Reducing Stress

Reducing Stress

Can The Four Horsemen Affect Workplace Relationships, Too?

The answer is yes. Let's review what The Four Horsemen are: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. They are the four biggest predictors of divorce. This is based from The Gottmans research. They have done over four decades of research in working with couples. They have found that there is overlap into the workplace. They have also found that when couples stop using The Four Horsemen in their relationship and change how they communicate with one another, they will change how they communicate with people outside the relationship. Not only will they see their relationship change, they will see other relationships in their life change. Here are the antidotes to The Four Horsemen:

  1. Complain without blame. This means start the conversation gently. The Gottmans have found in their research that the way you start a conversation predicts how you will end a conversation. This also sets the tone for the conversation when the topic comes up again. This is a great time to use "I" statements: 'I feel left out, I'd like to talk about my day, as well." Instead of, 'You never listen to me.'
  2. Take responsibility for your behavior. Defensiveness is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood to ward of a perceived attack. It's easy to feel defensive when you have been criticized. The problem is,…

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How To Conquer Your Inner Dragon
"Always speak politely to an 
enraged dragon." Steven Brust

As a therapist, I hear it all the time. 'I just can't do this, or I'm just not good enough, etc.' It's easy to put yourself down. We all have an inner dialogue, it's natural. Unfortunately, many people use it to beat themselves up. This can really bring you down. It's true, we are what we think. Your thoughts will affect how you feel. Here are five tips to help conquer your inner dragon:

  1. Learn to relax. This is a great way to make your inner dragon go away. Take a yoga class or a meditation class. You can all listen to meditation on your iPod. Take a five- minute break during the day to clear your mind and do some deep breathing.
  2. Have a change of scenery. This sounds simple and it is. Go for a drive on a country road or visit a nearby town. Take a trip to the beach or a nearby lake. This will help mix things up and you won't feel overwhelmed in your own environment.
  3. Avoid negative people. When you're depressed it's not that uncommon to attract negative people into your life. Negative people can drag you further down. You want to be around positive people who will help build you up. This will help decrease depression and…

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5 Ways To Eliminate Stress AT Work


In today's society, we are faced with many stresses at the work place. Will the company that you're working at down size? There are many interruptions, which makes it difficult to focus. If you work in a cube, you may be tired of hearing the person next to you argue with their spouse on the phone. Sleep deprivation is at it's worst. 40% of adults say they lie awake at night worrying about work. Here are five tips to help eliminate stress at work:

  1. Take a deep breath. Sounds simple and it is. When people are stressed they either hold their breath or start breathing rapidly. Take a minute to notice which one you are. Take a five minute break and breath. Inhale to the count of five and exhale to the count of five. Deep breathing with restore balance and help you focus.
  2. Eat right and sleep well. Unhealthy foods will stress your system. Try not to eat a lot of sugar or processed foods. Make sure to eat a lot of protein and drink a lot of water. Sleep is important it is how you restore your body. If you have racing thoughts and can't fall asleep. Try to clear your mind and let the thoughts float away. Also, try to remember what you are thankful for rather that what you need…

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We've all been there. Slept through the alarm clock, car is low on fuel, forgot to pick up coffee, the baby won't stop crying, etc. Minor things can trigger bad days. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I have found it's best not to catastrophize. Don't let the small things ruin a perfectly good day. In our society it is easy to focus on the negative. All you have to do is watch the news. Here are five tips that can help you turn around a bad day:

  1. Start your day by stating five things you are grateful for. No matter how small or big they are. For example, be grateful for having sunshine. Remember, to keep in mind what you are grateful for throughout the day.
  2. Play with your pet. Not only is this good for you, this is also good for your pet. This will help relieve stress. Your pet loves you no matter what.
  3. Practice deep breathing. You can start your day with five minutes of deep breathing. You can also set aside five minutes during the day for deep breathing. This will also help clear your mind. A lot of people think they don't have time for this. But, in the long run it will help you be more productive.
  4. Go for a walk. Make sure to get outside and breathe in the fresh air. Leave your work behind, meaning don't bring your cell phone. Clear your mind, don't think about all the things you could be doing. It's important to get natural light throughout the day.
  5. Give and get a hug. We often overlook the importance of touch. Reach out to your partner, friend, or family member and share a quick hug. This will send positive energy through your body.
These are just a few ideas to help turn around a bad day. If you feel you are having more bad days than good days, then it may be time to try therapy. Life is short and it's meant to be enjoyed by everyone. For more help, please call me at (650) 892-0357.

Read more: How To Turn A Bad Day Into A Good Day

You Are What You Think


I went out to dinner with a couple of friends last night, and as we were chatting one of my friends made a comment that she needs to change the chatter in her head. She needs to stop putting herself down and telling herself that she is stupid and ugly. I immediately complimented her. She is a smart and attractive woman. She thinks this way because she is single. Now, is there any truth to what she is saying? I know plenty of smart and attractive single people. As a Therapist, it amazes me how many people tell themselves horrible things about themselves. People are often harder on themselves than they are on others. So, where does this all come from? It can come from conditioning that happened in the early years of our life. It can also come from comparing ourselves to others and believing we are never good enough. Here are three simple tips to change what you say to yourself:

  1. Stop trying to predict the future. Nobody can predict the future. People spend a lot of time trying to predict the future and they always expect the worst. If you are going to try to predict the future, then at least have a positive outcome. For example, if you have an important presentation predict it will go well because you spent…

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Lianne Avila, MFT
1510 Fashion Island Blvd.
Suite 110
San Mateo, CA 94404

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