Are major life events or everyday hassles stressing you out? Stress can definitely magnify how we respond in our relationships. In our close relationships, our own irritability brought on by stress can have a negative impact on our interactions with loved ones. Over time this can create a disconnect which is unhealthy for everyone. This disconnect can compound an already stressful time. This leads to perpetual, negative vicious cycles.
Vicious cycles are certainly not healthy for strong relationships, but particularly bad for couples involved in rockier relationships. So how can you alleviate stressors in your relationship? You can do this by first realizing how stress is impacting it. Chronic “stress and strain” can cause you to withdraw or lead you to constantly “vent” or complain. This leads to a breakdown in communication. When you are met with less than expected support (Why hasn’t she noticed I’m upset OR why won’t he listen?), this can lead to bruised feelings, less affection and in many cases, a concern that the actual relationship is flawed. If left alone, the perception that the relationship is flawed could actually turn into reality.
The question is, how do you break the stress cycle before it causes lasting damage? If outside stressors are affecting you (career, chronic pain, extended family or friendships) – It’s best to first “isolate the source of stress” and address it so it doesn’t ruin your private life. Acknowledge that you and your partner are a team and should work together to ease the stress. As an example, let’s stay the stress is work-related. Together you might come up with ways for you to “ease the stress” on the job or agree that it’s time you look for another position.
If the stress is coming from within the relationship (lack of communication, financial issues, disrespect or controlling behavior), it’s time to discuss ways to solve the issues causing you stress. Resolve to really listen to each other to gain the perspective you both will need to find an agreeable solution. If you feel “you’ve been there, done that” with no success, discuss the possibility of seeking professional help. A marriage counselor or relationship coach can offer an objective analysis and offer strategies to cope with stress and ideally, ease its strain on your relationship.
With all that said, there are also ways for you to individually manage your stress in order to increase your chances for success. Take some time for yourself to enjoy a leisurely walk, a laugh-out-loud comedy or whatever gets you to smile; and encourage your partner to do the same. Cardio exercise such as jogging, swimming or playing sports is also a proven way to alleviate stress by boosting pleasure-inducing endorphins, so get out and get moving to feel better fast. Spending social time with family & friends can also do wonders to brighten your outlook! Last, but certainly not least, volunteering can be very rewarding and a great way to open new outlets to channel your stress. “Beach Clean Up Anyone?”
Have you been feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with your life? Therapy begins with joining. Selecting a therapist who comfortably guides you through the process is crucial to your progress. Free Consultations Available. Send me an online message with your availability or call me at 954-675-1936 to schedule a FREE consultation.
Susan Block is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in marriage, family and individual therapy. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University in 1997 and completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2004. Also an active member of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Susan Block practices in South Florida