Managing Stress In Relationships: How To Find Peace

Most of us want to learn more about managing stress in relationships.

Is there anyone in your life who drives you crazy? Someone, you attempt to avoid as much as possible?

We’ve all had relationships that add stress to our lives. Toxic, passive-aggressive friends, co-workers, in-laws, gossipers who try to pull you in, overly demanding bosses, or maybe a few nagging complainers.

Unfortunately, many of these are people we can’t avoid.

Thus, our only chance of retaining some semblance of sanity is to learn how to manage the stress of these toxic relationships.

So, let’s get to managing!

How Stressful Relationships Affect Us

It’s no secret some people can be offensive, hurtful, intimidating, or just plain clueless about how their behavior affects others. When we encounter or can’t avoid a person who rubs us the wrong way, it causes feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, or fear.

As you probably know, these negative emotions often lead to behavioral changes we later regret. Upon feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, it is common to experience angry outbursts or recede inside oneself.

Also, avoidance behaviors, irritability, tension, uptight body language, bitterness, sulking, and other adverse effects are common.

People tend to hide behind comfort behaviors such as smoking, partaking in alcohol, or self-destructive activities. Some feel attacked or helpless, often resulting in feelings of inadequacy and poor self-image. Others may even become paranoid or turn to narcissism as a defensive mechanism.

The depth of one’s reaction to toxic or hurtful relationships varies according to the individual and the factors involved. But it is always painful and can be long-lasting. This is why managing stress in relationships is so important.

Managing stress in a relationship

Ignoring The Effects of Stressful Relationships Is Unhealthy

Ignoring the effects of a stressful relationship and keeping negative thoughts to oneself can be harmful. As keeping emotional upsets inside and failing to work through them is self-damaging. Plus, these negative thoughts tend to grow stronger over time.

When one experiences chronic, moderate to heavy stress, it can lead to health threats, such as rising blood pressure and changes in blood flow. This results in fatigue, headaches, and causes stress to body organs.

Also, stress suppresses the body’s immune system, increasing an individual’s risk of infection and chronic disease processes.

Therefore, managing stress in relationships should be a strong priority. Because not only are we talking about unhappy emotions and thoughts but also long-term health and quality of life.

Failing To Manage Mildly Stressful Relationships Becomes Detrimental Over Time

Even mildly unpleasant relationships can become a problem. Over time, if not dealt with properly, stress grows and festers. Combined with other life stressors, this becomes a deeper wound. Therefore, mild personality differences can morph into hostile relationships

Sometimes, the long-term unhappiness of an unsatisfactory relationship becomes too stressful and overwhelming to deal with. On occasion, an individual becomes reclusive and isolated and attempts to avoid relationships altogether.

In some cases, it is challenging to avoid close relatives or co-workers who initiate feelings of stress. Maybe it’s a boss or even a child! Eventually, the act of chronically avoiding someone becomes a stressor itself!

So, what’s a person to do? Let’s find out!

A Mother comforts her stressed daughter.

Things To Be Aware Of Before Managing Stress In Relationships

Before you begin an intervention, examine your communication style and emotional triggers. What causes you to become upset? How do you approach conflict?

Do you overreact, use questionable language or react aggressively? Sulk and nurse your anger? Or say nothing and later think of things you wished you’d said?

When someone behaves unfairly, is there an alternative way to handle your reaction that better serves the situation? Have you clarified the other person’s meaning and intent before reacting?

Next, examine the offending person’s communication style. Are they unknowingly using incorrect wording to express the message? Or does this person have a passive-aggressive manner? Are they lacking in social skills?

Here’s a simple step to remember when talking to someone who causes anxiety, irritability, or other negative emotions. It’s an old-fashioned method, but it works. Try slowly counting to 10 before responding.

This is because reacting angrily further aggravates a tense situation and may call for you to apologize in the future.

Even though losing your temper may cause you to feel better for a few moments, you will almost always regret it in the long run. When a cooler head prevails, you’re likely to regret any harsh words.

Also, your other relationships can be damaged because of sympathy toward the person with whom you lost your temper. .

Remember that when someone is pushing your buttons, take a deep breath before you respond. Each time this is done, it lessens the power of the trigger.

If It’s Possible, Talk It Out

First, when the stressor person is an everyday staple in your life, a personal discussion is needed. Also, you’ll want to prepare your talking points ahead of time.

To make any headway during the discussion, avoid accusatory, inflammatory, or offensive language. Instead, use I feel language, such as, “This makes me feel…” and “I feel…”

Using “I” language and not “you” is the most effective communication for a serious discussion. It prepares the other party to listen and hear what you have to say. Any sentence beginning with “you did” or “you said” has accusatory connotations and immediately puts the listener on the defensive.

To succeed, the entire conversation must take place on a mutual level of understanding.

Next, during the discussion, figure out what each person wants and needs from the relationship. Make a list of triggers that each person must agree to avoid in all future interactions.

Do your best to remain neutral and professional while working out issues and making compromises. Then, come away with a plan that works for both of you.

Also, remember different people see the same issue with differing perspectives.

This couple knows about managing stress in relationships.

When Talking It Out Doesn’t Work In Overcoming Stressful Relationships

If having a serious discussion isn’t an option, or you cannot reach a mutual understanding, it is helpful to take a break. Distance allows you to enjoy some respite and mull over the situation.

This would be the time to figure out if your reasons for tolerating the relationship outweigh its disadvantages.

Then you can determine whether to call it quits, ask for a transfer, look for a new position, move, or convert your cubicle into a more private, secluded area. For ideas about this, you can check out Pinterest.

Unfortunately, sometimes one is forced to continue an undesirable relationship, such as with a spouse’s close relative or unpleasant co-worker. Therefore, the best action for managing the inevitable stress is to control one’s reactions to it.

The Halt Method Is Helpful In Dealing With Relationship Stress

As humans, we all have basic needs for maintaining well-being. And when basic needs go unmet, our tolerance for others’ idiosyncrasies spirals downward. One popular way of determining if this is a factor in your situation is the HALT method.

HALT is an acronym for “hunger, anger, lonely, tired.” Therefore, we should periodically check to ensure these four needs are well-managed.

1. Are you HUNGRY? In my house, we call it hangry. Because when family members get hungry, it usually makes us cranky. And the result is often biting words, spoken in the moment and later regretted.

2. Are you ANGRY? Sometimes when we’re in a bad mood, it tends to be shared with the next unfortunate person who comes along.

3. Could you be LONELY? Lonely people tend to be sad or down in the dumps. Unhappy people tend to be temperamental when around others.

4. Are you TIRED? When you feel tired, it’s harder dealing with stressful people because of a lack of energy.

So, rest and self-care need to be met before social or professional encounters.

But there are things you can do to decrease stress and anxiety caused by others.

When you’re feeling upset, try calming measures such as deep breathing before facing a stressful person.

Next, try to enjoy an active social life and participate in personal interests. As it happens, a person with a balanced life is more tolerant of stress and has an easier time dealing with its effects.

Also, getting eight hours of sleep every night increases resilience and energy. Thus, it has a beneficial effect on the ability to deal with upsets.

So, building up a healthy stress tolerance allows one to become adept at managing stress in relationships.

Learn to manage a stressful relationship

Managing Stress in Abusive Relationships

An abusive relationship is a toxic relationship. Abuse is a situation where one person emotionally, physically, or sexually attempts to diminish another person. Therefore, it is an unhealthy situation that results in some type of harm to the victim.

The victim is in danger of becoming injured, isolated, and utterly dependent upon the abuser if they choose to remain in the relationship.

This relationship worsens over time as the abuser becomes more confident with their power over the victim. And the victim becomes more and more controlled by the perpetrator.

Undoubtedly, the only way to overcome the stress in this type of relationship is to leave. If one lacks the power to do this alone, find someone to help, such as a police officer or a community agency.

If needed, call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline – (800) 799-7233.

Leaving a stressful relationship causes sadness, emptiness, and possibly regret. These feelings are completely normal when experiencing a loss. Even a loss gifting one with a brighter future.

One can fill the emptiness by instilling moments of gratitude and positive experiences into one’s life. It also helps to write down one’s feelings. Journaling is a great way to deal with sadness and loss.

And so does pursuing new interests and meeting new people.

Reconnecting with family and friends is also a positive coping activity. Or consider taking a vacation, seeking employment, or volunteering at a local shelter.

Moreover, it helps to deal with loss by talking to someone: a pastor, counselor, teacher, or wise friend. Channeling feelings from the inside to the outside is essential when dealing with stress and loss.

Once an individual has dealt with the loss of the relationship, they can move forward with the hope of a healthy future.

Wrapping Up Managing Stress in Relationships

Remember, balancing stressful relationships with positive ones is a good thing. But, also, attempts to bond with the stressor person may help.

Such as: doing something fun together, creating a relaxing environment in which to meet, or exercising together.

In conclusion, the best way to manage unpleasantness caused by others is by decreasing stressors in other areas of one’s life, performing adequate self-care, and having a healthy life balance. With these three assets in hand, managing stressful relationships becomes doable.

Why not take the first step today to reduce the effects of negative people in your life?




Other Posts About Relationships and Stress

Parent-Adult Child Relationship Gone Painfully Amok-How To Deal

What Is My Love Language?

Coping Skills: How To Beat Stress With Winning Results

Calming Techniques To Empower You When Feeling Overwhelmed

Time Management Skills That Create Free Time and Lower Stress

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  1. I love HALT! So practical and accurate!! Very helpful ideas and also important to clarify the abusive relationship in this topic. Your posts are always encouraging Thank you.

  2. Important topic to touch on, some relations can really feel draining and it’s encouraging to know for the most part we can all do something about it. I love how you used the acronym HALT; I agree that when we feel depleted in basic needs it’s even more challenging to nativité emotional needs and stressors. Thank you for these great tips and different steps to try when addressing stressful relationships we can’t avoid.

  3. Wow I find so much of this post helpful. I definitely will consider HALT when working on communication with my loved ones. Such a simple idea but definitely one to easily forget. Fulfilling our basic needs.

    1. HALT is something that should be basic to all of us, but we just don’t take the time we should for self-care. Hopefully, this will serve as a helpful reminder to those who need it.

  4. I’m at a pivotal phase in my life when handling stressful relationships in a positive way, for my own sake, is crucial. There are so many things I can take away from this post. Thank you for touching on such an important topic.

  5. These words of wisdom couldn’t come at a better time for me. With the stress of the holidays finally winding down, my family has been dealing with several personal problems and that has lead to depression and often tense situations. Thankfully it hasn’t been a lot that’s led to full blown fights, but having a better way to analyze and know what to do when it does is worth its weight in gold. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

  6. This is a really helpful and thoughtful post on managing stress in all kinds of relationships. The HALT method is a really great strategy. Thank you for sharing this!

  7. What a wonderful, honest and helpful post on managing stress in relationships. As a psychotherapist I counsel individuals and couples on this very topic and you hit the target on so many factors. I especially like that you spoke about HALT since it’s not productive to have a conversation when you’re struggling with anything HALT related. I also think it helps to go to therapy (as an individual) or as a couple to learn ways to navigate the stressors in your relationship. Curious about how to find the best therapist and start therapy? https://pantearahimian.com/this-is-how-to-start-therapy-the-right-way/

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