How to support your partner during stressful times

The work of healing trauma is personal, but the support of his / her partner can help heal faster, while also strengthening the bond of the couple.

When the person you love is going through a difficult experience such as bereavement, illness, accident, or any type of trauma, you also suffer. And despite a strong urge to support him/her the best you can, you may feel helpless, invisible, and useless. Indeed, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can contribute to feelings of estrangement in the couple by increasing anxiety, isolation, irritability, mood changes, and fear.

Result: communication is poor, and the connection between you is more difficult. But even if your partner's healing process is strictly personal, you can “take” this opportunity to overcome this pain together and strengthen your bond.

Tip 1: form a team

The negative feelings brought on by traumatic experiences can make you feel like you are at war with each other. Guilt or unfair accusations can keep you away. Try to take a different perspective, advises Psychology Today, from "me versus you" to "you and me versus trauma." Join forces to achieve a common goal instead of continually attacking and defending yourself.

Tip 2: secure your daily life

Your partner is in a moment of pain, and one of the main consequences of this is a lack of security, difficulty in relaxing, and constant fear of possible danger. This reflex is normal because after feeling helpless or terrified, their environment and relationships are not the same. To help her, tell her that you are available physically and emotionally at all times. Give him the stability he/she needs. And don't hesitate to call on your loved ones yourself when you need support.

Tip 3: listen

Your partner will repeat the same story to you thousands of times. To be able to heal, we must find meaning in what has happened to us, and making our thinking explicit is part of the process. Listening without judging, without giving advice, and simply valuing each other's emotions is arguably one of the most difficult, but essential, aspects of getting better.

Accept the stress of your partner

Your husband tells you: "my boss is stressing me out", no question of answering him: "you just take this too seriously! ". Affirming what you hear is the best way to lower the tension. Your partner will then feel understood, and this then triggers a sense of comfort that is imperative if you want to help. If you try to identify his stressors, he will insist on anchoring his stress even more deeply.

tip 4 Understanding the stress of one another

Then continue by trying to understand why and how your partner is stressed. Imagine that stress is a big black ball. 

You ask him, "Your boss is stressing you out, but what exactly is stressing you about him? ". And this big black ball can collapse into several small nuggets. For example: “He never arrives on time for meetings. "; "He makes offensive comments to the trainees." "He doesn't listen to anything when you speak to him ..."

Externalizing the various facets of stress allows you to release some of it. Sharing releases some of the stress… especially when you feel listened to and understood.

tip 5: Accept their silence 

Your husband or wife is stressed but doesn't want to tell you more. Do not insist, at the risk of stressing him/her more! Just tell him: I understand that you prefer not to talk about it. But if at any time you need it, know that I am available for you. For some people, the family is a haven of peace, and importing your stress into it will only spread it in an area of ​​life where it was absent! Relax what you can relax.

The other is stressed, ask yourself a question: what can I do to help him relax without acting on the root cause of the stress? You can suggest a nature walk. Nature is a powerful stress reliever. Also, think about offering him to play sports. Going to the pool or jogging is relaxing. Activate the action of music: go to the choir, because singing is powerfully soothing, or listen to peaceful music, such as classical music. Suggest to him to take up yoga, meditation, relaxation therapy ... the body helps calm the mind… 

tip 6: Act on the root cause of stress 

Seeks to encourage it to change what you can change. Where does this stress come from? And how do I get away from it? Once these questions have been asked, you will jointly find some answers. It can be about thinking about changing professions, training, accommodation, work team, schedule ...

Here, it is often a question of projecting yourself into a longer-term project. It won't change your day-to-day life immediately, but often knowing that there is a way out to a very stressful situation makes anxiety much lighter and more bearable. And it can even completely solve the problem of stress. 

Medically treating stress? Certain herbal teas, certain herbs can help to relax. These are only temporary solutions, of course, but they have their value. One of the best solutions is psychotherapy. It makes it possible to react with less stress in the same situation. Be careful, this is not about learning to endure everything, but to feel stronger in the face of the same situation. Even if in the long term, we consider life changes to find a different balance and better suited to our deep desires. Be a source of peace, calm and confidence and positive influence for the other

tip 7: Be present, do everything to understand it, help it find solutions, encourage them...

- Also know how to give him something positive in words: compliments, encouragement, confidence.

- Give him something positive in gestures: hugs, tender gestures, massages, running your hand through his hair, a little kiss, a moment in his arms, or even take him (her) in your arms to dance a slow.

- Give it something more positive through attention, through pleasant time shared.

- In short, create happiness as a couple, because it is one of the antidotes of stress!

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