A person’s stress response dates back to our ancient ancestors as a reaction to threats to safety. These days, it’s not saber-toothed tigers that are causing stress, but common things like jobs and household tasks.
All couples deal with stress from time to time. Finding productive ways to manage relationship stress is important for a long partnership. These tools can strengthen the bond between you and your companion.
Read on to discover seven ways to handle stress in your relationship.
Stresses in a Relationship
Stress can show up in a relationship for many different reasons.
Work or family stress can spill over from everyday life and put pressure on a couple. For a longer-term pair, stress can revolve around things like finances and children. Partners can also experience stress if they feel disconnected from each other.
When you don’t deal with stress, it can lead to arguments and unproductive exchanges. If your partner is showing signs of stress, you can pick up on it creating a cycle that can be hard to break.
How to Handle Relationship Stress
Dealing with stress is an unavoidable part of a relationship. Having tools to use when things get tense can help keep your connection healthy and sincere.
Most people are just an arms reach away from their cell phones. Excessive cell phone use can impact a relationship.
The average amount of time people are on their phones is over five hours a day! When you are only communicating through your phone, you lose face-to-face connections.
When things get stressful between yourself and your partner, it’s time to put the phone down. Trying to have discussions through texting can lead to miscommunications and hurt feelings.
If you need to have a bigger conversation with your loved one, give yourself time to think about what you want to say. Keep in mind that there is more than one voice in this exchange, and prepare for your partner’s response.
If you have a purposeful discussion with an intended outcome, you can work to get on the same page as your loved one.
Taking Care of Yourself First
If you are not taking care of yourself, chances are you are going to have a difficult time using stress management skills when things get heated. Having a tired body makes it harder to handle a situation with a clear head.
Getting enough sleep is the first defense you can have against stress. Exercising and eating well can keep your body feeling fit and strong. When your body feels well-rested and well-fed, you will be in a better mental state when stress arises.
Taking a Breather
When tensions rise in a relationship, consider making a change in your scenery. Going for a walk outside to talk through the stress can be a helpful strategy to use.
Being outdoors increases how much oxygen you are breathing. Oxygen can help increase serotonin which can lead to feelings of relaxation. When you are feeling more relaxed, the conversation you are having could be more productive.
A powerful tool to reduce couples’ stress is taking the time to listen. If your partner is in a heated state, let them get out what they need to say instead of getting defensive.
Even though this can be a challenge, it can help your partner feel validated. This can also keep the conversation moving in a forward direction. Giving your partner the floor and acknowledging their feelings shows you are a team.
Understanding Stressful Body Language
Humans don’t only communicate with their words. Body language can disclose a lot about what your loved one is thinking. The expressions on a face can be a revealing place to find clues to your partner’s stress level.
Physical movements like crossing arms or legs can show that your partner is tense. Stress can also manifest in the form of silence. If your partner is not saying anything, they could be experiencing stress.
Recognizing non-verbal stress cues lets you put strategies into place to improve the situation. This can keep things from escalating further.
Lending a Hand
Relationship stress can stem from feeling overworked and overwhelmed. Many people will isolate themselves or start to lash out when they begin to feel stressed.
Instead of getting frustrated with your partner, you can take the opposite approach. When your partner is showing signs of stress, ask them how you can help them. Extending an offer to help can be a show of support for your partner during their time of need.
This action can turn a heated situation into an opportunity for connection.
Asking for Help
When other tools aren’t working, an effective couples’ stress management strategy is to ask for help. Stress in a relationship can be mild but can also be part of a negative cycle. If stressful situations between you and your partner are common, it may be time to ask experts to step in.
Large issues can be taxing to navigate together. If your stress as a couple stems from a bigger issue, a counselor can help guide you through the situation.
Consider Couples Counseling to Strengthen Your Relationship
Long-lasting relationships inevitably will deal with stressful situations. Knowing how to handle relationship stress when it arises will strengthen your connection.
If you find that your relationship is prone to stress, Evergreen Relationship Therapy is here for you! We can give you the tools you need to reconnect.
Book your free consultation today and find out how we can help!