What words can strengthen a relationship in financially stressful times?

Financial stress can sometime strengthen a relationship

These current huge financial challenges can put a significant strain on romantic relationships.

So how to maintain and even strengthen your relationship in times of financial stress?

Researchers at the University of Arizona have discovered how relationships survive financial pressure, and even become stronger.

“Financial stressors happen to everyone. They happen more often and to a greater extent to some people than others, but everyone experiences financial stress,” sayd Ashley LeBaron, a doctoral student in the University of Arizona. “If they use that stress as a catalyst to make positive changes in the relationship, it can be an opportunity to grow closer together, instead of having that stress tear you apart.” LeBaron added.

LeBaron found that the strongest relationships were those in which partners remembered to practice “relationship maintenance behaviors,” including respecting one another, being there for one another, and showing love and affection for one another.

Some examples of
“Relationship Maintenance Behaviours”

  • Being grateful for each other’s efforts
  • Listening without distraction
  • Listening without judgement

Surprisingly, the best words are not “I love You”


The best words to strengthen a relationship? Although “I love you” might seem like the best contender.

But research, by the Open University, has shown that the best words to use, for longer lasting relationships are

…… drumroll please ….

“Thank you”.

The best words to strengthen a relationship.

Research reveals that showing gratitude towards your partner and appreciating what they do, is the most important part of a strong and stable relationship.

Just thanking your partner helps strengthen a relationship. Even if your partner’s efforts weren’t successful, thanking them for trying, creates a stronger bond.

Couples that have a stronger bond, are more likely to survive a financial crisis, with their relationship intact.

Thanking your significant other for the smallest thing, strengthens a bond.

They bring you a cup of coffee? Try looking at them in the eye and saying, sincerely, “Thank you. That’s kind of you.” You might be amazed at how good it feels and how well it’s received.


Source: https://uanews.arizona.edu/story/what-helps-couples-weather-financial-storms

Photo: Couple in bed Photo by Jack Sparrow from Pexels.com | I love you words by Photo by Řaj Vaishnaw from Pexels.com


Upsetting day? Sleep on it – you’ll feel better

Problems seem small after a good night's sleep

Upset by something unpleasant?

We have all been there.

And we usually find we feel better about the next day.

At least: if you have restful REM sleep.

Stressful and upsetting events trigger a “siren” in out brains, to makes us more aware of potential danger.

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience discovered why you will be better able to bear tomorrow what you are distressed about today. And why that can go wrong.

A good night’s sleep, specifically REM sleep, is needed to “reset” this siren in our brains.

The Experiment

The researchers placed their participants in a MRI scanner in the evening and presented a specific odour while they made them feel upset.

The brain scans showed how the amygdala became active.

The participants then spent the night in the sleep lab, while the activity of their sleeping brain was measured with EEG, and the specific odor was presented again on occasion.

The next morning, the researchers tried to upset their volunteers again, in exactly the same way as the night before. But now they did not succeed so well in doing this.

Brain circuits had adapted overnight; the siren of the brain no longer went off. The amygdala responded much less, especially in those who had had a lot of restful REM sleep and where meanwhile exposed to the specific odor.

The finding can be of great importance for about two-thirds of all people with a mental disorder, as both restless REM sleep and a hyperactive amygdala are the hallmarks of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, depression and insomnia.

  • People with PTSD carry their traumatic experience to the next day:
  • People with an anxiety disorder take their greatest fear with them into the next day
  • People with depression carry their despair into the next day
  • People with chronic insomnia hold onto their tension into the next day

Restless sleepers

However, among the participants were also people with restless REM sleep.

Things went surprisingly different for them.

Brain circuits had not adapted well overnight: the siren of the brain continued to sound the next morning.

And while the nocturnal exposure to the odour helped people with restful REM sleep adapt, the people who had restless REM sleep felt worse by being exposed to the odour.

The evidence is that REM sleep helps “reset” some of the active pathways in the brain.

And it is this “resetting” that helps the upsets and anxieties of yesterday, fade away.


Source: https://nin.nl/rem-sleep-silences-siren-brain/

Photo: Megaphone man by Pressmaster from Pexels.com | Bed pug Photo by Burst from Pexels.com


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

Stress in middle aged people is greater now than in 1990s

Research shows that the 2010 decade was more stressful for everyone than the 1990’s decade.

No surprises there!

In 2010, at the start of that decade, the impact of the 2008 financial crisis was reaching its peak.

And many countries are still reeling from that shock and from that worldwide crisis.

These days, endless memes and social media would have us believe that millenials are the most stressed. But the research says otherwise.

A team of researchers led by Penn State found that across all ages, there was a slight increase in daily stress in the dacade from 2010 to 2020 compared to the 1990’s. But when researchers restricted the sample to people between the ages of 45 and 64, there was a sharp increase in daily stress.

Everyone is feeling more stressed this past decade, than they were in the 1990’s

But middle aged people – aged 45 to 64 – are feeling it the hardest

“We thought that with the economic uncertainty, life might be more stressful for younger adults. But we didn’t see that.

We saw more stress for people at mid-life. And maybe that’s because they have children who are facing an uncertain job market while also responsible for their own parents.

So it’s this generational squeeze that’s making stress more prevalent for people at mid-life.”

David M. Almeida, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State

More Responsibilities = More Stress

“It may have to do with people at mid-life being responsible for a lot of people,” Almeida said.

“They’re responsible for their children, oftentimes they’re responsible for their parents, and they may also be responsible for employees at work.


Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

Read more …

And with that responsibility comes more daily stress, and maybe that’s happening more so now than in the past.”

More News + Social Media = More Stress

Additionally, Almeida said the added stress could partially be due to life “speeding up” due to technological advances. This could be particularly true during stressful times like the coronavirus pandemic, when tuning out the news can seem impossible.

“With people always on their smartphones, they have access to constant news and information that could be overwhelming,” Almeida said.


Source: https://news.psu.edu/story/618484/2020/05/07/research/middle-age-may-be-much-more-stressful-now-1990s

Photo: Greyscale bald middle aged man by Brett Sayles at Pexels.com


Stress makes it difficult for us to plan because it impairs our memory

We use our memory to look back at our past.

But we also use our memories of what has happened in the past, to plan our futures.

When we are stressed, we cannot retrieve memories as quickly or as accurately. And that impairs our ability to plan for the future.

Stressing out about a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Stressing out over a problem can make finding a solution even harder.

Researchers Stanford University conducted experiments where they monitored participants’ behavior and brain activity — via fMRI — as they navigated through virtual towns. After participants became very familiar with the winding routes in a dozen virtual towns, they were dropped onto one of the memorized paths and told to find their way to a particular point.

Some of the participants were told they would receive a mild electric shock at random. These participants – who were worried about a random electric shock – performed less well that the others who were not threatened with electric shocks.


Middle age stress is greater now than in the 1990’s

Read more …

Participants who didn’t have to worry about being randomly shocked tended to find shortcuts based on memories acquired from prior journeys. Whereas the stressed participants tended to fall back on the meandering, habitual routes.

It’s possible that people who are suffering with financial stress, fail to make effective plans to help deal with financial problem. And that may make their financial situation even worse.


Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200403115103.htm

Photos: Red pencil stress words by Pedro Figueras | Man and laptop by Oladimeji Ajegbile