Tag Archives: stress

Stress levels of Australian couples impacting physical health: Top 5 Stressors for Couples 

In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. Stressors being external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction can be handled in 2 basic ways:

  1. Eliminate the stressor or
  2. Change one’s reaction to stress.

When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

Top 5 Stressors for Couples 

Based on results from the first 20,000 couples to complete the PREPARE/ENRICH Customised Version, the top 5 stressors for each relationship stage are listed below. Overall, married couples report higher stress levels than dating or engaged couples.

    Dating Couples
  1. Your job
  2. Feeling emotionally upset
  3. Inadequate income
  4. Your partner
  5. Too much to do around the home
    Engaged Couples: 
  1. Your job
  2. Financial concerns
  3. Cost of wedding
  4. Lack of exercise
  5. Lack of sleep
    Married Couples: 
  1. Your spouse
  2. Your job
  3. Feeling emotionally upset
  4. Inadequate income
  5. Too much to do around the home

Married Couples and Stress 

Note the item rated as the number one stressor by married couples is Your spouse. This was the number one stressor cited by both men and women.

Married couples who take PREPARE/ENRICH are often being seen in a counselling situation. It is not uncommon for individuals experiencing relational conflict to believe their problems would be solved if their partner would only change. Not only do they believe this, they often express it. Experienced counsellors are used to the finger pointing which often accompanies the initial sessions of marital therapy.

Unfortunately, one partner cannot change the other and this approach leaves individuals totally disempowered in the relationship. In fact, the more one individual focuses on the other person’s behavior, the more resentment, anger, and resistance they typically receive in return.

It is much more productive to help these couples work on things that are in their control including the way they speak to one another, the way they resolve conflict, and the way each individual chooses to react to their daily stressors and interactions with their spouse.

Tune in for part 3 next week – Wedding planning and stress levels.

Do you need help with an issue or problem? Our approach helps to generate deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations can restore insight and understanding about one another.

    Tune in for more tips next week… or contact me Shane Smith shane@intentional-relationship.com or @ www.workofheart.net.www.workofheart.net.au

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

    Take the Couple Checkup

    The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

    The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

    For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

    Stress levels of Australian couples is impacting physical health: 2 basic ways to cope with stress

    In today’s fast paced society, it is impossible to avoid stress in our lives. A recent survey of Australian adults found that 1 in 4 respondents reported moderate to severe levels of stress, highest amongst 18-25 and 26-35 age groups. Almost 1 in 5 (17%) reported that current stress levels are having a strong to very strong impact on physical health (Australian Psychological Society, 2014).

    Stressors are external events which cause an emotional or physical reaction. The impact of the event depends on whether one views the event as positive or negative. When stress levels are high or chronic, it is common for physical symptoms (headaches, backaches), psychological symptoms (anxiety, anger) and relational issues (conflict, disconnection) to emerge.

    There are 2 basic ways to cope with stress:

      1. Eliminate the stressor. Some stressors represent things that are controllable (working too many hours). In some cases, it is possible to make choices that actually eliminate the stressor (change jobs).
      2. Change one’s reaction to stress. When a stressor cannot be eliminated, it is important to look at how one reacts or copes in response to the stressor. Learning and using healthy coping mechanisms can help individuals respond to stress in healthier ways.

    Stress and Couples 

    A recent study of 82 couples demonstrates how high stress levels can negatively impact marriages (Neff & Karney, 2009).
    The greater the stress levels, the more strongly partners react to the normal ups and downs of life. In other words, when stress levels are high, we experience perceived stress more intensely.

    The study also suggests high stress levels make it more difficult to effectively use one’s positive relationship skills such as communication and conflict resolution abilities.

    Finally, couples are more likely to evaluate their relationship negatively when they are experiencing prolonged exposure to stress. High stress negatively colors a couple’s perceptions of their marriage.

    References:

    • Australian Psychologicsl Society (2014): www.psychology.org.au
    • Neff, L.A., and Karney, B.R., (2009). Stress and reactivity to daily relationship experiences: How stress hinders adaptive processes in marriage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97 (3), 435-450.

    Tune in next week for part 2.

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Take the Couple Checkup

    Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship – it couldn’t be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

    Take the Couple Checkup

    The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

    The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

    For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: www.couplecheckup.com.au or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #relationship

    Awareness and understanding abuse: Raising awareness about and tackling violence against Women

    Abuse is about power and control and the choices made to misuse ones power, where one person is dominating and controlling of the other. People who are at the highest risk for abuse are those who rate their partner high in dominance and rate themselves high in avoidance, low in assertiveness and low in self-confidence.

    Facts About Abuse:
    Researchers believe that around one in four Australian women will experience domestic violence at time in their life. Although domestic violence can effect anyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status or their racial or cultural background, women who are young, Indigenous, have a disability, or who live in rural areas are at greater risk.

    White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women. It’s vision is to ensure all women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence.

    Find help: White Ribbon is a primary prevention campaign – that is, they work to change the attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence against women. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support services below:

    There are national and state-based agencies that can assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732): 24 hour, National Sexual Assault, Family & Domestic Violence Counselling Line for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
    • Lifeline has a national number who can help put you in contact with a crisis service in your State (24 hours)
      131 114
    • Police or Ambulance
      000 in an emergency for police or ambulance.

    If you or someone you know is experiencing violence and need help or support, please contact one of the support services.

    IMG_0002.PNG

    The 5 big areas for conflict in relationships: Work

    Finances, Work (in and out of the house), Sex, In Laws and Children are the five big areas that dominate conflict in most relationships. Ensuring timely and open communication and pragmatic approaches to discussing issues that arise will ensure our relationship is sustained for the long-term.

    All Relationships including those with your spouse and children (and others) tend towards entropy, disorder and dissolution. Marriage and divorces can be disastrous for those concerned, especially for children. Being intentional and principle centred can revitalise and enrich your marriage, ensuring your marriage is sustained and endures.

    This series of blog posts explores each of the five big areas for conflict in relationships emphasising that by taking intentional steps to discuss and resolve these issues, they will have a lasting effect.

    2. Work: It is easy to get caught up in the demands of life to find we are living our lives narrowly focusing on work or home, and we forget or neglect ourselves and our marriage.

    We are the instruments of our own performance and to be effective, we need to recognize the importance of balance and taking time to regularly refine and give attention to the following four areas in our lives: 1. Physical; 2. Intellectual; 3. Social and 4. Spiritual. The late Stephen Covey suggests consistent and continued refinement and attention to all four areas is crucial.

    For marriage, it is essential that we continually review and draw our attention to these four areas to ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement. The importance of renewal in our lives can not be underestimated. Learning, growing and developing new capabilities and expanding on the old ones is the process through which marital harmony is made possible.

    Attempting to balance exercise, nutrition and stress management (physical); by reading, visualising, planning and writing (Intellectual); focusing on clarifying values and our commitment, dedicating time to study, our faith and/or meditation (Spiritual); and through our service, being empathic, being synergistic and ensuring security (Social), will make a significant difference.

    Within the house, the demands can be consuming. A practical approach is to list all you weekly household tasks and allocate ownership for each. Many of our expectations about task allocation will be based on our family of origin and who undertook certain tasks in our childhood.

    Discuss the task allocation that occurred in your family of origin and understand that there are ingrained assumptions etched into out brains – who did what and when. The challenge here is to uncover those assumptions and rescript an approach that works for your marriage. Remain open to change and decide an approach that is balanced for both you and your partner.

    Through continued commitment and loyalty we can tackle the ups and downs of our marriage together. Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of your marriage. The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on these four areas. You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort. Be proactive and do this for your marriage today.

    Do you need a boost in your relationship? The PREPARE/ENRICH relationship assessment has been proven to assist couples for over 40 years. Looking for a facilitator to work with you, then contact us.

    PREPARE/ENRICH is a customised online assessment tool that identifies each couples unique strength and growth areas. Based on their assessment results, a facilitator provides feedback sessions, helping couples to discuss and understand their results while teaching them proven relationship skills.

    More tips at Intentional-Relationship.com