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How to Reduce Your Stress by Improving Your Relationships

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How to Reduce Your Stress by Improving Your Relationships

How to Reduce Your Stress by Improving Your Relationships

A post from our Stress Management blog

      Written by Riley Mitchell
It's true that there really is no escaping some level of stress in the modern world we live in. We are surrounding by stressors, many of which we cannot control, even if we try.

Sometimes, a measure of stress can be a very positive thing - it can motivate you to achieve those goals you have set. However, too much stress can lead to a multitude of serious problems.

If you suffer from a lot of stress in your life, have you ever considered the possibility that it could be your relationships that are the cause of the stress rather than vice versa (as many people often believe)?

There is a very distinct link between unsatisfying, unhealthy and downright toxic relationships, and additional, unhealthy levels of stress. When you're in a bad relationship, whether it's a romantic relationship, a friendship or business relationship, the strain of it not working obviously causes you stress. Unsatisfying relationships are those where there's only one party that benefits from the arrangement, or where neither party is actually benefiting from it.

In the following post, I'll show the correlation of how if bad relationships are causing you stress and strain in life, and how, if you cultivate new and positive relationships or work on the poor relationships you have, you will have a lot less stress in your life.

Support and Interactivity

The people you allow into your life can either be there as a positive force, supportive, or they can actually cause you to need support.

Now, the thing about dealing with stress is that the support you have, and the ability to talk to people about issues, are vital. Everybody needs support from somewhere!

Think about the level of support various people in your life provide for you. Are they always there for you, or do you need to constantly be there for them?

How does that make you feel?

Probably, not very good at all. The stress of dealing with their problems and having to be there for them always puts a strain on you and can make you feel miserable.

Relationships are all about give and take, and if the other party in the relationship only ever takes from you, without giving in return, maybe, just maybe, it's time to move on.

Now, it's true that you can't just ditch every relationship you have in life, especially if it's work-related, a partner or family member. However, if you know the relationship is causing you stress because you are not supported as much as you'd expect, or at all, and you can't immediately sort it, you may be able to find the support you need from an external source, like a therapy group, or adding more positive friends to your life.

But of course, the obvious solution is to try and improve the relationship, and that will reduce your stress!

Relaxation and Fun

Ensuring that you have fun, and enough relaxation, is critical to reducing stress. I used to hear an expression that went, "Couples that play together, stay together."

Now, the meaning is obvious, if you and your partner are doing things together that are fun, you're going to enjoy being with each other, and less likely to be causing each other stress. And when you do have a bit friction between you, it's the exception, not the rule.

All in all, that relationship will not cause you stress.

Similarly, if you have friends that don't provide support, it's likely that they are not much fun to be around and don't allow you to just relax. This obviously affects how you feel.

I can't imagine having to go out with a friend, knowing that the evening is just going to be draining. They suck you dry every time you meet up.

Rather, we all want an outlet - a place to relax and just have fun, not worrying about what happened at work or other daily stresses. Friendships that don't provide that outlet just add to your stress levels. (Let me just add, every person needs support once in a while. That's what friends and family are for. I'm talking about the person that ALWAYS is a drain, just taking constantly.)

So, it's important to find those relationships and friendships that do provide fun and relaxation. When you have a place or time with someone that enables you to just have fun and relax, you won't be holding on to all the things in life that you can't control, and therefore your stress levels will be greatly reduced. We have all had friends at one point in our life, that seem to bring us down.

Perhaps because they want to deliberately to help themselves feel better, or by accident because their life is just not going according to plan. While you want to help your friend, if you can't unwind and just be you, then it's not actually good for you or them in the long run.

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Finances and Money

It would be strange to talk about stress in life and relationships without highlighting the role finances and money can often play in it all. If you are in a romantic relationship with someone, and live together, or are married, and share financial burdens and responsibilities, how each of you deal with these can have an impact on the relationship and therefore on how stressed you feel.

Do you and your partner clash over issues related to money and spending? Do they have a completely different idea of saving and spending compared to your own? If you are not meeting on middle ground, because they are wanting to spend money all the time, while you are trying to save, it can cause stress. Massively!

By working on the relationship though, you can alleviate that stress. By getting on the same page as each other, helping your partner see why saving is important to you and that you can't always spend, spend, spend, can help reduce stress. If you feel as if you are both working towards the same goal, you won't feel as if you are walking against a strong gust of wind or wading through waters against the tide.

Feeling Heard and Valued

One thing we all want in life and in our relationships, whether they are work relationships, close friendships or romantic relationships, is to feel valued and heard. In an unhealthy relationship, however, where the other party or parties don't let you express your feelings or opinions without reacting negatively or cutting you down, it can leave you feeling miserable and more stressed.

Compare this to a positive relationship where you have a platform and are allowed to voice your opinions and are valued. It doesn't necessarily mean that your friend, colleague or partner will always agree, but if they allow you that chance to express yourself, you will feel less stressed and more valued.

In Conclusion

Cultivating healthy relationships is not always easy, and can often mean that you need to leave people behind.

However, as stress can have such a massive impact on your overall health and well-being, it is important to consider the points above and how having healthy relationships could reduce your stress, and improve your overall well-being.

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