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Stress: The contagious disease

4 ways your stress is damaging your relationships

When you’re stressed, do you think that it’s all about you? That your problems are yours and yours alone? That might be true in some ways, due to how you perceive life happening to you instead of for you, but here’s something to chew on: stress does not work in a silo.

Stress is highly contagious, and it will eventually impact the people around you – wreaking havoc on their lives, too. When it comes to your relationship, the effects of stress can cause major rifts that are otherwise entirely avoidable. Ultimately it will break down both you and your partner, fueling each others’ negative emotions and creating unnecessary complications. These are the signs of stress, so when you’re feeling like you’re dealing with more than you can handle, you can stop, reassess your behavior and save your relationship.


Have you noticed that stress also causes us to vent at the most inopportune times — and to anyone who will listen? Have you ever said anything you regretted right after you said it? Venting under stress can cause confusion because saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can result in someone else being hurt.

Think about a time when you said something to your partner when you weren’t feeling your best. How did this cause complications? You might not have fully meant what you said, but your partner will remember the words for a long time regardless.


People under a lot of stress often make more mistakes as they feel less able to focus on the task at hand. When we become stressed, our brain goes into “fight or flight” mode, and our decisions become more rash as the more logical part of our brain is shut down. The mistakes that can be made under stress can vary from mistakes at work, to on the road, to your home life and relationships. Whatever the case, your mistakes can and will affect those around you.

Consider the effects of stress on a relationship: What mistakes have you made when you were feeling down? How could you have allotted yourself more time to compose yourself before reacting?


Stress has the most severe effect on those you are closest to. In a recent study, it was found that childhood obesity is linked to parental stress. Why? Because parents who have higher stress levels tend to make poorer shopping and nutrition decisions. This causes them to buy more junk food for the home, and dinners tend to be less nutritious. Stressed parents also spend less time with their children. Consequently, all of these factors contribute to childhood obesity. Your stressed-out decisions have direct, negative effects on the people in your life. When you feel stressed, it’s crucial to give yourself time to think, or to utilize a therapeutic tool such as breathing exercises.

Image © Radharani/shutterstock


Stress also breaks down your intimate relationships. Outside stressors can ruin a relationship. In fact, relationships exposed to high amounts of stress for long periods of time are almost always guaranteed to fail. When you are stressed, your perception of everything is heightened and you become more sensitive — which only causes more conflict and communication issues. Not knowing how to help you, your partner is left feeling disconnected and hopeless, threatening their mental state as well.

In order to avoid stress breaking down your relationships, learn how to manage stress in a healthy, effective way. Accept that life is happening for you instead of to you. Also, tell yourself that everyone has ups and downs, but a temporary setback shouldn’t create a major roadblock when it comes to the success of your relationships.

Header Image © baranq/shutterstock
Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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