After a stressful day, a girl would love to come home to a supportive and understanding boyfriend who helps reduce her stress -- not add to it. A survey conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that 70 percent of U.S. adults reported experiencing stress or anxiety every day that interfered with their lives. Because a stressed-out girlfriend can have an effect on your own stress levels, by helping her de-stress, you will be able to relax together as a couple.
Listen to your girlfriend. Show her that you care by asking her to express her feelings. Sometimes, your girlfriend may just want you to listen and not necessarily give advice. When listening to her talk about what’s causing her stress, show her that you understand by paraphrasing how she feels, says psychologist Terri Orbuch in a PsychCentral.com article. For example, if she says she is tired because of a busy day at work, say something like, “It must have been so stressful juggling such an overwhelming workload.” This shows her that you were really listening and that you sympathize with her.
Calm her with touch. Offer her a sympathizing hug, kiss, touch to the arm or shoulder or even a massage. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, massages are a proven way to induce calmness and reduce stress. You can even purchase aromatherapy massage oils to add to the relaxing sensation. Human touch can heal, not only physically, but also emotionally. Even the act of offering a massage can comfort her.
Encourage your girlfriend to sweat the stress away, and offer to do it with her. Myriad studies have proven that regular exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety. If your girlfriend is stressed, offer to take a walk or go for a run with her. Exercising will release endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that reduce pain. You can even do fun things together as a couple, like sign up for a dance class or play a sport.
Make your girlfriend laugh by telling her jokes or getting her to watch a comedy show. Laughing helps reduce stress, according to psychoneuroimmunology researcher Dr. Lee S. Berk. A study conducted by Berk in 2008 found that even anticipating laughter can help reduce stress. By popping in a funny DVD or buying her tickets to a comedy show, you are already helping to reduce your girlfriend's stress.
- Psych Central: Attention Couples: Becoming a Skilled Listener and Effective Speaker
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Massage
- Science Daily: Exercise Reorganizes the Brain to Be More Resilient to Stress
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical Activity Reduces Stress
- American Physiological Society: More On The Humor-Health Connection: New Study Finds Anticipating A Laugh Reduces Stress Hormone
- Psych Central: How Couples Can Help Each Other De-stress and Improve Their Relationship
Sarah Casimong is a Vancouver-based writer with a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She writes articles on relationships, entertainment and health. Her work can be found in the "Vancouver Observer", "Her Campus" and "Cave Magazine".
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