While daily life can leave your partner feeling stressed out, you have the power to boost her mood. Workers with supportive partners are 25 percent less likely to feel fatigued and stressed after work, suggests a Florida State University study, documented in the article "In Sickness and in Health: Study Documents the Importance of Supportive Spouses in Coping with Work-Related Stress." So, rather than allow your stressed partner's mood to bring you down as well, use a few strategies to neutralize her stress and begin to liven up the mood.
When your partner is stressed and irritated, there is a chance that you might become the victim of her cold shoulder or annoyed gazes. The reverse is true too; you might show your cold side while in a stressed mood. To avoid accidentally causing each other harm, make an agreement with your spouse. If either of you come home in a very foul mood, or grow angry during the course of your encounter, take a break and go to your own rooms, suggests clinical psychologist Susan Heitler in the Psychology Today article, "Stress in Relationships: 10 Sources and Their Antidotes." Stay there until you feel calmer. This way your anger won't get in the way of the two of you comforting each other.
Anticipate Your Partner's Stress
Stay up to date on your partner's daily schedule, suggests Margarita Tartakovsky, in the PsychCentral article, "How Couples Can Help Each Other De-stress and Improve Their Relationship." If you know she has a stressful event coming up, such as an extra shift at work or a meeting with her boss, you can plan to help her stress afterward. For example, you can have her favorite dishes prepared when she walks through the door, or have tickets ready for a movie she wants to see. Aim to balance out her potentially bad days in advance.
Offer Your Attention
Ask your partner about what has her stressed, and listen carefully as she explains the issue. In some cases, you might be able to lend a hand. For example, if she has too many errands to run, offer to do the shopping or pick up the kids. However, sometimes you won't be able to fix her problems. Rather than trying to offer advice or problem-solve, sometimes it's best just to give your partner an open ear and a shoulder to lean on until she feels calmer, suggests professor of clinical psychology Sue Johnson in the Psychology Today article, "The Very Best Investment."
Physical activity is a strong counter against stress, suggests Tartakovsky. If your partner is willing to participate in exercise, enjoy a workout together. You can choose to hit the gym together or do something as simple as go for a stroll around the park. If you go for a walk, this provides an excellent opportunity for him to tell you about his day and vent his frustrations. In addition, new physical activities, such as dance lessons, can also make for a good distraction and stress buster.
- Florida State University: In Sickness and in Health: Study Documents the Importance of Supportive Spouses in Coping with Work-Related Stress
- Psychology Today: Stress in Relationships: 10 Sources and Their Antidotes
- PsychCentral: How Couples Can Help Each Other De-stress and Improve Their Relationship
- Psychology Today: The Very Best Investment