Living a Happier, More Balanced Life

By Gill Garratt

What you learn about applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the workplace is applicable in your personal life, too. You may find some peoples’ behaviour potentially infuriating among your friends and family as well.

Often it is harder to keep your cool in personal relationships, especially family, because there is always a level of familiarity that can blur the boundaries between being objective and allowing your subjective feelings to show.

As well as using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, here are some tricks to help you to stay calm.

  1. Silence is golden. Step away from the immediate potential confrontation. Allow yourself a breather. Just smile and nod.

  2. Remember, not only do you not have to have everyone’s approval, but you have a choice, too. You might just not like this person.

  3. Separate the person from their behaviour. You can still love someone but not like their immediate behaviour.

  4. On balance, give some time to weighing up if the unlikeable behaviours outweigh your preference to have them in your life.

  5. You can accept someone’s unlikeable behaviours, but you don’t have to like them. On balance you may decide they are a good person with whom you want to maintain a relationship.

  6. Be clear about your boundaries. Don’t feel pushed into making a comment or decision right there in the moment. Have a stock response handy, such as ‘That’s interesting, I’ll think about that’.

  7. Give people the benefit of the doubt, or at least pretend to, by saying ‘Oh, I guess you didn’t realise that this was the situation’, or ‘perhaps that wasn’t apparent when you made that decision’.

  8. Be aware that sometimes when you feel your buttons are being pushed, it may actually be a reflection of the things you don’t like in yourself. You may instinctively want to jump to the defensive stance as you feel a flash of emotion. Giving yourself time to be more self-aware is in your own best interest.