I don’t know about you, but in the last couple of months, I’ve noticed a lot of people (myself included) going through some serious struggles in their relationships, romantic and otherwise.
Whether it’s couples, friends, or family members, the need for people to face their painful issues has been amplified BIG-time.
It’s as if the Universe is giving us a wake-up call and urging us to work through what no longer serves our highest good. As if it’s saying, “Something’s gotta give…you deserve better than this.”
If you’ve been feeling discouraged about your relationship(s), you’re not alone! And as we come upon a season of holidays meant to be filled with connections, love and joy, know that it’s perfectly normal to feel a sense of overwhelm.
So this week, I’m sharing some simple practices that you can include in your day-to-day routine to help you lighten the load of overwhelm and move through this difficult time with greater ease.
Transforming the Effects of Relationship Stress
There’s no doubt about it…if you’re in the midst of a troubled relationship, you’re feeling the effects of stress.
I recently had a situation come up that created a lot of emotional turbulence, and was quickly reminded how much relationship stress affects all areas of life, not just our relationships.
Some of those symptoms might include lack of sleep, overeating or loss of appetite, lack of energy, irritability, anxiety, or just plain feeling out-of-sorts or disconnected from your true self.
Different people feel different emotions for different reasons, and no two people experience the exact same thing. However, the common thread for everyone is that this is not an easy place to be, and no one wants to be here!
The good news is, it won’t last forever. And even during times of difficulty, there are simple things you can do to calm the storm and lower the impact of stress.
B R E A T H E
One of the most powerful practices you can incorporate into your life is mindful breathing. You might be quick to dismiss this idea because it sounds so simple, but believe me, the effects are impressive.
Better yet, instead of believing me, try it! Take a moment right now, as you’re reading this, to take a long deep inhale through your nose, and release a long deep exhale out your mouth. Now do that 2-3 more times.
Notice a difference? When we’re feeling stressed out, our bodies naturally constrict, and our breathing is limited. This deprives us of the much needed nutrient of oxygen and causes us to feel a lack of energy, which can easily be linked to a feeling of fatigue or depression.
Will mindful breathing make all your problems go away? No. But making a conscious effort to mindfully breathe as often as you can will definitely help you reduce some of that stress, which will naturally help you feel better.
I recommend setting a timer for every 45 to 60 minutes, and when that timer goes off, take a minute or two to take several mindful breaths. If you remember to mindfully breathe in between the timer going off, even better :-).
The more consistent you are with this practice, the better you will feel. And when you feel better, it’s much easier to remember all of the things that ARE going well in your life.
Another simple exercise is practicing gratitude. I know it seems difficult to feel grateful when feeling down, but I also know it can be done!
I remember a friend once sharing her relationship struggles with me, and then saying something to the effect of, “but you know, even though I have all this going on, I still have so much to be grateful for. I have my health, my home, my friends, a job…”
It warmed my heart to hear her say these things, and I appreciated her ability to apply the power of gratitude even in the midst of pain.
As author Naomi Williams said: “It is impossible to feel grateful and depressed in the same moment.” And while gratitude doesn’t make all of your troubles go away, it does have a positive influence of your psyche and emotions.
There are many ways to practice gratitude, and here are a few ideas to consider:
- When you wake up in the morning, start your day by thinking of 3 to 5 things that you appreciate having in your life (a warm bed to sleep in, your health, a reliable source of transportation, etc.)
- When you set that timer to practice mindfully breathing every 45-60 minutes, follow it by feeling appreciation for the sixty trillion plus cells in your body that miraculously work together all day everyday to breathe your breath, beat your heart, digest your food, etc. How can we not be in awe of this?
- My personal favorite…a gratitude journal. While drinking a cup of coffee each morning, part of my inspirational practice is to list 5 things for which I am grateful. It could be as simple as the taste of coffee, or as deep as the peace in knowing that the Universe gives me the challenges I need to learn and grow into my best self. Yes, I’m even grateful for the challenges…they are often my greatest gifts.
These are just a few ideas, and there are many more out there. Any practice of gratitude is beneficial, and I encourage you to find a practice that works well for you.
The Power of Positive Choice
I understand that when feeling a lack of harmony with your partner – or in any relationship that feels important to you – it can be extremely challenging to feel grateful…for anything! But I assure you, if you’re willing to try and consistently practice it, you’ll notice a difference.
If you’re willing to turn your awareness and focus to the things that are going well, and how many blessings you receive on a daily basis, your energy will be expanded instead of expended.
The whole intention behind a regular practice of gratitude is to feel the benefits of your amazing life.
As I’ve talked about numerous times, when you feel stressed out and focus on your problems, your body releases hormones that create tension and increase the feeling of stress and overwhelm.
When you feel grateful and focus on what’s good in your life, your body releases hormones that create relaxation and increase the feeling of peace and calm. This is basic physiology and applies to every human body!
And while it often seems like you don’t have a choice about how you think and feel, you do have a choice as to what you put your attention on. Whether you choose to focus on the good or not-so-good, whatever you’re feeding will grow.
So, back to where we started, rather than feeling like a victim of your circumstances, choose to empower yourself by including some simple practices in your day-to-day routine that will help you feel better.
What about you? Do you already have practices that bring peace in the midst of chaos? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to respond to this message and I’ll be happy to share your ideas in a future mindful message so others can benefit too.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages and other valuable resources – giving you helpful insights, tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships. Until then, one breath at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time. You got this!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. If you’d like additional support to help you work through your relationship struggles, contact me today to schedule your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session.