How to Stay Emotionally Balanced – The Caring Generation®
The Caring Generation® – Episode 56 September 16, 2020. On this caregiving radio program, Pamela D Wilson, caregiving expert shares tips for How to Stay Emotionally Balanced when responding to problem people and managing people problems at home at work. Guest Dr. Pelin Kesebir from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin shares information about managing emotional styles that affect health and relationships.
To listen to the caregiving radio show, click on the round yellow play button below. To download the show so that you can listen anywhere and share it with family, friends, and groups, click on the button (the fourth black button from the left) below that looks like a down arrow. Click the heart to go to Pamela’s Spreaker podcast page to like and follow the show. You can also add the podcast app to your cellphone on Apple, Google, and other favorite podcast sites.
How to Stay Emotionally Balanced
00:04 Announcer: Caregiving can sometimes feel like an impossible struggle. Caregivers may be torn between taking care of loved ones and trying to maintain balance in life. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. The Caring Generation with host Pamela D. Wilson is here to focus on the conversation of caring. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re in exactly the right place to share stories and learn tips and resources to help you and your loved ones. So now, please welcome the host of The Caring Generation, Pamela D. Wilson.
00:39 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host on The Caring Generation radio program, coming to you live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. The Caring Generation focuses on conversations about health, well-being, caring for ourselves and loved ones, all tied together with humor and laughter that are essential to being a caregiver. The topic for this caregiving radio program is how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with people problems in your personal life and work life. Are there people in your life you find to be difficult people? This could be the person you care for, mom, dad, husband, wife, sister, brother, or even grandparents. Are there difficult people at work? Managers, co-workers, or people you supervise that stress you out? How do you manage these people problems in your day-to-day relationships? How well do you manage conflict within the relationships? During this radio program for caregivers and aging adults, I’ll share 10 tips for how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with people problems that you can apply to all areas of your life.
01:53 Pamela D. Wilson: The special guest for the health and wellness segment of this program is Dr. Pelin Kesebir, who received her doctoral degree in Social Psychology and Personality Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009. She is a scientist at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In line with the Center’s mission of cultivating well-being and relieving suffering through a scientific understanding of the mind, Dr. Kesebir studies happiness and character strengths, and the different ways in which we can cultivate well-being. She shares information about managing emotional styles that affect health and relationships on today’s show. Dr. Kesebir is originally from Istanbul, Turkey. Let’s begin the conversation about how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with problem people and situations. Do you ever feel like you’re that volcano about to blow? How about being in a pressure cooker that is about to explode? How many of you remember the old-fashioned cast-iron pressure cookers with lids that would literally blow off if they weren’t locked down? Those things are dangerous. My mom actually had one.
03:06 Pamela D. Wilson: We all know if we’re a caregiver, that it’s emotional. Caregivers worry about the people that we care for. We work with the healthcare system, doctors, insurance companies, pharmacies, home healthcare companies, hospitals, nurses, nursing homes, care communities. You name it, we work with them. It’s no wonder that we as caregivers feel so out of control and can be really emotionally distraught at times. Add to these frustrations, trying to get help from family members, brothers, sisters, and others that can feel like talking to a brick wall. You probably all know how that feels. There are ways to learn how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with a long list of caregiving and people problems. Dealing with people problems and trying to manage caregiver struggles can challenge our self-esteem, our self-confidence, and courage, which all of these are beneficial factors for how to stay emotionally balanced and successfully manage conflict when we are trying to learn how to stay emotionally balanced. Imagine this, what if we had a surge protector in our brain that took over to calm us down the minute our temper started to rise. Wouldn’t that be a dream? The tips I’m about to share will help you increase your ability to stop, think, and reflect instead of responding immediately in a way that doesn’t create any positive path forward.
04:31 Pamela D. Wilson: If we’re honest, we have all been in tricky situations where our emotions took over, and our actions complicated a situation instead of making it better. We’re here to talk about different ways to respond to problem people. On this subject, tip number one for how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with people problems is to look at ourselves. Is the other person the problem, or is my—our behavior the problem? Surprise, our responses contribute to the issue. If we want people problems to change, there may be some behaviors that we want to examine in ourselves because people problems, they go both ways. As caregivers, we’re more empathetic than most people. Having more empathy means that we might be more emotionally affected, and we might be more defensive. You might find it more difficult to stay emotionally balanced when other people pull you into their drama, their crazy lives. Holding your feelings inside, allowing them to consume your thoughts to the point of feeling negative, angry, or depressed, that is not good for you. As we look at how we might contribute to relationship issues with people problems, consider this. While you may be involved in the life situation of others, you don’t have to take on the emotional burden of their problems.
05:47 Pamela D. Wilson: Here’s a couple of examples. Your parent has cancer. Is cancer an emotional and worrisome subject? Yes. Do you have cancer? No. The next step is, what will you do to take care of yourself so that you can take care of mom or dad who is diagnosed with cancer? A workplace example. A co-worker is going through a divorce. Can you be empathetic? Yes. Do you have to worry and become emotionally invested and upset about your co-worker and how he or she will manage? Absolutely not. You can be supportive about work projects. You don’t have to be the ear for discussion about his or her divorce. That is for a professional counselor. Counseling is not your place. Tip two for how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with problem people is not to take situations personally.
06:35 Pamela D. Wilson: Easier said than done. When mom, dad, or a spouse who doesn’t feel well is yelling at you for doing or not doing something right, or when a co-worker criticizes your work—your responses in these situations are actually a reflection of you. What does that mean? Learning how to stay emotionally balanced offers the opportunity to understand our responses to other people by looking at how we react. If you think about it, really think about it, the traits or behaviors we dislike in others are traits and behaviors we dislike in ourselves—or behaviors that we want to avoid. What do you dislike or criticize in others? What do you judge in others? This action of judging, blaming, or criticizing others, these feelings usually arise when we have an issue from our past that we haven’t solved. We have to ask ourselves, “Do we act like people who annoy us and who push our buttons?” For example, if you dislike controlling people, you may have some controlling tendencies. Your parents may have been overly controlling when you were growing up. When the behavior of another person triggers you, ask yourself, “Do you behave like this person today or in the past? What is the situation teaching you?” When you learn from relationships, you can observe negative behaviors. You can avoid judgment and being pulled into drama. This thinking opens the door for how to become emotionally balanced when dealing with people problems.
08:05 Pamela D. Wilson: I have a lot of caregivers that tell me that their family members criticize them. Think about this. Are those family members criticizing you because of things that they feel bad about? Are they not helping your mom and dad? Are they not doing their job? And are they projecting all of that on to you? Many of these issues or situations—they are like a mirror. It’s a mirror image of ourself on the other side that is criticizing us, and we don’t have to accept that criticism if we know that we’re doing a good job. We can choose to remain calm. We are going to be going off to a break in just a minute. Ten tips for caregivers and aging adults on a wide variety of topics are in The Caring Generation Library and the Caring for Aging Parents blog on my website at www.PamelaDWilson.com. You could also check out my Facebook group, it is for caregivers, it’s called The Caregiving Trap. There are a lot of wonderful caregivers in there from all over the world who join to share their stories, ask questions, and help other caregivers. A lot of really experienced caregivers who are very positive. I’m Pamela D. Wilson on The Caring Generation radio show, live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Up next, Dr. Pelin Kesebir from the Center for Healthy Minds on the subject of becoming emotionally balanced and learning about our emotions. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
12:00 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, I’m your host. This is The Caring Generation radio show for caregivers, live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Joining us is Dr. Pelin Kesebir from the Center for Healthy Minds. Dr. Kesebir, thank you for joining us.
12:16 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Thank you very much for having me.
12:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Your work at the Center for Healthy Minds focuses on emotional styles. How do emotions impact well-being?
12:27 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Well, emotions. They play a central role in our lives and they have an inordinate effect on our well-being. The frequency with which we experience certain emotions and the way we experience them, they not only impact our psychological well-being, but also our social well-being and also even our physical well-being and our longevity. To start with psychological well-being, without a doubt, the relative frequency with which we experience positive emotions, positive emotions such as joy or love, or gratitude or interest, all of these are a hallmark of psychological health. On the other side, if we experience negative emotions too frequently, that definitely means lower psychological health.
13:23 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: And not only our personal mental well-being, but also our social well-being and the quality of our relationship is very much related to our emotional lives. If we experience other related, other-focused positive emotions frequently, emotions such as compassion or, again, love, this translates into better relationships. And our physical well-being, so there is such a large amoun of research showing that people who experience positive emotions more frequently, they also tend to have stronger immune systems and they live even longer and research suggests that there might be a causal effect. There is not only a correlation, but also a causal effect of the experience of positive emotions on well-being.
14:21 Pamela D. Wilson: And the Center for Healthy Minds, your website has a questionnaire that anybody can take to learn about their emotions. How might that questionnaire help somebody who has emotions that are up and down?
14:33 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Yes. So this questionnaire is based on the research of Professor Richard Davidson, who is also the founder and the director of our center, The Center for Healthy Minds. And Dr. Davidson, in his book The Emotional Life of Your Brain, he has come up with six dimensions that make up a person’s emotional life or emotional style, and these six dimensions, they are based on neuroscientific studies of emotion. These six dimensions, they can be traced to structures and processes in the brain. And what are these dimensions? For example, one of them is resilience. Which is how quickly you bounce back from negative emotions. And there are other dimensions too. And if people take this questionnaire, what they will get is they will get to see how they score on these six different dimensions and what this can help is, it can give us more insight into our emotional lives, and it can tell us if there is room for improvement in certain areas. And it can also just make us notice things about our emotional lives or about the different things that drive our emotional lives that we weren’t aware of. And as you said, it’s free, anybody can take it so I would encourage people to take it.
16:10 Pamela D. Wilson: And can you give the website for the Center for Healthy Minds? What is that?
16:14 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Absolutely, it’s Center for Healthy Minds. If your readers, so if your audience, if they Google “Center for Healthy Minds emotional style questionnaire,” they would get it immediately.
16:30 Pamela D. Wilson: Perfect. What drives a person’s emotional makeup?
16:35 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Okay, good question. Well, there’s a lot of things, like it’s a macro level. We do know that heritable factors or genetic influences, they do play a role, right. And this is not surprising because we know from studies on child’s temperament or adults personality, that emotion relevant traits, they do have a genetic component. We do observe that even with children like with infants, babies, some of them, for example are, they predominantly experience positive moods. There are happy babies and some of them are less, so they are a bit may be more fussy and they might be more difficult to soothe, for example. So there is definitely this genetic heritable component, but absolutely environmental factors also play a role. For example, if a person is raised in some adverse circumstances, let’s say, if they experience abuse in the family environment, if they witness, say, domestic abuse, or if they experience trauma, especially at an early age, all of these might influence the wiring of our emotional makeup. So these are most niche factors that are not under our control, but there are also factors about our emotional lives that are under our control. So there are things that we can do to cultivate a better, a more positive emotional life. And this is something worthy of doing just because of the relevance of our emotional lives to our well-being, as we just mentioned.
18:32 Pamela D. Wilson: And we are going to head out to a break in about a minute, but I want to start a question before that. So a lot of caregivers feel overwhelmed/ How does the way that we look at things, our outlook effect positive or negative emotions?
18:44 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Yes, this is so important to our well-being, the way we look at the things that happen to us. The way we perceive them. We do know that people who score higher on well-being, who are happier, they have this quality called positivity. They look at things from a much more positive stance.
19:08 Pamela D. Wilson: And doctor, we are going to head out to a break and we will finish this question right after that. This is Pamela D. Wilson on The Caring Generation, you’re with me live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
21:52 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson caregiving expert, I’m your host for The Caring Generation on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. We’re back to continue our conversation with Dr. Pelin Kesebir, from the Center for Healthy Minds. Doctor, if you could finish your thought on how outlook affects our emotions that we were talking about before the break?
22:12 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Absolutely. Well, research shows that oftentimes our well-being is determined more by our emotional responses to what happens rather than what is actually happening. Two people can experience exactly the same event. Yet their reactions, their responses to this event might differ dramatically, and these responses determine our well-being level. We do know that people who are higher on well-being, they have this quality called the positive outlook. They have the ability to sustain positive emotions, and this also translates into a positive, optimistic outlook in life. So, even when bad things happen, they can find the silver lining or they can just interpret negative events from a slightly more positive, more charitable perspective, which helps them. And this also helps them to bounce back from negative experiences faster. And it is a quality that can be cultivated intentionally. For example, we can just try to find joy in mundane things, or we can practice gratitude, so that we can train our brains to look for the good and to savor the good things in our life rather than constantly scanning the environment for threats and negative things, which is what our brains are often times wired to do.
24:00 Pamela D. Wilson: And let’s talk about self-awareness. How does that help us manage emotions?
24:07 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Well, self-awareness is another important quality of our emotional makeup. Self-awareness is about how attuned we are to our own internal state. So, somebody who is high in self-awareness, they are good at recognizing and interpreting their emotions, their thoughts. They are, in a way, connected. They are connected to themselves, to their bodily signals, but also to their emotional signals. People who are low on self-awareness on the other hand, they have an inner self that is less transparent to their consciousness. So, in a way, they have less insight into their own emotional life. And also into the reasons to why they act and react in the ways they do.
25:05 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Now, this quality is important for our well-being. Because if we do not have self-awareness, then it becomes very difficult to regulate ourselves, to regulate our emotions. Let’s say you are somebody who gets irritable, highly irritable, when you are sleep deprived. And actually, almost all of us are like that. If you know that, and also if you have a high self-awareness, then let’s say you had one night with poor sleep and then the next morning you are getting irritated at something that your husband tells you. But somebody who is high in self-awareness, of course they would notice that they are getting irritated, they are getting annoyed. So, as these emotions are rising, they would notice those emotions, right?
26:07 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: And also, because they have more insight into their own psychological processes, they might also say to themselves, “Well, I had really poor sleep, so maybe it’s not about my spouse and what he or she says, and it’s rather about me.” And then they might just let it go. That’s emotional regulation. And that would really help. Not only our social relationships, but it would also be beneficial to our own psychological well-being. When our self-awareness is low, it’s almost like we are strangers to ourselves, and that’s not helpful for our well-being.
26:53 Pamela D. Wilson: There is a quote on the Healthy Minds website from Richard Davidson that says, “I envision a day when mental exercise will be as much a part of our daily lives as physical exercise and personal hygiene.” Why is mental exercise so important?
27:09 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Yes, I think it’s a great quote. Well, well-being is important, and it is a skill that can be learned. But the only way to learn it is to engage in exercises. So, what do I mean when I say well-being is a skill? Well, just like playing the piano or learning a foreign language, all of us are born at different talent levels. But if we put our mind to it and if we practice, we can improve our skill. And well-being is like that. Some of us are more prone to experiencing it. Some of us less. But if we learn the ways in which we can cultivate our well-being and practice it, we will get better. It will make a difference.
28:01 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: But what makes all the difference in cultivating a skill is exercise and practice. We just need to keep doing it if we want to cultivate well-being. Small practices such as, for example, gratitude or practicing gratitude or practicing mindfulness, which is very much related to self-awareness that we just thought about. All of these things. If we do these things, we will be cultivating our well-being skill. And this skill, if we cultivate it, it does not only feel good, it’s not only just a nice thing to have, but it also makes the world a better place. Happy people are also better citizens. They are more compassionate. So, we all want these things, and mental exercise is one of the most effective ways of cultivating well-being and the kind of world that you want.
29:08 Pamela D. Wilson: Wonderful. Dr. Kesebir, thank you so much for joining us. I will make sure that I put the link to the Center for Healthy Minds in this podcast, and then also the link so that people can take that questionnaire. Listeners, we’re coming to a break.
29:17 Dr. Pelin Kesebir: Sounds great.
29:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Thank you. This is Pamela D. Wilson, your host on The Caring Generation, live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
31:58 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host, you’re listening to The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers, and aging adults live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. The website I want to give for the Center for Healthy Minds is centerforhealthyminds.org. You can find that questionnaire on there that Dr. Kesebir talked about. I took it myself. It only takes a couple of minutes, and you get a really cool report back. Let’s return to tips for how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with people problems. Tip number three relates to differences of opinion. How do we work together when elderly parents or co-workers who we view as problem people think differently? For example, elderly parents might refuse to take medications or bathe. In the workplace, a co-worker disagrees about a work process or continually misses deadlines. In working with problem people, one pattern that we use is to try to convince or sell that person on our idea.
32:54 Pamela D. Wilson: We might want to convince somebody that we’re right. How well does that work for you? Sometimes it may work. Other times it may fail miserably, depending on the degree of difficulty of what you’re trying to convince somebody about or the level of their resistance. An idea for how to stay emotionally balanced is to ask permission and start asking questions. Be direct. Let problem people know that you want to understand how they think. Begin with asking about common ground areas. Is there any area where both of you agree? Are there concerns that both of you don’t know about? Unless you ask, you won’t know. Ask and say this, “What should I know that you might be hesitating? Just tell me. What information do you have that you’re not sharing?” People problems, team problems, miscommunication arises when one person has information that the other person doesn’t, or when we assume another person thinks like we do. How to stay emotionally balanced, becomes easier when both people, both of us seek to understand, and sometimes we have to compromise. After learning information from each other, continue to ask, “Is there anything that both of us don’t know that should be further investigated?” So if I’m the caregiver, that would be me and my elderly parent asking ourselves this question.
34:19 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number four is to separate the people problems from the issue. Let’s say that there is a person who rubs you the wrong way. You haven’t mastered the skill yet of observing and detaching, so you still get angry. Here’s an example of separating people problems from the issue and how to stay emotionally balanced. Let’s say that you have a friend who is always late and you are the opposite. You’re always on time. Waiting for this person drives you crazy—it makes you late to events. You love your friend. But you don’t want to be late. Say something like, “Hey, we have a difference in the belief of being on time. I’m happy to pick you up. But if you’re not ready next time, I will leave without you.” Or, “To me, it’s respectful to be on time. Rather than picking you up, I’ll meet you there.” This separates your relationship from that frustration of being late. How to stay emotionally balanced can be a little trickier if that late person is your spouse, and you share a car, but still not impossible. How can you compromise? Is there somebody else who can pick you up so that you can be on time? Can you alternate being on time and being late while stretching your beliefs for how to stay emotionally balanced about being late?
35:35 Pamela D. Wilson: Let’s translate the idea of being late to a work deadline. If missing a deadline affects the team that you’re on, explain the consequences to the team. Ask what’s going on that people are missing deadlines? Is there a work issue? Is there something going on that you don’t know about? Maybe a personal problem that’s causing the concern that somebody is embarrassed to bring up. Separate your dislike, your upset for this person from the issue. If you or the team member can’t resolve the issue, don’t pick up the slack. Instead, try to work it out. Hold problem people accountable. It’s not your job to take on their work. Make sure that John or Mary knows that you will be keeping everybody up to date. If there is a project delay, get a supervisor involved if you have to. A similar process applies to issues with elderly parents who may not be cooperative or follow doctor’s orders. It’s your job to support your parents. Not to take over their lives. Understand the reason why your parents are disagreeing or refusing to participate. Maybe it’s an education issue. Maybe they don’t understand the consequences and the risks of not following doctor’s orders. Choose how to stay emotionally balanced instead of letting your emotions take control. Observe and detach.
37:01 Pamela D. Wilson: This doesn’t mean that you don’t care. It means that you allow others to make their own choices with the understanding that you have a choice about remaining or becoming involved later. Tip number five for how to stay emotionally balanced is to focus on solutions instead of problems. This assumes that you’re asking enough questions. Let’s say that you have a disagreement with your brothers or sisters over your parents taking medications. But you need them to help you out every other week with medication boxes because of work commitments. They’re squawking and refusing and saying, “Mom and dad don’t need those medications.” Instead of focusing on that disagreement. Agree that mom and dad want to take their medications. They need help. It’s not a debate. Take yourself out of the middle. Ask your brother or sister to put their personal opinions aside for the best interest of your parents because if they don’t, you’re going to have to hire a nurse for two weeks out of the month. That will cost your parents $125 for the visit, $250 for the month.
38:03 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number six is setting limits on complaints and criticisms. People who are viewed as problem people often complain. They’re naysayers. They can be negative, toxic—they criticize other people to validate their own securities. And they may criticize you because of bad decisions that they have made in the past. We are going to continue to talk about how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with problem people, coming up after this break. Online caregiver support is available on my website. In my online caregiving course, Taking Care of Elderly Parents, Stay at Home and Beyond. This caregiving program is available through corporations and groups who want to offer caregiver education for working caregivers and people in their group. This is Pamela D. Wilson on The Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back after this break.
41:28 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, author, and speaker on The Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Before the break, we were talking about setting limits on complaints and criticisms. An option for this is to ask for solutions. For example, “It sounds like,” and then you name the concern, “is upsetting to you. How do you plan to solve that?” Or, “Every time I visit, you say the same thing. It seems like you’re stuck. What can you do to get unstuck?” Don’t take the responsibility off of the complainer or the critic. If you do, it’s possible that the help you provide will be criticized. Tip number seven for how to stay emotionally balanced when working with problem people is called forgive, but don’t forget. For example, the nurse at your parent’s doctor’s office always says she’ll call and follow up. But she never does. It drives you crazy. She continually makes excuses about being busy. Well, aren’t we all? That’s great. But it’s your parent’s care that’s delayed when she forgets to call, and you have to pick up the phone to call her. You can be empathetic about how busy the nurse is. But let her know that you expect her to call. Ask if there’s somebody else that you can contact if she fails to call you. Instead of focusing on the problem, you want a solution for her lack of follow up.
42:49 Pamela D. Wilson: Forgiving, but not forgetting, is a way to stay emotionally balanced that you can use to prevent these gaps. These kind of gaps that drive you crazy in the future. Anywhere something goes wrong or not according to plan, look for solutions and ways to close that gap. These gaps are valuable lessons for us in life. Forgive, but not forget, also applies to workplace interactions. You’ve talked to a co-worker about completing projects that affect you. The situation, it’s better, but it is still not perfect. That conversation goes like this. “Mary, thanks for your effort to make sure that you get me the information that I need on time. We’re still not quite there. How can we close the gap on these other two items?” The more you ask for what you need in all areas of life, the less problem people will set you off emotionally. You’ll become more comfortable and confident in asking for what you need and in communicating.
43:50 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number eight for how to stay emotionally balanced is to respond to problem people who trample over your emotions. This may be an elderly parent or somebody at work. When you understand—and if you notice—understanding why others think and act the way they do is the theme of this program. When you understand, you can know how to respond to the behavior. In my 20 years of caregiving, my most difficult clients became my favorites. But only after I learned to understand why they acted the way they did. Some of these people sought to intimidate other people because they felt insecure/ Maybe powerless. They didn’t have control over their situation, and this behavior was upsetting to other people. People who are insecure or mean may not be happy with themselves. It becomes easier for them to reject other people before other people reject them. I had clients who, for a period of time, sent me away every time I visited. They kept saying they didn’t need any help. I know you’ve heard that one.
44:56 Pamela D. Wilson: The underlying issue for these problem people was that they may have been let down by their family members. They agreed to accepting help—that person—they disappointed them. They didn’t show up. In other situations, it could have been paid help—many other people—but the issue was they were disappointed. And with me, family members who are now trying to send me into their lives. So they weren’t exactly happy with them. Tips for how to stay emotionally balanced when interacting with problem people are to refuse to play into their behaviors. If they want to argue, don’t. If they yell. You remain calm. Be clear that you can’t or won’t help when these behaviors happen. Walk away. These people may be angry when they learn that you won’t respond emotionally. But then eventually. Their behavior may calm down. Dealing with problem people can certainly raise your temper, your blood pressure, and your emotions. Imagine, remember that surge protector in your brain? Push that button and calm down. Letting your emotions get the best of you by being confrontational only encourages the other person to do the same. Have you ever noticed that? Observe behaviors, reflect, stay calm, remain unattached. This is how to stay emotionally balanced.
46:18 Pamela D. Wilson: Tip number 10 for how to stay emotionally balanced is to ask yourself, “Is the battle really worth it?” Walking away doesn’t mean that you don’t care or don’t want to solve the problem. But in some extreme situations, for example, caregiving situations that are consuming your life and your health, the battle to help may have a high personal cost to your mental and physical health, your career, or your family relationships. These caregiving situations can be abusive if a caregiver has given up a job or other parts of life, and you’re now dependent on mom or dad for a home, food, and other aspects of life. In a sense, the caregiver is feeling trapped. They feel like a prisoner in this care situation. A lot of caregivers feel this way.
47:06 Pamela D. Wilson: This is when caregivers ask how to stay emotionally balanced in situations of problem people that relate to mom, dad, or a spouse who is that care receiver. This type of care situation can become all-encompassing. Because there’s little or no time for you as the caregiver to be alone or to participate in any kind of self-care. You’ve given up all of your independence to care for mom, dad, or a spouse. Similar issues happen with a career or work. Especially for people who are highly specialized, like doctors, attorneys, counselors, or other people. The needs of the job and the client served maybe constant, unending. That professional or the specialist blurs the boundary between a professional and a personal life. Caregivers and people who are devoted to their careers can work so much that you have no outside interests, and you lose all of your personal connections. This is the reality of caregiving. There’s a point where caregivers feel stuck, and sometimes you can’t clearly see a path forward. How to stay emotionally balanced becomes a problem with no easy solution.
48:16 Pamela D. Wilson: Dealing with problem people and regaining emotional balance is possible when caregivers or employees in the workplace decide to make a choice that supports more balance instead of giving up everything for another person or another cause. Having outside interests like social activities, friends, and hobbies, helps you be better emotionally balanced. Juggling work and caregiving is part of life for about 30% of working adults. Learning how to stay emotionally balanced when dealing with problem people is a beneficial and a necessary skill, considering that most caregivers work 40 hours a week and care give on average another 20 hours a week. How many of you out there are doing this?
49:04 Pamela D. Wilson: We’re going to have more on this after the break. Check out my website, www.PamelaDWilson.com, for helpful information for caregivers and aging adults. All the podcasts of this show are there, my Caregiving blog, a lot of helpful information. This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving author, expert, and speaker. You’re with me on The Caring Generation, live from the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Stay with me. We’ll be right back.
52:05 Pamela D. Wilson: This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert. I’m your host on The Caring Generation radio program for caregivers and aging adults, live on the BBM Global Network, Channel 100, and TuneIn Radio. Did you know that one in four people you know are caregivers looking for hope, help, and support, that is here on The Caring Generation every Wednesday, and on my website 24/7 at www.PamelaDWilson.com. Coming up next week on The Caring Generation radio program by listener and caregiver request, “Giving up your life to care for elderly parents.” With special guest, Dr. Vanessa Bohns from the Department of Organizational Behavior at Cornell University. She’s going to share research about how to ask for help without feeling guilty. Many caregivers can’t do that. Let’s continue with the subject of learning how to stay emotionally balanced in extreme care situations where caregivers feel trapped. More on that topic of feeling trapped by caregiving is available in my book. It’s called The Caregiving Trap. People ask me how I came up with that title. The answer, caregivers, and my clients. Caregivers told me that they felt trapped by caregiving responsibilities, care receivers, aging parents, spouses, and people aging alone so that they felt trapped by their sick bodies, taking medications, and being stuck in their home with no way to go out.
53:23 Pamela D. Wilson: In some situations, elderly live in unsafe neighborhoods or buildings where they’re afraid to get on the elevator alone or go out into the neighborhood. Can you imagine that? We talked about living alone and feeling isolated on The Caring Generation radio show called The Challenges of Living Alone with Dr. Elena Portacolone, you can check that out on my website at www.PamelaDWilson.com. Go to the Media tab, scroll down to The Caring Generation radio show, and look for The Challenges of Living Alone. The importance of having outside interests and activities is very important for how to stay emotionally balanced in all aspects of life. Caregivers and care workers who’ve experienced job burnout suffer from worse health than non-caregivers or persons who commit to creating a work-life balance. Let’s talk about the workplace and people problems very quickly for a moment. How to stay emotionally balanced impacts the length of time people stay at a company. There is a report from the Work Institute, it’s called the Retention Report. It says that more than three in four employees who have a job could be retained by employers if the employers found a better way to relate to caregivers.
54:35 Pamela D. Wilson: Many caregivers are doing double and triple duty. They’re caring for parents, children, spouses. And employees will leave companies because of a bad manager or an inability to talk about caregiving needs. Twelve percent of of employees leave because of a lack of work-life balance, issues with schedules, commutes, schedule flexibility. Another 12%, manager behavior, another 9% because of well-being, that includes the caregiver’s personal health, and other personal reasons. The top reason employees leave—the type of work not being a good fit, a lack of training, development, and growth opportunities. This is common for caregivers who feel stressed by caregiving and for whom caregiving is not a good fit. We want to feel valued in our work. Wouldn’t everything be happier if we all loved our jobs, professional, and caregiving, and life. We want to ask for the help and the education that we need from our families and the workplace. Check out the website, thecenterforhealthyminds.org. Take that test, see what you can learn from that. Caregivers, I invite you to join me, invite your family, your friends, everybody to join us Wednesday night on The Caring Generation radio show. This is Pamela D. Wilson, caregiving expert, advocate, author, and speaker. God bless all of you caregivers. Sleep well tonight. Have a fabulous day tomorrow and a great week until we are together again.
55:56 Announcer: Tune in each week with The Caring Generation with host, Pamela D. Wilson. Come join the conversation and see how Pamela can provide solutions and peace of mind for everyone, here on Pamela D. Wilson’s The Caring Generation.