When we’re feeling a high level of stress, our brain’s prefrontal cortex goes offline, hijacking our capacity to think clearly and limiting our ability to solve problems. Especially in relationships, stress can bring the worst out of us and make us too focused on ourselves. This can leave both partners feeling alone and disconnected, amplifying an already stressful situation. To maintain your relationship, you need to keep showing up for yourself and teach your partner how to show up for you. The following four steps will teach you how to do just that.
First, be extra diligent about communicating your needs during this time. Tune into yourself first to see what it is you might be needing during a stressful time. Do you want your partner to just listen, or do you want them to engage in problem-solving with you? Do you want a hug, do you need space? Be specific about the behavior you need. Then when you’re feeling less stressed, find out what your partner might need when they’re dealing with stress. The tables will turn at some point.
Secondly, touch your partner. Physical touch releases oxytocin, the cuddle hormone, which helps calm our nervous systems and promotes well-being. Touch between romantic partners is so powerful it can even provide relief from physical pain.
Next, don’t put all your eggs in one relational basket. We need our partners the most during stressful periods, but it’s important to recognize that support can also come from others. One critical way to protect your relationship is to lean on friends and family members who you trust with your vulnerability, especially if your partner is also caught in stress.
Lastly, keep showing up for yourself. This means being compassionate to yourself and finding stress reduction strategies that work for you when you’re alone, whether it’s meditating, exercising, or just making sure you get enough sleep. Finally, remember that you’re not alone with what you’re feeling. Everyone experiences stress sometimes, and there are other people in the world who feel the same as you right now. READ MORE
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