Picture depiction of stress and how we can deal with it.

Effective Communication: How it Can Help Reduce Stress

Communication is one approach through which we can take control of stress levels. Stress is a considerable obstacle we face from time to time. People may take stress positively and negatively. 

Positive stress is called ‘eustress’ while negative stress is called ‘distress’. For example, some people can work fast under stress while some can’t even function under stress.

One can never overcome stress or get rid of stress, but it can be reduced so that you can work with it healthily.

The link between communication and stress

Have you ever unintentionally or intentionally let out your anger on another person because you were stressed? Most of you must be thinking of times when you have hurt someone just because you didn’t know how to deal with that situation then. 

When you are stressed you feel frustrated, irritated and angry with the situation and everyone around you. This may lead to tension and chaos that you feel internally but let out externally. 

Communication can help you in such situations. Stress creates an internal turmoil that you keep battling within yourself. But when you communicate your feelings with another person you may feel lighter. 

Try this technique when you are stressed, go to your friend, family member or someone you are close to and talk to them about what stresses you.

You will realize that when you share your issues with someone you will automatically get an insight into the cause or root of your stress. You will also receive emotional support and your body will loosen up.

Benefits of effective communication to reduce stress

Clarity

Have you ever zoned out during a talk? OR Did you ever sit through a conversation that didn’t interest you?

I am sure this must have happened at least once in your life. If your message is not clear people will lose interest and then get distracted. 

Clarity is about how the speaker logically structures his thoughts and then conveys those thoughts using the right words.

So, clarity in communication helps you to grab the listener’s attention and engage them throughout your talk and conversation.

BARRIERS TO CLARITYWHY
MumblingThe sound of your speech is low and that leads the listener to strain their ears.
Speaking to fastWhen you speak fast, some words aren’t even heard and the listener is unable to comprehend your message.
Intricate messageUsing high-tech terms will confuse the audience. So, stick to the point and don’t complicate your message.

Problem-solving and decision making

All of us have to face problems, it can either be personal or professional problems. Effective communication sharpens you to deal with problems astutely. 

When put in a difficult situation, you will always have one tool to come out of it, effective communication. The ability to convince through communication will get you out of even the most complicated situations.

Decision making contributes to problem-solving. To solve a problem you need to make the right decision and a strong one. A wrong decision will only add to your problems. 

Negotiation

This picture depicts how effective communication builds the skill of negotiation.

Negotiation is a strategic discussion between two or more people which leads to a satisfactory conclusion. A person who is an effective communicator automatically becomes a good negotiator.

Negotiation is a skill that requires excellent communication, strong points, and persuasion. Using the right words at the right time works well in negotiation.

Clarity plays a small role in negotiation. The speaker must put forth his thoughts and what he expects from the other person. Being clear will keep no room for confusion.

To know more about negotiation and how to negotiate, check out our article,‘10 Reasons Why Negotiation Skills Are Important’.

How Communication can reduce stress:

These areas are the 3 most vital areas in a person’s life. And all of them demand their own set of expectations. When these expectations are not met, issues arise. These issues may stress the person.

1. In academics

Children like to keep to themselves and not communicate their feelings. Stress is a concept that children are more likely to dismiss because they may not recognize what stress exactly is. For them, it wouldn’t be a thing to give much importance to. 

Any stress related to academics is called academic stress. Academic stress includes:

  • completing journals on time
  • memorizing long answers/texts
  • assignment submissions
  • peer competition
  • class presentations
  • examinations 

Not only this, but students also have peer pressure which causes stress. For instance, pressure to live up to the standards of your peers to join the group, or getting bullied. These too are included in academic stress.

For example, Sam who is a student has a lot of pressure from his family to score well in his exams. Now instead of focusing on studying Sam will focus on how to get good grades to not disappoint his parents. His focus has shifted from studying to stressing.

This stress unknowingly can cause exhaustion, headaches and sleeping problems aka insomnia. Because of all this, there are high chances of him not giving his best in the exams which automatically creates another stressful situation that is being answerable to his parents.

 Basic stress management strategies

As students, we have multiple things to do in a day. So, if you have 3 lectures, 1 assignment and 1 test the next day, you may get confused and get stressed. 

What you can do is organize your work and time it. For example, take a total of 8 hours as your target for the entire day. So, 1 hour for each lecture is 3 hours. 2 hours for the assignment and 3 hours to study for the test. 

Now you can manage to complete all your work within the deadline and at your suited time. The benefit of organization and time management is that procrastination can be avoided.

Another way to deal with a stressful situation is self-talk. This is a tried and tested way to manage your emotions and encourage yourself. That one “you can do it” to yourself can work wonders. Self-talk can be considered as effective communication.

2. In business

Communication in business environment helps to reduce stress.

In business, stress is something that everyone has to face daily. Be it deals with companies, tasks from the boss, or even just attending a regular meeting. When stressed there are high possibilities of you misguiding your colleague or junior and vice versa.

Ineffective communication causes chances of mistakes. For example, if you are allotted a task and you haven’t understood the message, you may make a blunder and end up in the bad books of your boss.

Our article, ‘Ineffective Communication Explained: And How To Avoid It’ will inform you about the consequences of ineffective communication and how you can avoid it.

Basic stress management strategies

Having a communicative work relationship with your colleagues will contribute to stress reduction. For instance, in the morning greet your colleagues, make small talk, ask questions if required.

How will it help you? This will form a bond with the people you are working with and make it a friendly working space.

Suppose if you are the head or senior in the company, search for people you would confide in and share your responsibilities with them. This way you will stress less and be in a pleasant mood.

3. In relationships

Problems in relationships affect an individual emotionally. Let’s say, for example, you fight with your parents or friend, won’t you feel restless?

Until the fight is not resolved, you remain stressed, which harms all the other life factors, like work or studies. Effective communication is the golden key to healthy relationships while ineffective communication leads to misunderstandings. 

In a relationship, feelings play a crucial role. Communicate what you exactly feel to avoid disagreements. 

Be it anger or disappointment all these feelings must be communicated in the same manner as positive feelings like gratitude or happiness. Holding back these feelings will lead to conflicts and building stress.

Effective communication includes one more skill and that is, listening. By listening to a person you are lending comfort which indirectly contributes to reducing stress.

Basic stress management strategies

Find the cause of your stress, is it disagreements, miscommunication, daily conflicts or differences in opinion? Address these issues and discuss with the person how to work on them.

In the first example when you fight with your parents or friend, how would you resolve that fight? To resolve a fight you need to confront that person. To confront you need to talk.

When you effectively put forth your points the opposite person will understand your perspective and similarly when the opposite person will communicate effectively you will understand their perspective.

In this way, the doubts between both parties will be cleared and you can work on your relationship. Of course, it may not be as easy as it sounds and it may take time but what is a better alternative than effective communication?

4. Other Scenarios

Illness 

Take the current situation, Covid-19. The stress created by this pandemic caused a large number of deaths rather than the covid virus itself. 

Experts on stress management clearly stated that “Nearly 95% virus-infected people are getting cured anyway. The other 3% win over the virus with proper treatment and only 2% face chances of death due to weak immunity.”

The reason for stress is, due to the pandemic thousands of people lost their jobs and unemployment was one of the larger fears. Fall out in the economy and no financial aid created stressors within the people. Recent cases suggest that heart attack is a result of such stress.

In extreme cases, stress can lead to depression or suicide. In such conditions, professional help, rehabilitation and group therapy can help people deal with these intense stressful emotions. They make use of communication as a way to get an insight into the difficulty the person is facing.

Personal Events

Be it financial problems, buying a new house or a wedding in the family. All these events put the person under a lot of pressure to make the right decisions.

For example, while buying a house there are multiple factors that the person has to consider like legal procedures, furniture costing, change in routine, adapting to the new environment.

It gets difficult to handle so many things in addition to other responsibilities as well.

To make this easier and less stressful you can sit down and discuss with someone who is experienced and can give you constructive advice. Getting advice will add to less confusion and that will cause less stress.

Conclusion

Stress is something that is bound to take place no matter how much you try to make things right. The contrast between distress and eustress may have different effects.

On the one hand, distress will cause you problems but on the other hand, eustress will help you evolve as a person. All these problems are part of your learning.

Communicating these problems will make your life 10 times easier and trust me it works. If you don’t want to share the actual problem just sit and talk. Talking helps too.

Hrideep Barot is the founder and chief writer at Frantically Speaking, a portal to help people learn everything about public speaking. The purpose of franticallyspeaking.com is to showcase the lessons that he has learned (and still learning) from his numerous stage experiences and mentors over all these years.