Marital stress can slow down heart disease recovery: How to deal with it
As much as we would like to imagine that life is a fairy tale, it’s sadly not! And being in a relationship is not perfect, it comes with its own share of problems. Most couples experience relationship stress, which can even lead to health issues. That’s right, marital stress not only creates unnecessary conflict in your life but can lead to major health problems. In fact, it can make matters worse for people recovering from a heart attack, found a study published in the American Heart Association. Here’s everything you need to know about it!
The link between marital stress and heart attack recovery
As per the study, marital stress for people between the ages of 18-55 years was linked to problems in recovery for people after a heart attack in comparison to people who have less stress in their marriage. Women were more likely to experience severe marital stress. So, more stress in your marriage means worse outcomes for people recovering from a heart attack.
The study showed that people who reported moderate or severe marital stress were 67 per cent more likely to suffer chest pain and nearly 50 per cent more likely to be readmitted to the hospital as compared to their counterparts who reported mild to no marital stress. Participants who had significant marital stress also had poorer quality of life.
This study emphasises the value of assessing the mental health of cardiac patients and is in line with earlier research that indicates that marital stress has a more negative impact on women’s health. So, managing stress in your marriage is vital to keeping your overall health in check.
How to deal with marital stress?
Health Shots asked mental health expert and founder of The Mindful Foundation, Geetika Arora Bhojak, to understand how one can handle marital stress. Here are some tips shared by the expert to help you deal with it.
1. Discuss finances
Financial stress can be a major obstacle to a successful and supportive marriage. Whether you want separate accounts for spending or joint accounts for monthly bills must be discussed clearly, without disrespecting your partner. Keeping a track of spending can help prepare for the future and save for unforeseen circumstances.
2. Communication is vital
It may sound trite, but open communication really is the key to a happy marriage. There is no such thing as ‘too much communication’. Misunderstandings can be the root of doubt and resentment, which can only be avoided through dialogue. A lack of discussion often leads to partners being unaware of how the other person is feeling. Eventually, this creates a chasm of distance and misgivings, where we become inconsiderate or worse, indifferent to each other. It is important to talk about even the mundane things at the end of the day to help bring closeness and intimacy into the relationship.
3. Balance of responsibilities
In Indian society, women are still expected to be superhumans and juggle, both work and domestic responsibilities seamlessly. However, this precedent can be harmful to the relationship as it leads to resentment and unresolved stress. There must be an equal balance of responsibilities whether both spouses are working or not. Couples who love and understand each other must work towards each other’s strengths rather than pick on their weaknesses. It is all about knowing your limits and supporting each other.
4. Recognise the importance of quality time
Often, couples tend to get lost in the juggernaut of marital responsibilities – kids, chores, and jobs. Stress relief can come from quality time with your spouse and personal time, which is important for maintaining and nurturing a marriage. It can help couples appreciate one another, enjoy one another’s company, have fun, deepen their understanding, communicate more, and relieve stress.
5. Spend time alone
It is also important to learn to enjoy spending time with yourself, rather than getting dependent on your partner for activities. Taking up a hobby or going for a run can be effective ways in the day where you can take time out for yourself, while your spouse takes care of the house and children.
6. Let go
Forever is a long time, and humans make mistakes. Holding on and keeping grudges can create distance between partners. Grudge holders feel angry all the time, while grudge recipients feel petty or mistreated. Don’t forget to discuss a subject in detail if you have one. Talk to your spouse if you still have not reached an agreement. Talking about the matter with a counsellor can help you get past it.