How Does Stress Affect My Relationship
Every relationship is going to have arguments. And at worst, arguments can result in hurt feelings, loss of respect for the other person, or loss of a close relationship, says Debbie Opoku, a licensed psychotherapist specializing in couples and marriage counseling in Barrie, Canada.
If we speak and react in the heat of the moment, our words will come out as accusations or worse as a personal attack against your partner, Opoku says.
Words carry a lot of weight in an argument, and saying something in anger can still have lasting effects long after the argument has concluded and these impacts can contribute to even more stress down the road.
And at-home stress doesnt only involve your partner.
Signs Of Stress In A Relationship
The first step towards dealing with stress is to understand and accept that there is friction between you and your partner. Stress in a relationship can manifest in the below ways:
Dig For The Deeper Questions
What is the top thing that couples fight about? You may be thinking it could be finances, family, work or even health. None of these are correct.
Whether its a fight that spiraled from deciding what show to watch or not putting down the toilet seat again, these arguments are often spurred by minor disagreements that arent problems in and of themselves. Rather, they represent bigger issues.
When a couple is arguing about what movie to watch, it often snowballs into you dont respect my choice and you are not listening to me, says Randall. If you think about it, at the core of these fights is the question are you there for me?
Randall encourages couples to look beyond the surface level spats that may occur on a day-to-day basis to resolve the issues deeper down in a relationship. By not sweating the small stuff and instead using energy to uncover and address deeper problems, couples can create a more transparent and effective relationship in the long run.
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Tips For Dealing With Relationship Stress
Its easy to let financial stress broil, parenting pressures mount, or fall into old argument patterns especially if the two of you are locked together in close quarters.
Making time to go outside your house will help break you out of patterns and allow both of you to feel like youve escaped the usual.
A Partners Presence In Your Mind
All of the study participants were in long-term romantic relationships. For the purpose of the current study, the researchers split the volunteers into three groups.
The people in the first group had their romantic partners sitting quietly with them while they completed the stressful task. The people in the second group received the instruction to simply imagine receiving support from their partners while completing the task.
Finally, the remaining participants had to think about the events of their day while taking part in the experiment.
When the participants submerged their foot in the cold water, the researchers found that those who either had their partner close by or imagined their partner being next to them had a lower blood pressure indicative of their reaction to stress than the individuals who thought about their day while taking part in this task.
However, both heart rate and heart rate variability remained consistent among all of the participants, regardless of the experimental conditions.
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Love Factually: 11 Tips For Reducing Relationship Stress
This Valentines Day, give your sweetheart the gift of relationship serenity. These research-backed tips will help you work in tandem to navigate lifes bumpy roads.
Every relationship goes through its ups and downs, its twists and turns. Adding stress from work, school, family, money and health can make the daily bumps in the road feel like a rollercoaster ride in a relationship.
How can you help your relationships, romantic or not, stay healthy and meaningful in todays high-stress, fast-paced environment? ASUs own scientific Cupid, Ashley Randall, an associate professor of counseling and counseling psychology in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, examines how couples can cope with stress in the context of relationships. Her research investigates the impact of stressful experiences on individual well-being and couples emotional regulation.
Based on her expertise and research experience, Randall wants you to keep these things in mind as Valentines Day nears.
If Youre Feeling Scared Or Concerned
Fear, confusion, and uncertainty are completely normal right now.
You might joke about the apocalypse as the world begins to resemble the dystopian setting in your favorite movie or TV series, but generally speaking, fear isnt comfortable.
Most people dont like being afraid of things they cant control.
Instead of trying to bluff your way through what you feel, try talking about it instead. Honesty and authenticity can help bring you closer together.
Acting like nothings wrong, on the other hand, might have the opposite effect. They might get the idea you arent taking things seriously and become irritated or even more fearful as a result.
Beyond general uncertainty about what to expect, you might also have some specific worries about:
- loved ones
- life ever getting back to normal
If one of you still works in a public position, you might have a lot of concerns about potential exposure, which can worsen fear and stress.
But having a plan for how youll handle potential infections can help you feel more in control.
Addressing specific fears can help you come up with potential strategies to help improve even worst-case scenarios. This can empower you and help make the situation seem easier to deal with.
When working through fear, make sure to talk about boundaries.
Its important to talk about your concerns, but ruminating on them or revisiting them again and again generally doesnt help.
Respect each others boundaries around needing space from these topics.
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Declutter Your Bedroom And Closet
Clutter creates stress and, in extreme cases, depression, says eco-organizer Candita Clayton, author of Clean Your Home Healthy. Its difficult to relax when youre surrounded by laundry, work or reading materials because you subconsciously feel like you have things to do. Feng Shui expert Pat Heydlauff agrees, saying that eliminating chaos increases energy and productivity. To declutter, evaluate your space and eliminate what doesnt bring pleasure. Donate clothing, decorations, or household items to charity. Reworking your space until you feel happy and relaxed is a great way to reduce relationship stress.
Ways To Effectively Deal With A Strained Relationship
Also, you may like to have a look at my page on online hypnosis frequently asked questions. Self-hypnosis is such a great way to help reduce and even cure many a problem.
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Roll Around In The Mud
Ever wonder why you feel good when you garden, weed, or toil out in the yard? Researchers from the University of Bristol think the answer is bacteria. Soil contains the friendly bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae, which increases the metabolism of serotonin in the brain. Since a lack of serotonin is connected to depression, scientists hypothesize that this bacterium may improve mood, ease stress, and maintain a strong immune system. Landscaping, sowing seeds, and nurturing flowers or home-grown veggies are creative ways to reduce relationship stress, unwind, and improve your mood.
Reflect On The Conversation
While it would be nice, change doesnt happen overnight. Conversations dont always resolve the way wed like, and more often than not, seeing progress requires a series of conversations and a willingness to keep trying. If things feel like theyre unresolved, let the person know that you appreciate their time and youd like to follow up with them in the future. Give them some time and space before engaging again. If things are resolved more quickly, share your appreciation and gratitude with the other person and let them know you value their help and input.
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Reduce Relationship Stress With The Hokey Pokey
Weve found a fool-proof stress-reducer, says home-based business owner Christina Seine. When the older kids are struggling with homework, the younger ones are battling over the dinosaur toy, and Im freaking because an order must go out NOW.we do the Hokey Pokey. Seine says its impossible to be grumpy when youre shaking your left elbow! It always ends with us in a heap on the floor, laughing, she says. Stress hormones are reduced during laughter, allowing immune cells to function better. Plus, laughing promotes a healthy oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange and clears airways. Have you thought about laughter as a creative way to reduce stress in your relationship?
The Key To Stress Is How Couples Manage It
It’s important for couples to identify and talk about what causes their stress and what they need when they feel stressed. Although it might be difficult to talk about what is creating stress, particularly if it is caused by something within the relationship, it is helpful for partners to talk about their needs and for partners to provide support. Those couples that are most successful in dealing with stress tackle it together. They create a feeling like they are in it together and are a team.
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Avoid The Impulse To Cut Off
When a person is fighting with their significant others, sometimes they may feel the urge to slam a door and give them the silent treatment. Going silent can calm you down temporarily, but it is likely to increase your partners anxiety or anger. This doesnt mean you have to sit down and solve a problem in the heat of the moment. Instead of quickly zooming out of the driveway or walking away, consider telling your partner that you need some time to calm down so you can organize your thinking. Let them know that its important to you to work out difference and consider whats an appropriate amount of time for you to think and come back to them.
If your partner tends to give you the silent treatment when youve forgotten an anniversary or skipped dinner with their parents, youve probably experienced some anxiety not knowing whats going to happen. You cant make them talk to you, but you can share that youre ready to share your thinking and work together when theyre ready. Trying to coerce or threaten them into a quick reconciliation is likely to backfire and cause them to cutoff even more.
Make Time To Talk To Your Partner
Once you identify the feeling, then you can bring it up. Even if it doesnt have anything to do with them, talking can still have benefit.
Stress and fear are easier to bear when shared, and sometimes just opening up about difficult feelings can decrease their intensity.
When they have done something to irritate you, a respectful conversation can improve the situation.
Talk when you feel calm, not angry, and make sure theyre in the right mood for a conversation, too. If you arent sure how they feel, its always wise to ask.
Before you bring up the issue, consider how to open the discussion without judgment. Start by validating the situation and any stress they might feel.
If, for example, they keep neglecting their share of the chores, you might say:
I know its hard to maintain our typical routine during this difficult time. But I feel even more stressed when everything around me is cluttered, so Id really like to keep up on housework together. Im wondering if it might help to switch chores or work on them at the same time. What do you think?
Then, listen to their side. They might struggle with chores when anxious and didnt realize how stressed you felt by things going undone.
Acknowledge and affirming their feelings helps them feel heard, too.
If tensions are already high and the mood doesnt seem right for a conversation, try writing a letter.
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Couples Counselors Are Always Available To Help
Even after youve committed significant effort to de-stress your relationship, it may still be too difficult to entirely handle it on your own.
Especially if theres a deep hurt or theres been prolonged periods of stress, you could consider couples counseling to help improve your relationship, communication, and manage stress in your lives.
Having an objective party sit with you and help you talk through your challenges can be tremendously eye-opening and can lead to so much growth and healing, says Henry.
A counselor can give you and your partner new approaches for working through your concerns and can help you both to really express your feelings and feel heard, Henry adds.
Growing Together: Nurture Your Relationship During Pregnancy
As a , couples therapist and premarital counselor, , I know that perhaps no event is more life-changing for a couple than having a child. Babies bring joy and meaning to our lives, but there is no doubt that having a child, and caring for that child, will drastically change a couples relationship.
However, did you know that those changes to your relationship do not begin after a child is born, but long before? Those drastic changes often begin in the first trimester of a mothers gestational period, sometimes even shortly after conception. In my experience, relationships can even change immediately after pregnancy is discovered. Rather than seeing those changes as obstacles, viewing them as opportunities to learn together, grow as a couple, and strengthen your relationship as you prepare for a babys arrival is a great way to begin this new chapter in life.
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You Cannot Control Everything
Learn to accept events and the people around you without the need to change them. Take a deep breath, relax and trust in the process. Let go of things that are out of your control and go with the flow. If you need to make decisions, do not base it on fear but hope. Have confidence in the future.
Embrace What Makes Each Of You Unique
One thing that many people do in an effort to manage stress, including relationship stress, is focusing on differences. Usually, that means looking at personality traits from a negative perspective and make comparisons. Oh, I am always organized and they are a sloppy mess! Its a habit you may fall into because it makes you feel more in control.
However, focusing on differences in a negative way also has the effect of making your partner feel devalued and driving them away. So instead of turning a critical eye, embrace the things that make each of you unique. Those differences, when combined, can actually help you better support one another.
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Tips For Handling Stressful Relationships
Long ago I started to wink at my husband and my friends during our conversations. Im surprised at how light and playful it makes me feel, and I know its a simple tip on how to reduce stress in a relationship! Im not saying you should wink at your spouse when youre fighting about money, sex, or whos picking up the kids after school. Just wink at him the next time youre having a superficial conversation. Youll be surprised at how it make you and him feel.
You might also try whistling at him once in a whileunless, of course, a whistle increases the stress in your relationship. If youd be offended if he whistled at you, then you probably shouldnt whistle at him. The rest of my tips arent nearly as controversial 🙂