Do stress and a lack of sleep affect your communication skills? These factors sometimes causes people to lack patience, rush to criticize, be easily irritable and condescend others, Rabbi Shmuley says. "We cannot see the bright side; we look at the world from a negative, pessimistic perspective, rather than the positive one," he says. He offers tips on how to communicate effectively, even when you're under pressure and overworked.
With Your Spouse:
- When in a work environment, be aware of your criticizing and balance it with praise. Rabbi Shmuley says a four-to-one compliment to criticism ratio is good.
- Start conversations with pleasantries. "It only takes a few seconds to say 'Good morning' or 'How was your weekend?' before launching into a task list with a co-worker," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Slow down. "We tend to rush through a conversation instead of taking time to thoroughly explain things and get feedback," Rabbi Shmuley says. "When we rush, our tone can be misunderstood."
- Be aware of your e-mail etiquette. Include a warm greeting and closing, try not to use all caps and thank people for helping you.
- If your spouse is constantly critical, explain to him that you love him and he's usually pleasant to be around, but lately, he doesn't realize that he's not being very nice.
- Tell him he's finding fault with everything you do, and he's looking for things to complain about, which isn't fair.
- If you haven't made time for your children lately or have been overly hard on them, explain yourself with loving comments.
- Let them know they don't deserve to be ignored and that you have no right to ignore them. Then, apologize.
- If you've been tough on them, let them know it's because you only want what's best for them and that's why you criticize, but there needs to be balance. Be sure to let them know how much you love them too.
"These days, we are all overworked, overtired and overly stressed. But that does not mean we have a right to take it out on the people we work with or, worse, the people we love most, like our spouse, our children, our parents. If you're in a lousy mood, take a step back. The world is not as bleak as it seems. Refrain from saying anything. Keep your interaction with others to a minimum until you can go and get some rest. Don't say or do anything which you will later regret."