Women are more likely than men to report having a great deal of stress, says the American Psychological Association, and over half of all women surveyed said their stress has increased over the past five years. The need for rest and relaxation among the female population is widespread. Encouraging your partner to take the necessary steps to rejuvenate and unwind involves intentional care and a bit of creativity.
Progressive muscle relaxation is one way to help your girlfriend recharge. According to the Mayo Clinic, this exercise focuses on slowly tensing and releasing each muscle group. As your partner participates in this activity, it will recenter her attention on something calming, increasing the awareness of her body. Encourage her to sit comfortably in a chair. Then, challenge her to tense and relax the muscles in her toes for a few seconds and progressively work up to her neck and head, taking one body part at a time. Gently call out each step as she moves through the technique, helping her to soak in the calming energy.
Prompting your girlfriend to chat with her mom is another way to help her relax. A study conducted by The University of Wisconsin found that phone conversations and face-to-face talks between mothers and daughters actually triggered hormonal responses. These effects led to a drop in cortisol, which is often associated with stress, and a rise in oxytocin, a hormone linked to pleasure. Offer to treat your girlfriend to lunch with her mom or help her to set aside some time to make that needed phone call.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive, exercise is actually one of the most proven forms of creating calm. In an article titled "Physical Activity Reduces Stress," the Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension. It reports that even five minutes of aerobic activity can have a soothing effect. Put on your running shoes, while handing a pair to your girlfriend. Take a few minutes a day to jog around the block or get your hearts pumping in a one-on-one basketball scrimmage.
Kissing and cuddling your significant other can lead to a greater sense of relaxation. A study released in "Psychosomatic Medicine, Journal of Behavioral Medicine," found that increasing warm touch among couples has a de-stressing influence. Hold your girlfriend's hand, hug for a few seconds longer than usual, or offer a back massage. These simple gestures can lead to a more peaceful and relaxed partner.
- American Psychological Association: Gender and Stress
- Mayo Clinic: Try These Steps to Reduce Stress
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Instant Messages vs. Speech: Hormones and Why We Still Need Each Other
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Physical Activity Reduces Stress
- Psychosomatic Medicine: Influence of a "Warm Touch" Support Enhancement Intervention Among Married Couples on Ambulatory Blood Pressure, Oxytocin, Alpha Amylase, and Cortisol
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