Stress prone? You may find your partner very unbearable

Chronic stress is not only harmful to health… it is also harmful to life as a couple! Proof of this is with this study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, published in the review Social Psychological and Personality Science. Starting from the observation that it has already been proven that stressful moments can affect the way married couples interact, the researchers wanted to know if they could also affect the way partners see each other. The answer is unfortunately positive, namely that a stressed person is more likely to notice the negative behavior of his spouse than positive. ” Previous research has focused on how stress influences behavior, but this study suggests that stress might affect the actions partners notice in the first place. », remarks the scientific team. So what are the negative actions noticed in the first place? The fact, for example, that a spouse breaks a promise, shows anger or impatience, or criticizes his partner.

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We found that people who reported experiencing more stressful life events outside of their relationship, such as problems at work, were particularly likely to notice if their partner behaved inconsiderately. underlines the main author of the study, Dr. Lisa Neff. To come to this conclusion, the researchers asked 79 heterosexual newlywed couples to complete a short survey every night for 10 days, in which they documented both their own behavior and that of their partner. Before beginning this part of the study, participants completed a questionnaire in which they shared details about stressful events in their lives. It was found in the first place that the marital status of the couples has its importance in the rendering of the final results, because it turns out that the couples are particularly likely to focus on the positive behavior of the other and to the opposite of neglecting negative actions during the famous “honeymoon” period.

When Chronic Stress Can Harm Relationships

Dr. Lisa Neff hypothesizes as follows: for many people, the last few years have been difficult, knowing that the stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to linger for many. ” Gold, ” if stress focuses individuals’ attention on their partner’s more inconsiderate behaviors, it may damage the relationship. “, she adds. However, the researchers noticed that a single stressful day was not enough for a person in a relationship to focus on the negative aspects of their partner’s behavior. It is actually a longer accumulation of stressful life circumstances that is likely to cause this change in perception. Furthermore, the results of this study also suggest that stressed people were no less likely to notice their partner’s positive behavior, but were more likely to notice such thoughtless actions as not holding a hand. promise, to be impatient, critical or angry.

While it’s possible that being aware of the effects of stress can allow couples to correct their behavior and therefore limit the negative impacts on their relationship, the scientific team notes that this is only a a possibility pending the start of another study on this subject, which should also extend the duration of the surveys sent to participants beyond their honeymoon phase to obtain more in-depth results. “The idea would be to examine whether the harmful effects of stress might be even stronger in couples who are no longer in the newlywed phase of their relationship. But the fact that we found these effects in a sample of newlyweds demonstrates just how widespread the effects of stress can be. concludes Dr. Lisa Neff. Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions to combat stress on a daily basis, starting with regular physical activity and meditation, without forgetting good sleep and the need to promote foods beneficial to the functioning of the nervous system such as magnesium ( seafood, oilseeds, dark chocolate) and group B vitamins.

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Stress prone? You may find your partner very unbearable

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