Module 2 explores the first of the 3 Power Components of managing stress. Surprising research results reveal that this Power Component exceeds the value of the Foundational Components of the Stress Pyramid©—relaxation, exercise, healthy eating, organization and time management—for managing stress and keeping you well. In this module you will be exposed to this research and learn how to apply the Amigo Factor through a series of practical relationship principles to produce these amazing results in your own life.
Session 2.1: The Amigo Factor: Surprising Research Results
This session (2.1) considers some of the studies that transformed the way researchers now think about the relationship between social support and health. These studies will help you understand why the Amigo Factor is critical for successfully managing stress. In this session you will learn that the Amigo Factor can result in:
- Improved health.
- Greater longevity.
- More effective stress management.
Session 2.2: Treasure Your Close Friends
“The greatest medicine is a true friend” (Sir William Temple). Research shows, and experience verifies, that people who have even one close friend they can confide in have a valuable source of support in times of severe stress. This session (2.2) explores a model of relationships that:
- Suggests why a few close friends are more valuable than many casual relationships.
- Why the loss of a close friend can feel so threatening.
- A first step you can take to secure one of your greatest assets for managing stress.
Session 2.3: Caring Communication
"Communication conflicts can be a major source of stress . . . . Improving communication with the people around you is one of the simplest ways to reduce your stress and increase your enjoyment of life.” (Mary Ryan, founder of Speech Communication Specialists)
This session (2.3) identifies some of the vitally important communication skills needed to protect your close relationships, including:
- The stress-reducing benefits of saying what you mean.
- 5 steps to becoming an active listener.
- Why it is crucially important to pay attention to our own and others’ non-verbal communication via body language and voice intonation.
- The pitfalls of communicating via email and texting, and how to avoid them.
Session 2.4: The Good Samaritan Factor
This session (2.4) examines three relationship-building strategies that help manage stress through the Power Component of healthy relationships. It explores:
- How clarifying expectations can alleviate a lot of stress in relationships, and the 2 fundamental tasks involved in applying this relationship principle.
- The amazing health benefits of being a member of a social group.
- The powerful relationship-building principle that is found in every major world religion, revered in almost every civilization, and epitomizes the Good Samaritan Factor—the Golden Rule.
Session 2.5: Crucial Conflict Management Principles
Surveys identify “disagreements or conflict with loved ones” as topping the list of modern stress producers. Differences of opinion and personality variances are a part of life, but they do not have to result in stress-inducing struggles that take the toll they do on our physical and emotional health. This session (2.5) focuses on practical ways to deal healthfully with conflicts, including:
- The importance of dealing directly with your offender, at least to start with.
- How to use “I” messages instead of “You” messages for effective, judgment-free communication during a conflict.
- How the DESC model of communication provides a very useful and predictable model for communicating during difficult situations.
- How to communicate our needs in a relationship assertively without falling into the pitfalls of passive or aggressive communication.
Session 2.6: Relating Healthfully to Anger
Anger is a physiological, mental, emotional arousal that results in the Stress Response. Dr. William Lovallo from the University of Oklahoma reports that "the likelihood of a heart attack is about two times greater than usual in the 2 hours following an episode of anger." Resentment, hostility, and anger not only jeopardize our relationships – if left unchecked, these explosive emotions can also prove to be deadly.
Just as stress can be good or bad, so too anger can be expressed in ways that get beneficial or harmful results. This session (2.6) discusses practical ways to relate positively and healthfully to your anger, including the following:
- 5 common Anger triggers, and how to get a better handle on our personal triggers.
- 5 steps in anger progression that can occur if anger isn’t handled early on in a healthy way.
- Why the usual strategies for handling anger usually backfire into more anger, resentment and greater stress.
- The 6 best ways to relate healthfully to anger.
- How to work for a win-win solution to resolve any conflict.
Session 2.7: The Healing Power of Forgiveness
This session (2.7) continues the discussion of conflict management principles begun in session 2.5, with special emphasis on the healing power of forgiveness. Forgiving the wrongs against us is a crucially important skill to learn, because our only other recourse is revenge – an infinitely destructive emotion that eats away at our peace of mind and heart. Forgiveness, on the other hand, sets our hearts and minds free to move on from a painful past into a more productive and fulfilling life.
Based on the research and work of many others, complimented by Skip’s own 40 years’ experience as a Christian minister and counselor, this session (2.7) presents a simple and practical path to forgiveness, including:
- 5 stages of forgiveness.
- 5 steps in the healing stage of forgiveness.
- How to forgive the worst offenses, even when we feel completely unable to forgive.
- How to know when you’ve reached stage 5 in the healing process.
Session 2.8: The Parity Principle
This session (2.8) describes a very powerful and helpful principle to use in building your relationships. Understanding the Parity Principle© will help you recognize some of the underlying forces at play in many stressful relationship conflicts and will give you a remarkable amount of control over many conflict situations. In this session you will learn:
- What the Parity Principle© is and why it’s so important.
- The 6 most common parity disruptors in relationships.
- Why the most common responses that people take to try re-establish parity, fail miserably and usually result in even greater relationship stress and strain.
- The key to re-establishing parity, and to maintaining parity for good.
- How to apply the Parity Principle© to every relationship you have.