Don’t Let Stress Mess With Your Relationship — Find Your Calm With These 4 Tips
Stress is toxic to our relationships — and not just the stress caused by them. When we’re under too much pressure in other parts of our lives, such as at work or because of illness in our extended family, we feel the effects at home. In fact, as I’ve written about for Emi before, it’s often the external stressors that are hardest on our relationships because we don’t do enough to address them. At least when we’re fighting with a partner, we know we need to take steps to repair things. When we’re struggling with stress outside of our relationship, though, it’s a lot easier to let things fester.
If you’ve noticed that stress is taking a toll on your relationship with your partner, the most important thing you can do is acknowledge what’s going on before that outside stress begins to color your life at home. Just expressing the fact that you’re feeling pressure or anxiety in another part of your life can help ensure that you and your partner are on the same page and that they can be present and ready to support you. That being said, you still need to do the work. These 4 strategies can help you find your center and manage your stress so that it doesn’t negatively impact other parts of your life.
Tune Into The Source
Stress doesn’t always come from an obvious source — it’s often the result of multiple forces all coming together at the same time. Combine that with the fact that stress actually makes it harder to interpret your emotions and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Journaling, or just taking some time to sit alone and reflect, can help you get to the source of the problem. Once you know what’s causing you to feel this way, then you can start addressing those issues.
Think — And Think Again
Dealing with stress doesn’t always mean actively addressing the problem. Sometimes the most important thing you can do is focus on how you think about your problems. Using the process of cognitive reframing to reflect on your thought patterns and habits can help you change how you feel about particular circumstances. If you find something a coworker does frustrating, trying to consider their perspective or choosing to interact with them in different ways may not change their behavior but it can reduce your stress.
At Emi, we’re all about gratitude; we know that expressing our thanks or appreciation for the small things in our relationships can make a big difference in our experiences. If you’re feeling stressed, consider adopting a new gratitude habit, such as keeping a gratitude journal or seeking out small moments of wonder in your day. Like to post on social media? A digital gratitude challenge might be just what you need to stay motivated and accountable.
Take A Step Back
You may not be able to eliminate the cause of your stress, but if you find that your stress is damaging your relationship, you can take a step back from some of those interactions. This doesn’t mean break-up, but rather participating in some conventional self-care behaviors. Read a book, take a bath, or go for a run. It’s okay to cancel date night because you think you’ll pick a fight or bury your head in a book rather than playing a game. As long as you’re open about the fact that you’re feeling stressed and need to try something different, it’s okay to pull back for a day or two and regroup.
You’ll never get rid of every source of stress, but if you are attentive to where it’s coming from and consistently communicate with your partner about what’s going on, your relationship will be fine. We all hit some turbulence from time to time but there are smoother skies ahead.