America is a stressed-out nation, reports the American Psychological Association, with 83% of people saying they are worried about the future of the nation. A study by researchers in Switzerland, meanwhile, has found that relationships fare worse when people are battling stress – which, in turn, can arise from conflicts with third parties, financial problems, and lack of work-life balance. In order to preserve relationships, partners need to take stress seriously and take steps together to reduce it. For some, couples therapy can be a big help, since it teaches partners vital skills such as conflict resolution and communication. Others prefer tackling stress on their own in natural yet highly effective ways, some of which are listed below.
Strengthening Family Bonds Outdoors
A study by Cornell University scientists has shown that just 10 minutes in a natural setting can significantly lower stress levels. Another study from the University of Illinois found that spending time with family members outdoors can strengthen relationships. The researchers hypothesize that there are various reasons for these positive findings, including the fact that within natural settings, human beings become less irritable, improve their focus, and gain greater self-control. They are also more able to pick up on social cues, thus creating stronger bonds with their loved ones.
Embracing Humor In The Face Of Tension
A review of 39 studies on humor in relationships has found that sharing the same sense of humor or finding the same things funny is strongly linked to relationship satisfaction. Humor diffuses tension, which is important when partners are discussing matters they disagree on. It can also be used to show good faith after a discussion – for instance, when someone gifts their partner something funny and romantic after a disagreement. If you like this idea, you might like to choose gifts such as romantic games, challenge bucket lists, and planner games, or even a two-person ugly holiday sweater if the season is right.
Embracing Stress-Reducing Rituals
Some of the most powerful natural stress busters are practices such as yoga, mindfulness meditation, and Tai Chi. You and your partner can proactively pursue better mental health by practicing one of these holistic activities daily, or at least regularly. If you enjoy group classes, you can sign up for an in-person or virtual class, or simply download apps that contain stress-reducing activities. Some of the most popular apps include Calm, HeadSpace, and Breathe. Top apps contain a host of activities ranging in length and complexity. Even if you have had a busy day and you have five minutes together before going to bed, you and your partner can try a short pranayamic (controlled) breathing exercise, or complete a short mindfulness meditation session.
If you have been feeling stressed out lately, know you are not alone. Stress is a common experience, and it can affect your happiness, wellbeing, and the way you relate to your partner. To stop relationship stress in its tracks, consider one or more of these natural stress busters to strengthen your bond with each other.