How to find common ground in your relationships when you have different political values

politics-relationships

Politics has always been somewhat taboo in society. While we discuss the pros and cons of different laws and events, no one ever stated how they voted, at least until the events of the past few years occurred.

Since different Prime Ministers and Presidents have been inaugurated, it has become increasingly clear that society is more divided than ever. Hot topics such as same sex marriage, women’s rights, border control, gun control and health care have risen to such prominence that relationships are breaking because we hold different values and adamantly fight for them.

It’s not bad to disagree with people, or to speak up for what be believe in (that’s the basis of a democratic society after all), but when these issues start to break families, romantic relationships, friendships and community groups, we need to address the rift they’re causing. Why? Because if we’re not careful, they’ll destroy the relationships we value most in life and cause us bitterness, anxiety and grief.

This is not a blog about changing your political values or even how you express them—rather, it’s about how to meet the people you love and value where they’re at, so you can learn from each other and find common ground.

It can all feel a bit overwhelming, so we’ve narrowed it down to five steps. This is how to find common ground in your relationships when you have different political values:

  1. Figure out your common values

Any relationship is built on common values.  Political differences may currently cause a rift in your relationship, but your commonalities can help you build a bridge to meet each other in the middle. Figure out what you both value and go from there: it could be family values, a healthy economy, faith, health care or justice.

Use this as a springboard to empathise with your loved one or colleague. When they say or do things you disagree with, remember the core values they hold and where these actions come from.

  1. Create a safe place

To sustain your relationship, you need to create a safe place (either literally or metaphorically) where you can do life together without politics. This might sound impossible, especially when your political values are so personal, but it will enable your relationship to grow instead of die in bitterness and contempt.

Meet together for coffee, or play a team sport together.  Do something you both enjoy, and make it a ‘politics free zone’. This doesn’t devalue your political stance or assume you defer to theirs, it just means you value the relationship above your need to win them over.

  1. Be honest

If you have a problem with what your friend or colleague is saying, let them know, but keep is positive and avoid passive aggressive social media posts or gossip. Be aware that they may not understand your point of view, and come to peace with this. Respect their right to have a different opinion to your own.

Some people will be open to having discussions about political differences, and this can create a life-giving environment where you both learn and grow from each other. However, if discussion turns into an argument or slander, you need to exit. This is not deferring to their point of view, but valuing your time and dignity because you know the conversation is fruitless.

  1. Avoid it

Let’s be clear, avoidance is rarely ever a healthy strategy, but occasionally it is needed after you have established a difference of opinion.

For instance, if a family dinner or holiday is coming around and you know a relative will be there who has some radical opinions, it’s probably best you don’t start a conversation about that week’s hot topic. Choose to keep the peace and retain the relationship over changing their mind.

Some people love to argue. They will provoke you and bait you with their words and snide remarks. Make a conscious decision not to enter their game. Change the topic and ask about the family or talk about something less contentious—like the weather.

  1. Be wise

It is possible to have healthy, thriving relationships with people who have different political values from you, even in an intimate relationship. However, there comes a point for many of us where these differences show a dramatic division in our values that prohibit us from getting any closer.

It might be a deal breaker in a romantic relationship, or influence the decision to keep a friend as an acquaintance rather than a confidant.

This is okay. Allow the grief process to happen, and be wise about the boundaries you have around that relationship. The closer someone is to you, the more important it is they have similar values to you. And when you do disagree, remember to have grace—we are all just people after all.

Are you experiencing division in a relationship due to your political values? Are political issues and their prominence causing you anxiety or feelings of intense anger? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Three Myths About Grief

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However you describe grief, it’s fair to say that it isn’t neat. We experience it when we lose a loved one or a family member, but there are also more ‘taboo’ forms of grief few people talk about: the loss of an unborn child, the loss of children, the loss of a relationship, the death of a pet, or estrangement in an important relationship—perhaps even from a parent you’ve never met.

Many of us have heard about the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. And these are all valid. You will wade through them as you remember what you’ve lost, and by taking the journey through them you will find healing. The deep ache will still be there, but the acceptance of what was lost won’t cloud your days as much.

Yet, we don’t all navigate grief that ‘easily’. In fact, none of us ever grieve in the cookie cutter mould of what is often described. This can leave us feeling like a failure months and years after a loss, and can make us depressed and feel perpetually numb and isolated.

This infographic by Happify disproves three common myths about grief.

  1. That grief happens in sequence.
  2. That the only way to work through grief is to express every negative emotion (even the ones that harm you, or the people around you).
  3. Women suffer more in grief.

Take a look at the infographic and learn more about what grief looks like in reality. Happify also include some tips for getting through the early, middle and late stages of grief.

Remember, your grief is valid whether your loss happened days, months or years ago. We hope that by breaking these myths and taboos you are reminded you aren’t alone in this process, and you can get through it.

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Are you grieving a loss? Do you know someone who is grieving a loss and you don’t know how to help them? Talking to a Counselling Professional about your experience in a safe and nurturing space may be the support you need to navigate your grief experience. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or press book now to book on the online diary.

10 quotes to help you on Valentine’s Day

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People either love or hate Valentine’s Day, but one thing is inevitable: we all have to get through it. So whether you are in a committed relationship, married, dating or are single, we want you to thrive on February 14.

That could mean taking your partner out, and making a commitment to spending quality time together more often. Or, it could mean spending the night with your friends and celebrating life and independence with them.

If you’re not sure how to feel about Valentine’s Day, then we’ve got you covered.  We’ve chosen 10 quotes that sum up the beauty of finding and maintaining love, as well what it means to truly love ourselves no matter what season of life we’re in.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Valentines Day infographic quotes

Are you concerned about your relationship with your significant other or spouse? Are you single and want to become your best self? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Ten steps to make a new place your home

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At some point or another, we all move away: to a new house, a new city, or if you’re like me, a new country. And while this transition may be more common for students who move away for their education, lots of adults find themselves in the middle of this scenario too.

When we uproot ourselves from our home, we face a whole new collection of challenges. Your social structure is mostly non-existent, your everyday routine has been tossed in the air, and simple questions like, “How do I get to the nearest Target?” can send you into a spiral of Google searches and awkward conversation starters.

We have to find our footing at our new place of employment (or find employment) and must learn to navigate a whole new culture. And to be honest, it’s difficult to establish yourself when no one knows you and you know nothing about them.

If this is you, then I’m right there too. The transition to a new home isn’t easy, but it is do-able. Here are ten steps I’m following while I try to make myself a home in a new city. 

  1. Find a place to belong

Before you make the move, identify a community you can build a life around. It could be new housemates, new work mates, a parents group, a church, a book club or a gym. This will centralise you and give you something to work towards straight away.

  1. Find mutual friends

It’s likely that a friend, colleague or loved one knows someone in your new city, or at least knows someone who has been there. Ask your mutual friend to connect you over Facebook or text, and see if you can meet up for coffee or go for a walk. In a perfect world, this would lead to a great friendship, but even if you don’t ‘click’, they’ll be able to give you great advice on how to set up your life there.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

The first few months in a new place are rough, purely because everything is so different. If you need help moving, finding a job, getting transport or finding directions, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask your new community (from step 1), a mutual friend (step 2), or even the city tourism office. If all else fails, talk to your family and friends back home.

  1. Go exploring

Take an afternoon to wander around your new neighbourhood and meet the people there. Find the local convenience store, the best coffee shop, and see what people do for fun. Once you’re settled in this, branch out and take public transport or drive downtown and to other suburbs locals suggest. Make this your city.

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail

Transition isn’t easy. There are some days you will feel accomplished, like you’re fitting in and the move was the best decision you ever made. Other days you will question why you came here and how you can keep going. It’s okay. In the moments when the negatives seem to outside the positives, take a breath and talk to someone from home. Give yourself permission to break routine and recharge, and then keep going.

  1. Be innovative

You have to think outside the box when you’re on your own. The ways and means you normally would have achieved things won’t always work here. So if you’re sick, lost or lack transport, get creative. Think about the ways other people handle these situations, and instead of calling home (which is now hundreds of miles away), look online. I once had medicine and lunch delivered to me through an app because I couldn’t get out of bed.

  1. Back yourself

No matter how you’re feeling or what self doubt comes your way, you’ve got this. You were strong enough to make this transition, and you can complete it. So be kind and gracious with yourself, and celebrate the wins. Every new day is a victory, as is every new social encounter, journey through the city and dinner invitation.

  1. Find a place that reminds you of home

Often the places we move to are completely foreign to us. The way things look, sound and smell are completely different to what we are familiar with, and it takes time to adjust. If you can, find a place in your new city that reminds you of home. It may be in the natural environment (for instance, by a beach or in a forest), or a coffee shop that smells familiar.

  1. Create a routine

Transition is difficult because you have moments of emptiness where you don’t know what to do. Begin to create a routine so your life has some kind of structure. Go to work, find a gym, commit to a community group, go to church, join a sports club or create a social night at home where you relax with housemates or your spouse. Plan these things out in a diary, and you will feel purposeful.

  1. Say ‘yes’

Did someone at work invite you out for drinks? Say yes. Did a friend suggest a local restaurant or movie theatre? Say yes. Did an acquaintance add you on Facebook? Say yes. You have nothing to lose in this new season. So short of taking care of yourself, don’t be afraid to say yes to new people and opportunities that come your way. You never know what will come out of them.

Have you moved away from home? Would you like to explore strategies and techniques to help you through this transition? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

The top anxiety blogs of 2018

top anxiety blogs

It’s a new year, and the Watersedge team have a reason to celebrate, because we were just named one of the top anxiety blogs of 2018 by Home Remedies for Life!

We are so privileged to stand along side other renowned wellness blogs like The Mighty, Blue Light Blue and Honest Mom. Whether you’re after a personal perspective on battling with anxiety, or a more clinical or educational approach, this list gives you a huge range of options that will help you feel less alone.

You can see the full list here. Thank you to our friends at Home Remedies for Life for adding us to the list. We are so excited to share our new content with you in 2018!

Do you experience anxiety? Would you like to explore strategies and techniques to overcome it in your life? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

 

10 natural ways to overcome anxiety

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An estimated 1 in 10 Australians and 1 in 6 Americans are taking antidepressants, but research shows that while these professional prescribed medications can be beneficial for many people, it can also have potentially nasty side effects. These include tremors, headaches, indigestion, vomiting and even insomnia. The good news is that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can try these healthy alternatives.

Good natural ways to overcome anxiety are to eat certain foods that boost your mood and take up activities that calm your mind.

Examples for stress reducing foods are fish and walnuts, which contain Omega-3 for healthy brain cells. Turmeric is a great spice, which works as well as the popular drug Prozac and can be consumed in any amount. Another popular choice is the St. Johns Wort herb, which has been used as a natural antidepressant since the Renaissance.

Activities include exercising, meditation and certain breathing techniques are also great natural cures for anxiety. Working up a sweat for just 30 minutes three times a week will make a big difference in mood and stress levels.

And doing it outside provides even more benefits because the sun recharges your Vitamin D deposit, which has a big effect on your mood. Mindful meditation helps you find peace with your inner self.

If you’ve tried medication and are unhappy with the results, * or you are looking for a natural alterative, start by eating well and having an active lifestyle. This has a huge impact on your journey to an anxiety-free life. 

10-natural-ways-to-overcome-anxiety

Are you interested in the natural ways you can manage anxiety? Would you like support before you head to your doctor to talk about anti-depressant medication? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

*Speak to your doctor or a medical professional before making any changes to your prescribed medication. If you are experiencing any physical or mental symptoms that concern you after choosing natural remedies, speak to your doctor immediately.

Rene is a writer for homeremediesforlife blog where he investigates ways to battle anxiety, depression and stress without the use of drugs. You can read his article about the most powerful natural antidepressants here: Home Remedies for Anxiety

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How to identify Domestic Abuse

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Have you ever wondered if your significant other is abusing you? Maybe they push you, lash out violently or pressure you to take part in unwanted sexual activity. Or perhaps you are unsettled by their passive-aggressive behaviour: they way they monitor your financials, your phone, or keep you from seeing other people.

When we’re in an abusive relationship, it is easy to excuse these actions as ‘normal’. Maybe your partner even makes you feel like these incidences are your fault, and this is what a standard, committed relationship looks like. Perhaps you’ve found every excuse possible for your spouse, because they promise they will change and you love them.

This infographic by NowSourcing and FreeDating.co.uk lays out exactly what Domestic Abuse is. Aside from detailing the stats that show how prevalent this is in households across America and the world, it also pin points the different types of Domestic Abuse you may encounter.

These include emotional and psychological abuse; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse and digital abuse. Take a look at the infographic and see if you recognise any of these traits in your relationship.

Are you concerned about the way your significant other is treating you and/or your children? Are you afraid for your safety, or are you scared to come home? PLEASE ask for help. This is not reflective of a normal, healthy relationship and you are worthy of feeling safe and secure.

In Australia, please call 1800-RESPECT, or 000 to access help immediately.

domestic-abuse

 

Are you concerned your significant other may be abusing you? Would you like support as you navigate the best way to move forward in your relationship? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

How to deal with stress in everyday life

Stress influences everybody. Regardless of your age, sexual orientation or identity, we all know how stress feels. A great number of people choose to overlook the worry in their life since they think it simply comes from the pressure of their surroundings and they should ‘toughen up’ and ‘get over it’. However, when stress is ignored, it can influence our lives significantly.

Stress can be positive and negative. Positive pressure will influence you to work when you don't feel like it and you will accomplish your objectives. Yet negative pressure will put an enormous STOP sign on your cerebrum and you won’t move forward.

This negative pressure will influence you to feel apprehensive and stressed, and it will estrange you from everybody. That is often the manner by which negative pressure influences your life—it begins positively, yet when the anxiety rises it develops into an awful expectation that pulls you down.

When we battle pressure, we must do it consistently. Discover an interest, schedule time or create a routine that will allow you to unwind consistently. This can include swimming, bicycle riding, going out for a stroll, perusing a book, and hanging out with your companions or family over a foosball table or other entertainment.

Create a routine and stick to it. When individuals have a strong routine in their life, they feel relaxed because it gives them the sentiment of control. You will realise that, regardless of what is going on in your life, you will unwind with that movement.

Bear in mind to put yourself first and let the pressure leave your body since it will enhance your life all around. As life goes on and stress comes your way, you will be able to better comprehend and oversee it. Remember—keep in mind to unwind!

How to deal with stress in everyday life

 

Do you feel stressed? Would you like support as you look for ways to relax and live a balanced life? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

Mark Čop is a blogger who made this infographic about pressure since he sees the significance of managing worry in regular day-to-day existence. His most loved stressor is his blog about foosball, on the grounds that he is dependent on foosball and trusts that it is definitive against stretch treatment. You can read more about his treatment on his blog called the Foosball Zone

Five ways to keep your New Year’s Resolution

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A new year is a fresh start, and most of us go into it with a list of hopes, goals and plans. So have you come up with your New Year’s Resolution yet?

It may be repairing a broken relationship, bettering your physical or mental health, or getting a promotion at work. Whatever your goal for 2018 is, it will require commitment to achieve it. Because, if we’re honest, most of us fall short towards the end of January and our resolutions are long forgotten by June.

Here are five ways you can ensure you keep your New Year’s Resolution into January and beyond.

  1. Write it down

It’s simple, but once you write down your resolution it becomes permanent. Stick it on your bathroom mirror or write it in your diary so every day you’re reminded of your goal. This will keep you motivated and accountable.

  1. Get an accountability partner

Tell a friend or family member about your resolution, and have them check in about it once every few weeks. If your goal can be achieved with a partner (for instance, by going to the gym together), then choose to pursue it with their help.  This will keep you motivated on the days when it all feels too much.

  1. Set achievable goals

Take your resolution and divide it into 12 monthly goals. This isn’t just useful for health related goals—if your resolution is to restore your marriage then a goal may be attending counselling, going out for a date every week or surprising your partner with a gift.

  1. Reward yourself

Each time you meet a goal on the way to achieving your resolution, reward yourself. By yourself a gift, go for a long walk, or have a weekend getaway. Celebrate the ‘small’ things because you’ve worked hard to reach them and this will keep up your momentum through the year.

  1. Forgive yourself

Most of us throw our resolutions in the can when we fail them early on. We binge on unhealthy food, are fearful of the extensive inner work we need to do, or give up on a relationship all together.

Make your resolution with the knowledge that you will make mistakes. There will be days you don’t meet your goal—and that’s ok. What’s important is that you forgive yourself, pick up the reins and start again. The journey to your resolution doesn’t have to be perfect; you just need to get there. 

Do you want to start again in the New Year? Would you like support to achieve your New Year’s Resolution? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.

10 conversation starters for awkward holiday parties

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December is prime time for awkward conversations. There are work break ups, and family reunions, catch-ups with friends and community gatherings—all which require a certain amount of social prowess.

As someone with social anxiety, these events exhaust me. Having to navigate awkward questions about my relationship status and side step political banter means I don’t have a lot to give when it comes to starting conversations.

Come January 1, lots of us feel this way. So to help you along the way, we’ve come up with 10 great conversation starters for you. Pull one out next time you’re standing next to an introvert or when your second cousin once removed is seated next to you on Christmas Day.

All going well, this will create a conversation deep enough to go beyond weather talk, but light enough to avoid the unmentionables—politics, religion and having kids.

  1. What do you do with yourself when you’re not working?

This is a fail-safe way to find out about a person’s general interests. Maybe they’ve just started Cross Fit, are taking the kids to basketball practice, or belong to a religious community. You may even have something in common!

  1. What are your plans for the New Year?

This general open-ended question gives the other person permission to talk about whatever they want—holidays, new goals in the work place, their hope to start a family, or their plans to travel.

  1. Have you seen any good movies lately?

Short of having someone say, “I’m not really a movie person,” this is bound to start a conversation about the definitive ranking of Star Wars movies, great rom-coms, historical masterpieces or your favourite superhero. 

  1. Tell me about your work.

Some people can go on about their work for ages, so this opens up a lengthy conversation that will also identify what their vocation is and how they entered the industry. Steer clear of this if you’ve heard someone is searching for work or has been unable to go due to health reasons. If they’re searching, just say, “Oh, great! What are you looking for?”

  1. Do you have any animals?

Because who DOESN’T want to talk about their fur babies, and want to show strangers the collection of adorable photos they have of them on their phone?

  1. What are your kids interested in?

Obviously this is only useful if you’re speaking to a parent, but children are a great talking point—especially if you’re a relative. You’ll hear about their school work, their extra curricular activities, their health and their favourite TV show. Some parents will be more comfortable talking about their kids than themselves!

  1. Did you see [insert name of TV show/movie here]?

If you’re talking to someone in a similar age bracket, there’s a good chance they at least know about the TV shows and movies you’re into. If not, choose a generic movie or TV event few people miss—like Carols in the Domain, the New Years Countdown or a long-awaited miniseries about an iconic person. 

  1. What are you reading/watching at the moment?

The perfect question for avid readers or Netflix fans—this gives people the opportunity to talk about what they love and why. You’re giving them an outlet for their obsession. Trust me, they love it.

  1. Take a look at this video!

Find a hilarious video on Facebook and share it with your long-suffering compatriot. Animal videos are always worthwhile, although you can find some holiday-themed gems as well.

  1. What surprised you about this year?

This is an out of the box question that is sure to get the wheels turning in their head. While they’re considering their answer, come up with your own. This will lengthen the conversation and give you a chance to really get to know someone else.

Do you feel anxiety around the holiday season? Would you like support as you navigate difficult relationships or awkward conversations? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book on our online diary.