Stress Relief Methods: Focus And Relationships

by Doc Orman, M.D.

In this third and final post for the week, we’re going to conclude our discussion on how focus is related to stress in our lives.  In my first post this week, we looked at some of the general linkages between focus and stress.  In the second post, we looked at Either/Or Thinking and how focus also comes into play when stress results from any one of the many varieties of this common way of thinking.   

Today, I want to zero in on the role that focus plays in the success—or failure—of our interpersonal relationships.  Much of the stress and conflicts we experience in our relationships with others ultimately can be traced to what we are focusing on—or what we are not focusing on. 

Are You Focused On Me, Me, Me…? 

Human relationships are interesting experiments in nature.  We often enter into relationships in order to achieve certain goals, such as being happy, creating a loving family, having good friends, creating a successful business, etc. In the early stages of these relationships, we set out with high hopes and positive expectations.  Then, lots of things tend to happen along the way, and before we know it, our relationships come crashing down in very painful and often disheartening ways. 

Well, it’s not really a mystery why our relationships end unhappily.  There’s a lot going on beneath the surface that we don’t typically see, until it’s much too late to reverse all the damage that’s been done.  One of the things we usually don’t see is: what, specifically, were we, or were we not, focused on? 

For example, if you are mainly focused on your own needs and desires in your relationships with others, the odds are good that you’re eventually going to fail.   Human relationships don’t work well this way, yet many people make the mistake of thinking that they will. 

A far better strategy for succeeding in your interpersonal relationships (of all types) is focusing instead on the needs, wants, and desires of the other people involved. Usually, when you authentically do this, the other people are so thankful that they will naturally seek to reciprocate.  And if they don’t, then maybe they don’t understand relationships very well and are not the best people to get involved with, in the first place. 

Blaming vs. Empowering and Forgiving 

Another thing to consider, with respect to your relationships, is when things go wrong, are you focused primarily on blaming or are you focused on empowering and forgiving other people (and sometimes yourself)?   

Here again, the choices you make, and what you tend to focus on, will have a lot to do with the overall quality of your relationships, and also their long-term success or failure. 

A Sure-Fire Way To Destroy Any Relationship That Matters To You 

If you think that focus has little to do with generating human stress, or even less to do with the success or failure of your interpersonal relationships, I have a suggestion for you.  Pick any relationship in your life, and spend the bulk of the next month focusing on being right as much as you can.  Then, notice what happens to the quality of this relationship…if it lasts through the entire month, that is. 

Focusing on being right (and thereby making your partner wrong) is a sure-fire way to destroy any relationship that matters to you.  Unfortunately, many people enter into relationships, and then for some strange reason, they automatically assume that being right is very important to them.  Even worse, they assume that pursuing this goal is not going to have any damaging effects on the other person, and hence on the future success of the relationship. 

This concludes our brief look, this week, on how focus can both lead to stress in our lives and also allow us to escape from it.  Next week, we’ll examine how the questions we ask ourselves can either add to, or diminish, the amount of problems and stress we experience.






{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Reina April 20, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Focus is related to stress in relationships when the focus is settled only on the person’s own desires. In any relationship, it is necessary to be giving and selfless. We enter into relationships not just to benefit ourselves but to contribute to the other person’s welfare as well. Good communication is always the key in keeping good relationships.


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