Tag Archives: relationships

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

            Incorporating Impact Therapy into Relationship Education: The RCFFC therapeutic map and depth chart

            The RCFFC therapeutic map  (Rapport, Contract, Focus, Funnel and Close) used in Impact Therapy can guide discussion and lead to directed and deeper discussion with couples in a relationship education and counseling context.

            As a transformative approach, Impact Therapy does not seek resolution of the immediate problem, but rather it seeks to empower the parties to define their own issues, to seek solutions on their own and mutual recognition of the parties.

            Adapted for use in relationship education, the RCFFC therapeutic map adopted by Jacobs and Schimmel contains the following elements:

            1. Rapport: Talking directly to the parties and establishing rapport is important and essential for relationship education and counseling. Building a relationship and explaining the process and philosophy of the session is critical, as well as allaying any fears or concerns of the parties. Connecting with the parties and understanding their world is the best way to build rapport;
            2. Contract: The contract is an implicit or explicit agreement between the relationship educator or counselor and the parties, absolutely necessary for productive relationship education and counseling;
            3. Focus: Bring clarity to a specific topic or issue that needs to be addressed is an example of focus, which is often bought about through the use of creative techniques;
            4. Funnel: Funneling the session is discussing an issue in such a way that there is some new level of understanding or insight;
            5. Close: Closing the session is important to ensure lasting effect. Taking notes and summarising what has been learned and potentially discussing possible tasks that the parties can do between appointments is important.
              (Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013, pp 9)

            Reference: Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013: Impact therapy.

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

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

            Incorporating Impact Therapy into Relationship Education, Counselling and Mediation

            Impact Therapy is a transformative approach that can be incorporated into relationship education and mediation, offering an action and insight orientation and a departure from the traditional facilitative model.

            Developed by Ed Jacobs and Christine Schimmel, Impact Therapy is an active, multisensory, concrete, theory driven approach that recognises that change comes from not only verbal, but also visual and kinaesthetic exchanges. It offers the relationship educator or mediator the potential to effect much deeper changes in people and their interpersonal relationships, to improve relationship education, counselling and mediator outcomes, using creative methods to help the parties learn, change and develop (Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013, pp 5).

            In practice: 

            The five T’s of Impact Therapy

            Theory, Timing, Teaching, Training and Thinking are key concepts of Impact Therapy.

            Impact Therapy is built on the premise that all sessions should be theory driven. Since Impact Therapy is an active form of therapy, the educator/counsellor/mediator has to always be aware of the timing of his/her strategies and techniques. There are times during facilitation when teaching and training are appropriate ways to have impact. Thinking plays a major part in Impact Therapy with regard to both the practitioner and the parties.

            Adapted for use in marriage and relationship education, Impact Therapy provides the educator/counsellor/mediator with ways to frame the interaction and to encourage the parties to be active, thinking, seeing and experiencing during each session, speeding up the process by introducing multisensory, motivational, and marketing and maps to the processes.

            Whilst firmly in the realm of transformative work and closely related to therapeutic counselling, Impact Therapy aims to help the parties to get to the core of the problem by cutting off unnecessary details, irrelevant stories and unfocussed discussion (Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013, pp 5). 

            Integrating concepts from Relational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), Transactional Analysis (TA), Gestalt, Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT) and Reality Therapy with creative techniques, the approach is action and insight oriented and can be explained in the following 4 M’s:

            • Multi-sensory: Using multisensory tools activates neurons in the brain which tend to make the mediation more effective, increases meaning attribution and easier recall at a later date. Multisensory tools include, props, butchers paper, chairs, mindfulness and experiential learning exercises.
            • Motivational: Working with the parties to increase their motivation is best achieved by focusing on the balance of desire/aspiration and challenge/fear that gets in the way.
            • Marketing: Creating relevance in our work to what the parties need, often leads to openness to change and an opportunity to do something different rather than a process that is a hassle or a boring experience.
            • Maps: Maps are tools that help mediators enable the parties to get to where they need to go. Along with the use of REBT, TA, Gestalt, RCT and Reality Therapy, the educator/counsellor/mediator uses Impact Therapy and the RCFFC therapeutic map (Rapport, Contract, Focus, Funnel and Close) and depth chart to guide the discussion.

            More on the RCFFC therapeutic map next week.

              Reference: Jacobs and Schimmel, 2013: Impact therapy.

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

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

              Taking time to seek and grant forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring your relationship: Seeking and Granting Forgiveness 

              All couples eventually experience times of conflict, hurt, and letting each other down. Sometimes the offense is as minor as forgetting a date or failing to run an errand. For some couples, the offense might involve a major betrayal such as infidelity, addiction, or abuse. Either way, taking time to seek and grant forgiveness can play a powerful role in healing and restoring the relationship.

              Forgiveness is the decision or choice to give up the right for vengeance, retribution, and negative thoughts toward an offender in order to be free from anger and resentment. This process promotes healing and restoration of inner peace, and it can allow reconciliation to take place in the relationship.

              It is important to be clear about what forgiveness is not. Forgiveness is not forgetting, condoning or perpetuating injustice. Since it is sometimes unsafe or impossible, forgiveness does not always involve reconciliation. Forgiveness is not always quick; it is a process that can take time to unfold. Don’t rush your partner if they need to spend days or weeks working through the process of granting forgiveness.

                Six Steps for Seeking Forgiveness:

                1. Admit what you did was wrong or hurtful.

                2. Try to understand/empathize with the pain you have caused.

                3. Take responsibility for your actions and make restitution if necessary.

                4. Assure your partner you will not do it again.

                5. Apologize and ask for forgiveness.

                6. Forgive yourself.

                Six Steps for Granting Forgiveness:

                1. Acknowledge your pain and anger. Allow yourself to feel disrespected.

                2. Be specific about your future expectations and limits.

                3. Give up your right to “get even,” but insist on being treated better in the future.

                4. Let go of blame, resentment, and negativity toward your partner.

                5. Communicate your act of forgiveness to your partner.

                6. Work toward reconciliation (when safe).

              More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com, tune in next week…

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              Material used with permission of PREPARE/ENRICH. For more information about PREPARE/ENRICH, contact us at: prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (02) 9520 4049

              PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

              Talk about it: Balancing I and we (Part IV)

              We all know a one couple that seems to do everything together. You know the one. They share every leisure activity, and rarely if ever, does one partner make plans that don’t involve the other. Maybe you see this in your best friend’s relationship, maybe in a relative’s relationship, or maybe in your own! 

              Maintaining a sense of emotional closeness with your partner is important; it is one of the major pillars of a healthy intimate relationship. That said, you can have too much of a good thing. 

              Dr. David Olson’s Circumplex Model research demonstrates that a healthy relationship requires a balance of togetherness and separateness. Closeness is important, but so is maintaining your own sense of identity and independence.

              Here are some tips for achieving an appropriate balance between “I” and “We”:

                Talk about it: In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of assertive communication. If you or your partner are feeling unbalanced in terms of your time spent together and apart, talk to each other about how you feel and what kinds of adjustments you’d like to try to make.

              Know that spending time apart does not mean you are decreasing the overall closeness in your relationship.

              When a strong emotional connection already exists, you and your partner are able to pursue your own separate interests and endeavours to help each of you grow individually, while still feeling supported by your partner and confident in your relationship.

              More tips at www.Intentional-Relationship.com
              Used with permission from PREPARE/ENRICH: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (02) 9520 4049

              PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

              Featured Image -- 1290

              Pick up an old hobby: Balancing I and we (Part III)

              We all know a one couple that seems to do everything together. You know the one. They share every leisure activity, and rarely if ever, does one partner make plans that don’t involve the other. Maybe you see this in your best friend’s relationship, maybe in a relative’s relationship, or maybe in your own!Maintaining a sense of emotional closeness with your partner is important; it is one of the major pillars of a healthy intimate relationship. That said, you can have too much of a good thing. 

              Dr. David Olson’s Circumplex Model research demonstrates that a healthy relationship requires a balance of togetherness and separateness. Closeness is important, but so is maintaining your own sense of identity and independence.

              Here are some tips for achieving an appropriate balance between “I” and “We”:

                Pick up an old hobby — or find a new one. Perhaps you used to be into crafting or photography or gardening, but life got busy, and you just can’t seem to find the time anymore. Make the time! You may have forgotten how much enjoyment or stress relief the activity provides you. Or discover a new hobby by taking a class, either alone or with friends.

              Know that spending time apart does not mean you are decreasing the overall closeness in your relationship.

              When a strong emotional connection already exists, you and your partner are able to pursue your own separate interests and endeavours to help each of you grow individually, while still feeling supported by your partner and confident in your relationship.

              More tips at www.Intentional-Relationship.com

              Used with permission from PREPARE/ENRICH: www.prepare-enrich.com.au or call us today (02) 9520 4049

              PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.