Stress and anxiety are common problems in relationships. In my Couples Counselling Sessions, this is one of the major areas that couples require assistance, as stress can cause breakdowns in communication skills and trigger negative behaviour. If there already problems within the relationship, busy lives can amplify the unresolved and suppressed needs. Very often when couples are stressed they can default into one of four categories. Passive, passive aggressive or aggressive. When all issues have been resolved you are able to be assertive which means communicate calmly and effectively with your partner without underlying fear, resentment or anger. This is a learned behaviour and unless we are lucky enough to have parents that are whole or self actualised, we all have unresolved issues and negative behavioural patterns as soon as we enter into a relationship and have children.
Here are my top 5 ways of reducing stress and anxiety in relationships naturally:
1. Attend to your Physical Health
When our bodies are in optimal health, we have stronger mental capacity to cope with stress, solve problems and control or let go of any worries. Health experts say that just 1/2 hour of brisk walking or exercise a day can add 7 years to your life. Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in sports cardiology at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in South London, said for the average person in their 50s and 60s, moderate exercise reduced the risk of dying from a heart attack by half. When you feel good physically you will also relate to your partner in a more positive way.
2. Find out the Cause of Your Stress and Anxiety
When we are anxious or stressed it is usually about something that might happen in the future or you are trying to achieve something in a short amount of time. This causes the mind to go into a stress-state or an anxious state. For example, you maybe trying to get the kids to bed and then get ready to go out with your partner in an unrealistic time frame. Make sure you plan ahead so you can get time to put the kids to bed calmly, have a chat with the babysitter and then be looking fabulous for your date night with your partner or spouse. If you feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious, take time to reflect at the end of the day what caused this feeling and remember to breath and focus on this moment to remove the stress or anxiety.
3. Break Down Your Relationship Worries
Worrying about our relationship and our partners can create a huge amount of fear and anxiety in our minds and eventually, can have a negative affect on our health and wellbeing. Taking time at the end of each day to reflect and discuss any concerns that you have about your relationship with your partner using "I" language will assist in removing any relationship woes. Avoid the need to say "you make me feel" or criticise your partner. This will only trigger negative feelings within your partner. Share your feelings using "I" so your communication is clear and non-blaming. For instance, "I felt very upset when you interrupted me while I was speaking to my father the other day. I felt disrespected". Allow your partner time to respond listening with empathy, mirroring and validating.
4. Reduce Anxiety by Seeing Things in their Proper Context
Anxiety is caused by magnifying and worrying about small things constantly making them more important than they really are. Ask yourself, is that really that important and discuss any issues with your partner in a calm and honest way. Your partner can assist you in putting any worries into their proper context and reduce their intensity.
5. Make A Plan
Your partner is your best friend, your lover and source of love and support. Plan events and daily routines that will assist your life together to be more harmonious. Make a financial plan, social plan and plans around the children's routines and daily chores. That way you can work as a team and see each other as a source of support, love and safety rather than resorting to the unconscious way of relating which is the power struggle. When you are in the power struggle you will argue, leave issues unresolved, blame your partner for your problems, criticise our partner and try to be "better" than them. Love is a decision and when we love our partners, we transcend our self interest and direct our life energy toward the total welfare of our partner.
Staley Health offer a 12 Week Couples Counselling Intensive for any couples in crisis or requiring guidance on mastering their relationship. For more information go to www.staleyhealth.com.
Nikki is a Metaphysician, Holistic Counsellor, Reiki Master and Teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge on holistic health and wellbeing.