future generations

              2013 marked 60 years since the first recorded ascent of Mount Everest. Named by the Royal Geographical Society in 1865 after Sir George Everest, in Tibet it is known as Chomolungma (Tibet, mother goddess of the universe) Its peak is 8,848ms. The international border between China (Tibet) and Nepal (South) runs across the precise summit point. Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, wind as well as significant objective hazards from avalanches.

              Mt Everest attracts many but >70% fail. 280 people (161 westerners and 87 Sherpas) have died on Everest from 1924 to 2016. More people have died on the South side, 140 than on the Tibet side, 108. Almost all are still on the mountain.*

              Marriage in Australia, did you know:

              • almost 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce
              • 1/3 separate in the first 5 years and many remain unhappy in marriage
              • almost 50% of all divorces involve children
              • 1 in 4 children saw their non-resident parent less than once a year or never.

              Marriage is not for everyone. But for those that seek successful marriage and a fulfilling family life in which to raise healthy and happy children, functional families are seen as the bedrock of successful societies. But whilst attempted by many, like attempting Everest – many fail.

              In 2015 there were 118,962 marriages down from 123,244 in 2011, with 72% being a first marriage and 28% a remarriage, with brides aged 29 and grooms 34, with 73% conducted by a marriage celebrant, with the remaining 27% by a religious organisation. The average length of marriage has increased from 10.7 years in 1993 to 12.1 years in 2015 with the median age of divorce females 42.9 and 47 for males however there is estimated to be 2/3 of marriages that are unhappy after 5 years. And remarriages do not fair any better, with a greater proportion more likely to divorce than those who had not been previously married. 

              In 2014 there >46 thousand divorces in Australia, with almost 22 thousand involving children under 18 years of age (or 47% of all divorces), with an average of 1.8 child per divorce. In 2013, almost 42 thousand children experienced the divorce of their parents.

              De facto partnering should not be excluded from discussion as many of the attributes and impact to society are prevalent in this cohort also. ABS stats suggest that 4 in 5 couples live together before marriage however research suggests that cohabitation is usually associated with lower levels of martial satisfaction and whilst two thirds of people are partnered, cohabiting has increased to 9.5% with those in married households 50%. One-parent households make up 16% of all households.

              31% of children aged 0-17 met with their separated parent on a daily/weekly basis whereas, 51% of children did not spend a single night with their non-resident parent and one in four children saw the parent they were not living with less than once a year or never. According to 2011 census data, almost 1 in 5 families were headed by a single parent.

              The burden on society. The impact on our children. The impact on government funding to support families in crisis is significant.

              In Kevin Andrews book ‘Maybe I do’, Kevin claims that >$3bn p.a. was spent on social security benefits associated with marriage dysfunction in the 1990’s. That figure is a lot larger today. An investment focussed on preventing marriage breakdown and developing relationship skills to assist with the success of your relationship is important, for you and your partner and society.

              If families are the building blocks of society, and children are our future generation, then let’s start treating our marriage like climbing Everest. In the early years of our marriage, reaching the summit seemed so easy but as the years pass, the summit appears further away. The climb gets steep at times and just like Everest, the failures are generally on the way down from the summit. Our relationship will go through ups and downs and like it or not, there will be obstacles in your way.

              Need more information, email me now.

              Tune in next week for more relationship tips @ Intentional-Relationship.com

              * Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr Maria Strydom, husband Rob Gropel and family and friends after it was reported that she died on May 23 whilst descending Mt Everest. Dutch mountaineer Eric Arnold was in the same climbing party also feel ill and died on the 20th of May.