In life’s challenging journey, family can be both a source of support and a potential minefield of stressors, so balancing the complexities of family dynamics while safeguarding mental health is a skill worth having. master penalty. It is imperative to face family challenges with strategies that not only preserve our mental health, but also strengthen our bonds.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Neelam Mishra, Senior Rehabilitation Psychologist and Consultant at LISSUN, outlined key practices to effectively manage family issues and foster a harmonious environment for mental well-being –
- Identify Sources of Strain: Start by identifying the people in your family who may be having a negative impact on your mental health. It is essential to recognize those who offer minimal support or create additional stress. Identifying the source of your distress is the first step to addressing it.
- Avoid stressful situations: When possible, remove yourself from situations, meetings or discussions that cause stress and anxiety. If a particular family event or topic brings you up consistently, it’s good to excuse yourself or set boundaries to protect your mental health.
- Conflict resolution: Learn healthy conflict resolution skills. This includes active listening, empathy and finding mutually acceptable solutions. Effective conflict resolution can lead to more harmonious family relationships.
- Prioritize self-care: Self-care is crucial to maintaining mental well-being. Engage in activities that help you relax and rejuvenate. Listen to relaxing music, have heart-to-heart conversations with loved ones, declutter your living space, and indulge in relaxing practices like taking a salt bath with scented candles.
- Read the edifying material: Cultivate the habit of reading, but choose content that inspires and relaxes you. Choose motivational books, fiction, or any literature that takes your mind off your family problems. Reading can be a powerful escape and source of mental respite.
- Stay connected with friends: Social support is invaluable. Make an effort to meet with friends at least once a week or stay connected through calls and messages. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with friends can provide a fresh perspective and emotional relief.
- Journal your thoughts: Consider keeping a journal to express your emotions, thoughts, and experiences. Journaling is a therapeutic way to process your feelings and gain clarity about your family challenges. It can also serve as a record of your progress
- Seeking professional help: Sometimes, family problems may require the assistance of a mental health professional or a family therapist. Don’t hesitate to seek help when needed. Therapy can provide valuable insights and strategies for navigating complex family dynamics.
Acknowledging that managing family issues and dealing with deteriorating mental health can be challenging, Dr. Himani Narula, Director of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Co-Founder of Children Continue, said: “Studies have shown that poor family environments, such as family conflict and lack of warmth and affection, can prevent people in the family from receiving emotional support, and also have difficulty expressing their emotions, which can cause mental health problems. Family stressors may differ in families, but the most frequently observed stressors include financial problems, child-parent problems, and marital discord.”
She highlighted, “In addition, mental illnesses can create stress due to the disruption they cause in normal functioning. If you have deterioration of mental health, it is crucial to reach a mental health professional, such as a developmental pediatrician, adolescent mental health expert, psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist. They can provide the necessary guidance, support, and treatment options tailored to your specific needs. Honest and open communication with the family and the therapist is essential when it comes to family problems.”
Dr. Himani Narula advised: “Expressing your feelings in the right way and listening to the perspectives of others with an open mind is essential. Establish healthy boundaries to protect your mental health. Clearly communicate your limits to members of family and be assertive when necessary. Prioritize self-care practices, such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and relaxation techniques such as mindfulness or meditation. Practice mindfulness techniques to manage stress and keep you grounded. Deep breathing exercises, meditation and yoga can help reduce anxiety and improve mental clarity.”
She added: “Organize your time effectively to balance family issues and self-care. Learn coping strategies from a mental health expert. If your mental health deteriorates to the point that medication is needed, consult a psychiatrist. Medication, when used in conjunction with therapy, can be an effective treatment for various mental health conditions. In the end, it is important to know that everyone’s situation is unique, do not hesitate to seek professional help when needed, as mental health issues and family conflicts can have serious consequences if left unresolved.
Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr. Austin Fernandes, psychiatrist at the hospital Dr. LH Hiranandani in Powai, Mumbai, said: “Life presents many challenges and among them, navigating family problems can be one of the most complex and demanding experiences. These challenges often have a negative impact on our health mental, leaving us feeling powerless and overwhelmed. It is very important to understand these challenges and implement strategies to make you face such family problems and priorities and safeguard your mental well-being.” He suggested –
- Open Communication: The key to resolving family conflicts is effective communication. Create a safe space where everyone can express their opinions and concerns that is safe and non-judgmental. Listen carefully to everyone’s suggestions and understand them deeply, encouraging harmony in the family by actively and sympathetically listening to each member.
- Set limits: For successful relationships and bonds, it is very important to have clear boundaries. Be firm while expressing your needs and limitations with others. This ensures that everyone’s thoughts and opinions are valued and acknowledged.
- Seek professional support: If family problems become too difficult to handle alone, consider seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor. Professional assistance can help provide valuable tools and coping processes to navigate difficult situations.
- Practice self-care: Prioritize your self-care first to support your mental well-being. Engage in joyful and relaxing activities such as exercise, meditation, reading, or time in nature. Taking care of yourself allows you to support your family and face challenges with strong mental strength.
- Avoid blame and judgment: Focus on the root causes of family conflicts, instead of blaming the game. Deal with conflicts in an empathetic manner and seek outcomes that are beneficial to all parties. Avoiding judgment can encourage a calmer atmosphere.
- Set Realistic Expectations: Always keep in mind that not all family conflicts can be resolved immediately. be patient with the process and set realistic expectations for your progress. Strong and healthy family ties and Rome were not built in a day.
- Look for positive outlets: Engage in positive activities to improve your life. Indulge in creative activities, socialize yourself, or pursue your hobbies. This approach really supports you emotionally and can be helpful for stress management.
- Know when to seek professional help: Do not hesitate to seek professional guidance if your mental health continues to deteriorate. Professionals such as therapists and counselors are equipped to provide the support and guidance you may need.
It involves effort, patience and self-compassion when maintaining a delicate balance between family issues and your mental health. You can overcome this by implementing open communication, setting boundaries, seeking support and practicing self-care, you can overcome these obstacles easily with grace and resilience. Always remember that asking for professional help is a sign of strength and bravery and your well-being is worth prioritizing.
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