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Stress: The contagious disease

4 ways your stress is damaging your relationships

When you’re stressed, do you think that it’s all about you? That your problems are yours and yours alone? That might be true in some ways, due to how you perceive life happening to you instead of for you, but here’s something to chew on: stress does not work in a silo.

The negative effects of stress are highly contagious, and it will eventually impact the people around you – wreaking havoc on their lives, too. When it comes to your relationship, the effects of stress can cause major rifts that are otherwise entirely avoidable. Ultimately it will break down both you and your partner, fueling each others’ negative emotions and creating unnecessary complications. These are the signs of stress, so when you’re feeling like you’re dealing with more than you can handle, you can stop, reassess your behavior and save your relationship.

The negative effects of stress on health: The signs to watch for

If you’re wondering what are the negative effects of stress, here’s a brief breakdown of four key stress symptoms that can impact a wide variety of your life and have a profound effect on others.

Stress symptom #1: No verbal filter

Have you noticed that stress also causes us to vent at the most inopportune times and to anyone who will listen? Have you ever said anything you regretted right after you said it? Venting under stress can cause confusion because saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can result in someone else being hurt.

Think about a time when you said something to your partner when you weren’t feeling your best. How did this cause complications? You might not have fully meant what you said, but your partner will remember the words for a long time regardless.

Many times, people who vent and say things in a rash manner have self-imposed limiting beliefs that impact how they think. When life gets busy and stress levels rise, these limiting beliefs damage your ability to talk constructively about issues with your partner and can lead you to resort to harsh words or cutting sarcasm.

Addressing limiting beliefs is a powerful way to change how you think and perceive the world, and influence how you respond to stressful situations. Don’t be afraid to knock down the walls of your past – instead, seek words of encouragement and empowerment when you’re stressed. Doing so can have a significant impact on the negative effects of stress on your body.

Stress symptom #2: Mistakes

People under a lot of stress often make more mistakes as they feel less able to focus on the task at hand. When we become stressed, our brain goes into “fight or flight” mode, and our decisions become more rash as the more logical part of our brain is shut down. The mistakes that can be made under stress can vary from mistakes at work, on the road, to your home life and relationships. Whatever the case, your mistakes can and will affect those around you and can serve as one of the big negative effects of stress on health.

Consider the effects of the negative effects of stress on a relationship: What mistakes have you made when you were feeling down? How could you have allotted yourself more time to compose yourself before reacting?

Stress symptom #3: Bad food decisions

Stress has the most severe effect on those you are closest to. In a recent study, it was found that childhood obesity is linked to parental stress. Why? Because parents who have higher stress levels tend to make poorer shopping and nutrition decisions. This causes them to buy more junk food for the home, and dinners tend to be less nutritious. Stressed parents also spend less time with their children. Consequently, all of these factors contribute to childhood obesity and serve as just another example of the negative effects of stress on one’s body.

Your stressed-out decisions have direct, negative effects on the people in your life. When you feel stressed, it’s crucial to give yourself time to think or to utilize a therapeutic tool such as breathing exercises to reduce the negative effects of stress.

While it might be tempting to reach for comfort food during times of stress, doing so isn’t going to make you feel better. Sugary snacks and familiar foods like chips are going to deplete your energy levels and make you feel worse than before. 

The key to stress is to shift away from cycles of negativity. Fueling your body with the right foods will help clear your head and give you the energy to start moving forward.

Image © Radharani/shutterstock

Stress symptom #4: Sensitivity

Stress also breaks down your intimate relationships. Outside stressors can ruin a relationship. In fact, relationships exposed to high amounts of stress for long periods of time are almost always guaranteed to fail. When you are stressed, your perception of everything is heightened and you become more sensitive which only causes more conflict and communication issues. Not knowing how to help you, your partner is left feeling disconnected and hopeless, threatening their mental state as well.

In order to avoid the negative effects of stress breaking down your relationships, learn how to manage stress in a healthy, effective way. Accept that life is happening for you instead of to you. Also, tell yourself that everyone has ups and downs, but a temporary setback shouldn’t create a major roadblock when it comes to the success of your relationships.

The negative effects of stress can also lead to depression

Everyone gets busy and suddenly has plenty to do that arises out of nowhere. But those who experience chronic stress or feelings of anxiety could be one of the many people who see depression as one of the negative effects of stress. Depression strikes nearly one in six people during their life.

The science of happiness often comes down to a mixture of daily activities and natural brain chemistry. Big life events, like the loss of a loved one or a big change during your job, can lead the body’s stress-response mechanisms to shift into overdrive. As hormones like cortisol surge through the body, lowered levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine can lead to depression as your body’s normal biological processes – like sleep and appetite – start to become off-kilter.

Depression can strike if you’re having trouble coping with the negative effects of stress. If days go by and you’re frequently less productive, in a sad mood or having trouble eating healthy foods, depression can set in, along with physical illness if your body’s worn down.

How to address the negative effects of stress on your body

If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your day-to-day life, you need to take action. If you don’t choose to make a concentrated effort toward moving forward, you could quickly find yourself locked into limiting beliefs that will keep your mind stuck.

There’s power in admitting you could benefit from a medical professional to help you break out of a depressed state. Breathing and mindfulness exercises, understanding the three triggers of suffering and choosing to cultivate empowering daily routines are strategies to eliminate the negative effects of stress so you and your partner thrive. Find the combination that works for you, and you’ll be well on your way toward a brighter sense of self. 

Header Image © baranq/shutterstock
Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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