Training for adult vitality and resilience starts in childhood. Keeping stress at bay successfully means learning to deal with life as it is.
So, chuck out the 'if only's', the 'oughts', as well as the blame game.
Learn to be comfortable with saying "No"
Over and over again I meet competent, strong women whose sense of duty has made pleasing others a way of life. No harm in that but, if it means being pushed out of your own life - then it's time to think again!
Saying "No" does not mean you've stopped liking the other. On the contrary, it can mean you hand them back their responsibility, you give them the opportunity to develop through experience. It may be a kind and respectful way to acknowledge that a friendship has grown past its 'sell by' date. There are infinite reasons to set your boundaries more clearly and simply say "No".
We all know the naked truth needs dressing up. On that note, I give you two thoughts to mull over:
1. Learn to defer your reaction by saying 'That's great. Let me get back to you on that." Dr Ned Hallowell is very hot on this approach to stress reduction.
2. Stop thinking you owe everyone an explanation! Too much information might even be a burden to the other. In Holland, where I come from, literal honesty is revered in every communication, and can thereby become a form of care-less-ness.
The British kindly taught me an invaluable lesson on how to artfully dress up the truth. By doing so you create more space in your own life.
Renée van der Vloodt ( M.A. , FHGI ) is a psychotherapist and coach – and has had a private practice for over 20 years, which is now based at the Elysian Centre in Rye, East Sussex.
Renée is the author of the CD Calm the Chaos of the Creative Mind and works with children and adults as a coach and therapist to help them overcome life's challenges and emotional difficulties including stress, burnout, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anger or addictive behaviour.