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Stressful Relationships Don't Have to Kill You
Posted: 6/10/2014 | Relationships Comments
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The Cleveland Clinic Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health recently studied the connection between stressful social relationships and mortality. Looking at levels of closeness, they compared relationships with partners, children, and other family members all the way to friends and neighbors. What they found was that all “stressful relationships” increased death rates. The closer the person was to an individual, the higher the death rate.

Their conclusions were that
“Stressful social relations are associated with increased mortality risk among middle-aged men and women for a variety of different social roles. Those outside the labour force and men seem especially vulnerable to exposure.”

So what does that say about being in a relationship? All close relationships have their stresses and difficulties. Is this advocating being a hermit? Is it saying relationships will kill you?

There are ways to lessen our stress inside of a relationship,
as well as outside of one.

We’ve learned from the blog Deal with Stress-Live with Peace, the standard definition of stress says that it is “physical, chemical, or emotional factors that cause bodily or mental tension altering an existent equilibrium.”

While this is true, psychologically speaking, stress is our perception of and then reaction to anything we consider difficult or disruptive. In other words, it’s not just the relationship issue that’s arising or the worries about someone that cause stress, it’s our reaction to it—our thoughts and feeling about what’s happening.

We usually don’t have control over someone else’s behavior, but the good news is we do have some control over our perceptions and our reactions to their behavior.

Whether or not we experience stress in a particular relationship depends on our personal history, especially our childhood. Since we’re attracted to the best and worst of our caretakers, then the stressful relationship has a connection to our inner life and how we’ve experienced our lives so far. This is why it’s so important to look at and address whatever thoughts and feelings arise when we get “triggered” by something in a relationship.

Darn it! Relationships do have the ability to bring up our deepest issues.

Healing the underlying thoughts and feelings
from our past that are causing our stressful reactions is the most effective and long-lasting solution to reducing stress in our lives, and opens us up to more peace and happiness in our relationships. And based upon this study, it also seems that this pursuit of our psychological healing will extend our lives.

It’s important to realize that a relationship is not some separate thing that’s disconnected from you and your past. As you work on you, you’ll gain clarity about what you need to do for yourself in a relationship, as well as out of a relationship. The more you heal your emotional woundedness, the stronger your boundaries will become. You’ll stand up for yourself more, not have as much as much stress in relationships, feel more closeness, and be able to find the strength and courage to leave a relationship that you recognize isn’t healthy for you.

In case this blog has you feeling stressed,
you can go to 5 Ways to Relieve Stress Right Now to help you out.

How have you dealt with the stress in a relationship?
Your comments make a difference for us all.

For further information on accessing the wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last.

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