How to Manage Family Stress:
An Effective Whole-Family Approach
As much as we, as parents, don’t want to admit it: stress affects us not only individually, but also our family as a whole.
This is not something to be ashamed of.
You don’t want to be considered a “family with problems,” but the truth is, all families go through tough times. This is part of life and being human.
Whether it’s individually or as a unit, you will experience turbulence throughout life. And this turbulence affects those around us. Especially our families.
The first step to improving the family dynamic is to accept that turbulence happens.
Effectively managing the stressors is key.
Today we’re going to take a deep dive into what causes family stress, how to effectively manage it and how to find strength through family stress. We’ll also talk about using neurofeedback as a tool to help.
Common Causes of Family Stressors
Though there are a myriad of factors that contribute to stress within the family, it generally comes down to six main causes:1,2,3,4,5
- Financial challenges
- Inter-parental conflict
- Loss of a loved one
- Serious or chronic illness
- Moving to a new home
Many of these factors can happen all at once, which only exaggerates the anxiety or stress being experienced.
For example— if you or someone in your family has a serious chronic illness, you may be experiencing financial hardship due to high medical costs.
Another family stress example would be if you’ve lost a loved one and the anger accompanying grief has led to ongoing conflict.
Family stress can also be caused by less intense events, such as your child struggling socially or academically, schedules being overbooked, or a child turning into a teen. Intergenerational issues also bring challenges to your family.1,2,3
Each individual situation comes with its own emotional responses and uncomfortable feelings. These can add up and create a crushing weight of stress on your shoulders that then transfers to other family members– and vice versa.1
Before getting into how you can manage stress within your family, I want to talk to you a little bit about why it’s important to address this from a family system’s perspective.
Managing Family Stress As a Whole
Ultimately, it’s more beneficial and sustainable to confront stress within the family from a systems perspective. The whole family is a unit. Just like parts to any whole, they’re all connected. Even if your family doesn’t feel connected, it is.1
Think of your car. When one thing isn’t working correctly and goes unacknowledged, other parts of the car start to break down, too. All systems work similarly in this regard.
The health of your family system is based on:
- Relationship, dynamic, or attachment to each member
- Communication between members
- Ability to work as a team
Your family may be:
- Too together. There are no clear boundaries between members.
- Not together enough. There are too many rigid boundaries between members.1,6
The feeling of being strongly connected to your family lies in your emotional vulnerability or intimacy with them. When one or more of your family members are experiencing anxiety or stress, it can affect your ability to be vulnerable with them, or their ability to be vulnerable with you.
A lack of vulnerability, or rigid boundaries, perpetuates family stress. When you or your family members can’t comfortably address issues without fear of some sort of emotional outburst or negative response, it becomes a feeling of “us against each other,” rather than “us against the problem.”
On the other hand, if your family doesn’t have clear boundaries at all, then one member’s issues may become the rest of the family’s. This causes enmeshment6, which leads to anxiety, burnout, and people-pleasing behavior.
Creating Family Strength Through Family Stress
The simple answer to managing your family’s stress is about your whole family’s ability to cope.
Your ability to cope is centered around your perception of the problem. Does your family view problems as challenges that can be handled? Or, does your family view them as out of control and destroying the family?
This perception is significantly impacted by past experiences and the results of those experiences.2,3 If your family has struggled to overcome obstacles, you probably feel more defeated each time around.
That’s okay. In fact, that’s normal. Your brain learns to associate feelings with experiences, especially the more occurring they are. It’s a survival mechanism that your brain uses to predict the outcome of an event in order to be prepared for it.
But too often, your brain can get stuck in a negative perspective or use poor coping skills. It’s important to give yourself grace here– your brain is just trying to protect you. Once you allow yourself grace, you allow yourself room to grow.
There are several solutions to help get you here. Some therapists suggest one simple, practical method that encompasses them all.
What is it?
How to Manage Family Stress with NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback
NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is the brain train that you need to effectively boost your family’s mental fitness. When everyone is brain training, the whole family benefits.
Neurofeedback is an advanced, easy-to-use device that monitors your brain activity to detect any turbulence while you listen to music or watch a movie. When the device detects turbulence in your brain activity, it pauses what you’re listening to or watching — bringing your brain back to the present. This brief pause allows your brain to self-correct.
NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is the latest advancement in technology to improve mental wellness.
It’s important to know that NeurOptimal® is:
- Non-invasive. Nothing goes from the software to the brain, only from the brain to the software.
- Safe for all ages. Some kids may be afraid of the sensors, but watching mom or dad train helps calm these fears.
- 33.5 minutes a session. The perfect amount of time for your child to get relaxed while watching their favorite movie!
- Does not require a medical diagnosis. Nonlinear neurofeedback is not a cure for any specific illness, it works to optimize overall brain functioning.
And, above all– non-linear neurofeedback helps you and your family to live the healthy lifestyle you all deserve!
As you and your family improve your brain fitness with NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback, you become more resilient and adaptive. This means that when issues arise, each family member will be calmer and more confident to handle the situation together.
This virtually guarantees effective management of family stress.
The most amazing part is, NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback is personalized to you and your family. You know that your family is unique, so your solution must be unique to fit your family’s needs, too.
After several NeurOptimal® sessions, you and your family will be able to:
- Identify the source of the stress
- Communicate openly
- Observe without judgment
- Lean into the love you all share
- Feel calmer, more confident, and more certain with each other
- Be resilient, adaptive, and stronger as a whole
Families who brain train together, stay together! NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback completely changed my family’s life for the better.
Are you ready to take the first step to create a healthier, happier family?
If you want to manage your family’s stress better, fill out our contact form today.
- Bowenian Family Therapy. The Human Condition. 2022.
- Family Stressors. Slopen, N., et. al. 2022.
- Family and Academic Stress and Their Impact on Students. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2022.
- Effects of Socioeconomic Status, Parental Stress, and Family Support on Children. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 2022.
- Family Boundary Permeability. Current Psychology. 2022.
- Co-dependency and Enmeshment. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 2022.