Reducing Stress in Relationships
Your relationships with friends and loved ones can support you in stressful times; they can also cause your greatest distress.
One of the main causes of stress in relationships is a break down in communication. Unresolved conflict, bottling up your feelings or believing you are not loved, respected, listened to or understood can make you feel isolated, angry and frustrated. Learning to communicate better and express your feelings is essential for stress free relationships.
Cutting out the Stress
Differing attitudes to money can be stressful, particularly in marriage. Honesty and realistic goal setting will help you to work together. Take your holidays when you earn them and don’t work any more than you must. Make time for your partner, children and friends. Divorce or the death of someone you care about can be tremendously stressful. Allow yourself to be angry, grieve or commemorate the end of your relationship in whatever way feels right.
Human interaction is one of the joys of life, but friends, family, colleagues and strangers can also cause great stress.
Relationship stress busters
- Dedicate more time to being with you partner, family and friends.
- Buy your favourite person a beautiful plant.
- Share your feelings, thoughts and beliefs as much as possible.
- Assert your own needs, even if you are afraid of rejection.
- Express anger assertively – not with overt or passive aggression as this is never interpreted in a good light.
- Be clear about money and financial arrangements from the outset.
- Don’t avoid conflict or touchy subjects. Discuss problems openly.
- Take time out for yourself; take some private time.
- Keep your promises – to yourself and others.
- Laugh a lot; it’s the best medicine to keep you healthy.
Your Guide to Less Stress
Increase the communication with your partner to decrease the stress levels; make an appointment with each other and keep it. Sit down together and take turns to have your say – allow your partner 20 uninterrupted minutes to express current feelings about your relationship; bite your tongue if you are tempted to interject. Then speak for 20 minutes. By listening, you may just discover that at least one of your preconceptions about your partner’s behaviour (or your own) is wrong.
- Cut out confrontation
Remember that communication is about moving forward, not confrontation. This is true of all your personal relationships – with partners, with family and with friends. If attempts to say what you feel turn into a row, you won’t be easing stress, you’ll be sending it soaring.
Compromise is another of the keys to sharing your life harmoniously. There are many common problems that can cause deep rifts and a lot of stress; for example, a dislike of the in-laws. With a little give and take, based on the understanding that one person’s in-law is the other’s parent, the situation will be eased and a stress flashpoint eliminated.
Co-operation will help ease stress. Fighting over every detail of your life together is not only tiring and stressful, it is also extremely destructive. Make a real effort to identify what does matter and, more significantly, what doesn’t, then let it go.
- Creating harmony
Never forget the best relationship stress-buster of the lot. The best part of breaking up may be making up but don’t let it get to that. Take time out from everyday life, make time for each other and make love. By rediscovering your pleasure in one another, you’ll re-energise your lives together and put the stress-inducing aspects firmly in their place.
If a relationship is persistently causing you stress then you should walk away from it. It’s much better to accept that you’re simply not suited to one another than to continue to make each others life a misery.