Anger and Stress Management Tips for Satisfying Relationships
Thirty-five-year-old plumber Tyler got angry with Gemma, his thirty-seven-year-old partner for inviting his brother over for the weekend pot-luck event. She knew that he didn’t get on with Roy but she kept trying to get them together. Tyler didn’t speak to Gemma unless it was absolutely necessary. He was civil in front of family and friends, but the stress was killing him. He was too tired to fight!
The folk music she put on while the guests were out on the patio grated on his nerves. He hated it, and Gemma knew that. But she went right ahead and turned the volume on full blast, disregarding him. Feeling himself get more stressed, Tyler played with the dog for a few minutes to calm himself down.
Over the last year Gemma seemed to do things that made him feel like she didn’t think of him, and nor was she interested in catering to his tastes. Feeling unacknowledged over and over again made him feel small and devalued – two key ingredients that made him insecure and stressed him out. He could do nothing to control it, and this weekend was the straw that broke the camel’s back. When the guests had gone, Tyler didn’t have the energy to clean up. He crashed on the sofa and slept for over 24 hours – straight, as if he had been drugged.
Waking up the next night, Tyler’s heart was heavy. He didn’t want to get up; he wasn’t hungry and had no interest in checking the messages on his phone. It was as if he were in a parallel world, looking at himself, lifeless and unmotivated to attend to his work calls or the notes left by his angry wife.
Tyler had fallen deep into a stress-induced depression. It had been creeping up, and now he was in a weird place – he wasn’t exactly numb, but he wasn’t full of the joys of spring either. His anger was subdued but so was his ambitious nature. Nothing seemed to matter that much, except the hopelessness that he felt.
Gemma nagged to no avail. She tried to bring him back to normality with seductive acts, and dangling vacations in front of him, but nothing jump started his motor. He stayed in this morose, worn out, hopeless place, anxious about doing anything but hiding out.
What’s going to become of Tyler, his health, his marriage and his business if he stays locked in this stress-induced depression?
It’s a good bet he will suffer loss of self-worth and feel powerless. He will probably be zonked out on medication and or alcohol to make things easier. He may lose his wife and business if he remains in this awful place.
The secret to getting out of a stress-induced depression
Research published in the journal Nature in June 2015, found that focusing on positive memories could ‘override’ the negative effects of a stress-induced depressive mood. Stress is known to damage the memory centers of the brain, making it harder to learn, or unlearn and retain the new information. But a deliberate focus on past positive experiences can dampen if not negate the harmful effects of stress that triggers a depressive state.
Recalling those positive experiences alters the neurochemistry in the brain by neutralizing the effects of stress hormones in memory cells of the dendate gyrus area in the brain.
So, how can Tyler use this research to counter his depression and empower himself again?
1. Recall times in his marriage with Gemma when he experienced her as caring and sensitive to his needs.
2. Re-live and recapture the good feelings of lovability and self-worth he once enjoyed by using photos and videos of better times.
3. Listen to music that evokes those happy times.
4. Watch shows that remind him of his carefree, humorous and wild times with or without Gemma.
5. Eat foods that he once enjoyed and looked forward to.
6. Share all of the above with Gemma.
Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
AUTHOR OF:’ Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: Ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationship.
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Disclaimer: this article is for educational and informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have when reading the material or following the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.