What You’ll Learn Today:

  • Why stress could lead to connection 
  • The 7 things to do if you have stress in your relationship

Top Take-A-Ways:

  • When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to ruminate and lean towards negative thinking. When you’re in this type of mood, your partner gets stressed and is likely to withdraw and isolate. When that happens, you start to withdraw yourself and both of you are left feeling abandoned, misunderstood and unsupported. 
  • Instead of fight or flight, think Tend and Befriend: In her book, “The Upside of Stress,” researcher and author, Kelly McGonigal offers a whole new perspective on stress and relationships. Her research supports that stress doesn’t have to lead to only the fight or flight response. She introduces the “Tend and Be-Friend” response because stress can also activate brain systems that help us connect with other people.

The 7 Things to do if there’s stress in your coupledom:

  1. Promote relaxation! 
  2. Make it a priority to get good sleep (at least one of you)! 
  3. Reprioritize. What’s all this craziness for? Maybe it’s time to reprioritize what you’re doing and how you’re “living”. 
  4. Say yes first. Don’t deny, dismiss stress, no matter how unreasonable.
  5. Ask for help.
  6. Increase your positive emotions. No matter what the stress is about, having more positive emotions in your life will help combat the negative effects of stress. 
  7. Get Perspective. Remember that you feel the way you think. If you want to stop feeling stressed, you need to stop thinking stressful thoughts.

Resources and Links:

Stress and Reactivity to Daily Experiences: How Stress Hinders Adaptive Processes in Marriage

Stress From Daily Hassles in Couples: Its Effects on Intradyadic Stress, Relationship Satisfaction, and Psychological Well-Being 

Randall, A. K., & Bodenmann, G. (2009). The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction. Clinical psychology review, 29(2), 105-115.

Stress and social support in gay, lesbian, and heterosexual couples: Direct effects and buffering models.

How to Transform Stress into Courage and Connection

The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It

018 How Your Lizard Brain is Keeping You Stuck

My Book, Be Happily Married, Even if Your Partner won’t Do a Thing