What To Do If You Think Your Partner Is Suffering From Stress

Stress caused by issues at work, worries about money, concerns about family members or health problems, can have a big impact on relationships. It can create a disconnection between a couple leading to communication issues; all at a time when a partner needs more support, not less, from their other half.

All of this can be prevented if you are aware of the subtle changes when your partner is stressed. Being vigilant about each other’s mental health as well as physical health is important, but often it can be difficult to address because symptoms of stress are misdiagnosed, or hidden by the person suffering.

Being proactive about supporting your partner when they get stressed can bring you closer to each other and develop a new level of intimacy.

Stress: Supporting Your Partner

What help can you provide to support your partner if they are suffering from stress?

  • Become aware of the signs and symptoms of stress: everyday life is busy and hectic and it’s easy to get wrapped in your own world. If your partner is stressed and not communicating enough about his/her feelings you will miss the signs. So make an effort to recognise these signs early when you see your partner struggling. How are they coping, are they eating healthily, are they sleeping well, what are their mood and energy levels like?
  • Be vigilant: women tend to get more stressed than men but hide their anxiety really well and don't talk about their feelings. By staying vigilant, talking to your partner, providing love and support so when they are struggling you are present and this will strengthen your partnership.
  • Being compassionate: when you see that your partner is stressed and they withdraw and are agitated, help by showing them kindness. Show them that you care, even if they are difficult to empathise with. Don't get cross because they feel stressed give them some space, and show compassion for yourself and for them too. In these circumstances, self-care is an important too as you need to be strong to support your partner and anchor your relationship.
  • Get your partner to talk to you: Communicate with your partner by asking them what is wrong. Say “You seem to find things difficult, are you OK? How can I help?” Let your partner know that you are there to talk and listen. They will feel supported when they are stressed, be present without judgements or irritation. This will require you to be patient with them and listen to their worries and concerns.

Understanding Our Differences

If you’re in a heterosexual relationship it is important to understand that your partner's response to stress will be different to yours. Women and men have distinct reactions when they are stressed.

When a person is stressed the body releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which bind together. This causes raised blood pressure and higher levels of blood sugar. Then there is a release of oxytocin from the brain opposing the release of adrenalin and cortisol by relaxing the persons’ body.

When men get stressed less oxytocin is released than in women and therefore they react to adrenaline and cortisol more strongly. This results in a ‘flight or fight response’ that may cause them to be angry, or to repress their feelings and become withdrawn. Typically men care more about competing and their performance in the tasks they are involved in. They like being appreciated, are open to new ideas, like to push themselves to the limit and will accept assistance if they need to.

Women on the other hand, because of higher oxytocin levels, handle stress by nurturing their loved ones; this creates a desire to protect their family, particularly young children. Women’s feelings of competency in relationships are closely linked to their self-esteem and individuality. They like to feel wanted, cared for and like their partner to appreciate them and voice these expressions openly so that they feel good.

Getting Help For Stress

So how do you deal with stress that your partner is experiencing?

Every day as a part of daily life we deal with stress. When you are in a relationship, even if both you and your partner are connecting effectively, there will be some situations when one or the other is continuing to work but has no energy left. The love and support are all you both need to keep going. Keep your positive frame of mind even if you find it difficult and produce resources mentally and emotionally to assist your partner.

This will generate a healthy foundation and solid base for your relationship and build on the good feeling and connection between both of you. Create stress reducing habits and set up a system that both of you have to check in if there is anything you need support with. Do an activity together like a new gym class or Pilates to renew your relationship.

As the person closest to them, you’re also the person who might suggest that they need help from an outside source. This could be something you do together, such as taking a course in meditation and deep breathing, or you might want your partner to see a therapist to get one-on-one support.

It can be difficult to broach the subject of ‘needing help’, but it’s a conversation that you must have if you feel your partner is not able to manage their stress. Research suitable options that your partner is most likely to be receptive to, like cognitive behaviour therapy, and explain why you think they should seek help. Remember to be supportive, loving and share your concerns for their health. Sometimes a ‘do it for me’ approach will allow those people who are trying to hide stress or keep a stiff upper lip, open up and accept help.

Finally, remember to get support for yourself too. It can be very hard living with someone who is suffering from stress or depression, especially when you need to be the ‘strong one’. It may help to talk to trusted friends or just to get some time to yourself by going to the gym or other activities. It may also help to talk to a therapist who can help you look after your mental health, and support your partner at the same time.


If you would like to discuss any of the above with me please get in touch. Contact me on +44 (0)796 715 1790 or email info@formindssake.com

 


Losing weight: Men vs. Women (The Difference Hormones Make)

The differences between male and female bodies are obvious in one glance. Along with having different body shapes, there are other differences that impact on weight loss, such as men generally enjoying high-protein foods such as meat, while women love to eat carbohydrates. These important differences are often ignored in information about healthy eating and weight loss, but there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for men and women, both sexes need a weight loss plan designed just for them.

Generally, when people get into their thirties and then forties, they struggle to keep off the pounds – the middle-aged spread. Women especially have difficulty with weight loss, and this is because of the difference between how men and women store fat – and the hormones that influence this.

Women store their fat in their breasts, thighs and hips. The hormone oestrogen causing the storage of fat in a woman’s thighs and hips and there is an impact on a woman’s breasts due to both the hormones progesterone and oestrogen. Men tend to store fat around the middle of their bodies due to the hormone testosterone and have lean arms and legs. Women have a monthly cycle (menstrual cycle), which fluctuates their hormones and there is an impact on how they function during this phase: how they look, feel and this can cause them to overeat. This then determines their fat storage and whether their bodies lose weight or gain weight.

How Hormones Affect Weight Loss

Hormones – oestrogen and progesterone work in conjunction with each other and influences a woman’s ability to burn fat and the areas that this fat will be taken from. This fat storage is not an intake of calories but a hormonal balance issue.

There is a myth that a diet with low-calorie foods and exercise will cause a woman to lose weight but stress is an important factor too in weight loss. This is due to a high oestrogen level as it increases storage of fat in a woman around thighs and hips. Progesterone combined with oestrogen stops the storage of fat, but if you are in a high-stress situation there is less progesterone action.

Testosterone is an important hormone that helps men with the fat loss, muscle building, bone density and tone of their skin. When men are at their peak they tend to lose weight easily. Many men have to just cut back on what they eat and they tend to gradually drop their weight while women find this process harder. However as the testosterone levels in men decreases, weight loss gets harder and their bone density lowers, this can also impact on mood and may cause feelings of depression.

Weight Loss For Men And Women

Instead of prescribing a diet, exercise plan and weight loss tips for both men and women, we must take into account the unique action of hormones each sex. Here are my individual healthy eating tips for women and men:

Women, you should.

  • Try to eat healthier and smaller portions,
  • Exercise consistently and regularly; include weight training (3 – 5 times a week),
  • Sleep well, eat foods with a good source of protein,
  • Try and cut back on the coffee, carbonated drinks like coke, sprite,
  • Eat green vegetables, increase fibre foods,
  • Take supplements (Vitamin D, fish oil and calcium),
  • Lower intake of dairy and grain foods,
  • Drink plenty of water, green tea.

Men should…

  • An exercise regime designed to strengthen muscle mass and strength. They should do some weight training,
  • Eat plenty of protein rich foods and healthy foods,
  • Reduce their stress levels that increase a hormone cortisol (which is important for fight or flight response) in their system but lowers their testosterone level,
  • Sleep well every night 8 -10 hours,
  • Try to cut back on the alcohol consumption.

Psychological Impact On Weight Loss

Apart from the physiological differences, psychologically men and women are different too. Generally, men don't see their obesity as a problem and refuse to view themselves as overweight even if they are. They are not dissatisfied by their bodies and weight like women are. They tend not to see their weight issues and assume if they really wanted to they could achieve their desired weight.

On the other hand, women turn to food for comfort and eat due to emotional reasons. They have cravings and their mood with stress triggers them to overeat. If a woman is happy about her shape and size/weight she will feel confident about herself and achieve her goals. A woman will plan a healthy eating programme, shop according to that and will be strict with her weight loss and exercise regularly.

One of the most common reasons that men and woman are different is a woman needs a lot of support from friends and family (social support) and psychological support. While men don't seem to need the same kind of support, they have a simple plan and will stay on the weight loss programme longer than a woman.

If you are a woman of 40 years and want help with your goals to lose the weight you are struggling with Download my free: 10 Simple Steps To Weight Loss Success.

I also offer a free 30 min free consultation to identify the barriers you have to lose the weight you desire. Contact me on +44 (0)796 715 1790 or email info@formindssake.com


5 Powerful Ways To Build Self-Confidence

"Low self-confidence isn't a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered--just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better." - Barrie Davenport

Self-confidence is described as an important aspect that works in every area of a person’s life and some of us struggle with it. It is a known fact that people who lack in self-confidence, find success in what they do difficult to achieve.

Self-confidence is a state of an individual’s mind that can be improved through positive thought, language, learning and practice which will help boost your levels of confidence. Self-confidence comes from feeling good about yourself, accepting and believing in yourself (self-esteem), believing in your skills, knowledge and experience which in turn help improve your confidence and self-esteem.

The Difference Between Self-Confidence And Self-Esteem

Not many people know that there is a difference between confidence and self-esteem, they’re often confused as the same thing. Self-esteem is described as the way we look and feel about ourselves – our feeling of self-worth or whether we feel valued amongst our friends and society. Confidence is described as our capability to carry out our roles and tasks successfully in a manner so we can achieve our goals. Some people who have low self-esteem can have low self-confidence as well.

Here are 5 powerful ways you can build self-confidence:

  1. Plan and prepare when you think you will face a difficult situation: For example, when you have an interview for a new job you will have to practice and prepare intensively so you gain knowledge and can feel confident, you can do the same for other situations too. Whether this is walking into a new fitness class, delivering a presentation at work, meeting a prospective client, or meeting your partner's family for the first time – build your confidence in your ability to cope with these situations by preparing in advance.
  1. Teach yourself, or get support, in learning some valuable skills like decision-making and problem solving that can help when dealing with unusual or new situations. When you feel insecure about your task the knowledge you have acquired and experience will help with building confidence.

For example, if you are having your first baby and are nervous about how you will cope. You will do a lot of reading, join NCT groups and learn all you can to deal with this new adventure and gain knowledge.

  1. Create a positive motivational state through the power of positive thoughts.

"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." - Helen Keller

Positive affirmations, working on your strengths and by feeling good about your successes you can achieve your goals. Learning from your mistakes, not dwelling on past mistakes and by not making these to be bigger than they are, you will be able to highlight the things you are good at. Negative thoughts can damage your confidence and inhibits your ability to move forward.

  1. Improve your self-belief and confidence: Condition your mind to believe in yourself and don't dwell on your mistakes. Learn to take control, praise yourself, challenge any negative thoughts and learn to relax. Try to take any criticism as a learning experience, gain perspective, be assertive with the things you like to do, and try not to react or be defensive as this will knock your self-esteem.
  1. Develop and learn mental toughness as this will build resilience: build strong self-belief, persevere through the challenges that life throws at you and respond to difficult situations with the perspective that you can learn from.

"Being positive does not mean that you don't have negative thoughts. It means you don't let those thoughts control your life." Anon

Deep breathing and training your mind to stay calm and focus on what causes you stress and anxiety. Persist and change the things you can, and embrace new challenges.

These powerful strategies to increase your self-confidence can be enhanced with Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This form of therapy will help you focus on positive thoughts, and put those negative ones in perspective. If you find that negative thoughts undermine your self-confidence and ability to perform at your best, CBT can really help to change the way you think.

Building self-confidence is a skill that has to be mastered and learned like any other skill.


For a confidential chat about your concerns and to explore further how CBT can help you with confidence issues, please contact me on 07967 151790 or email:info@formindssake.com


How Can Hypnotherapy Help Me Stop Smoking?

If you want to find out how effective hypnotherapy for giving up smoking is, congratulations you’ve come to the right place! But more importantly, if you’ve made the decision to stop smoking for good, you’ve taken the first step to success.

However much pressure you may be under to give up smoking from family and friends if you’re not ready to quit you’ll find it very difficult. Once you’ve made that decision for yourself to give up, you increase your chances of success dramatically.

Hypnotherapy For Giving Up Smoking

I know that if you’re exploring hypnosis to give up smoking, you’ve already come to that decision and are probably exploring the various methods available. Broadly speaking there are two smoking cessation methods used: gradual smoking cessation, perhaps using nicotine replacement therapy, and cold turkey (more on this in this post on Is Cold Turkey The Best Way To Quit Smoking?).

However, neither method tackles the behaviours and habits you’ve formed around smoking; the reason you reach for the cigarettes when you feel stressed, or the associations you may have between smoking and doing other things like having a drink with friends, or a midmorning coffee. These habits and behaviours are just as controlling as your nicotine addiction and this is where hypnotherapy can really help; changing the thoughts and feelings you have that trigger a desire to smoke, helping you take control of your responses to these and increasing the chance of giving up smoking for good.

How Does Hypnosis For Smoking Work?

Hypnosis is described as a state of altered consciousness; when you are hypnotised you are in a state of deep relaxation and can make changes you desire.

Hypnosis is used in the treatment for various psychological issues such as giving up smoking, weight loss, panic attacks, low self-esteem etc. The collaboration between the client and therapist helps to create change in the client’s habits and behaviours through hypnosis when the mind is open to positive suggestions. At no time do you lose control of your actions during clinical hypnotherapy, instead you will have a sense of being in complete control and able to make good decisions for yourself and your health?

Hypnotherapy is a popular and effective treatment for stopping smoking. Typically a course of hypnotherapy for giving up smoking will include:

  • Identifying the triggers that cause you to smoke that might be emotional, environmental, or social,
  • Support dealing with these triggers so they can be managed in a less self-destructive way,
  • Help controlling cravings,
  • Breaking unhelpful thoughts or unconscious beliefs that smoking is beneficial in some way – for example if you feel you need to smoke to be creative or to help with problem-solving etc.
  • Help you to get to understand your addiction and specifically what it is doing to your body,
  • Work with you on your internal conflict about your smoking habit and replace it with positive and empowering thoughts,
  • Deep breathing techniques and 7:11 breathing
  • Teaching self-hypnosis,
  • Cognitive behaviour techniques.

Hypnosis for smoking helps clients with their unhelpful thoughts and put the smoking habit into perspective. They are encouraged to see the damage to their health that smoking causes and the long-term consequences of their habit.

Some of us are unaware that our bodies will start repairing the damage after quitting smoking very quickly:

  • After the first 8 hours of no smoking, the collection of carbon monoxide exits your body,
  • In 5 days - one week the nicotine will not be in present in your body and your sense of smell and taste will improve,
  • In three months time your lungs with function better,
  • And one years time you will have saved money and your risk from suffering from a stroke is greatly reduced.

While these physical improvements and health benefits are greatly desired, the habits that you have developed from smoking over time can still be very hard to break.

Next Steps…

Hypnotherapy for giving up smoking can be used alongside a gradual smoking cessation therapy such as nicotine patches, or if you wish to go cold turkey. Whichever smoking cessation method you plan to use it’s advisable to talk to a clinical hypnotherapist early on so they can help support you through the process. This may mean addressing key issues that are underlying your smoking habit, and resolving these so that you have a much better chance of successfully quitting for good.

Many people come to a hypnotherapy thinking it is a quick or a magic fix treatment for their smoking habit. For some people, just one session is enough to quit smoking but others need a few sessions to achieve success from the harmful effects of smoking.

The ultimate goal of hypnotherapy is you taking the control back from your smoking habit or addiction.

If you have any questions about hypnosis for smoking or would like to speak to me about your specific issues, either leave a comment below or you can email me on info@formindssake.com or call +44 (0)796 715 1790.


"After three sessions I have successfully stopped smoking after 27 years. Through the combination of hypnotherapy and NLP that Andrea specialises in I now have effective coping strategies in place for the difficult moments and situations that inevitably arise. I feel confident to refer to myself now as a non-smoker, which was something I would have never even contemplated in the past. You have to want to stop smoking but when you are really ready this is a really effective way to do it." - Miranda B