How to Manage a Woman's Stress

Sure, you can't take your woman's stress away. However, you can often lift her spirits and make her feel better, experts say, by offering a sympathetic ear, solace, and an embrace.

"I tell men, if you want to score points with her, you have to learn to just listen," says Ingrid Schweiger, Ph.d, a relationship expert. "And if you are listening, that means your mouth is not moving. Listening is a skill that has to be practiced."

When a woman is under a lot of stress, what she wants the most is someone who will just let her talk it out, she says. "Just five minutes of intense, effective listening goes a long way," Schweiger explains. "Unlike men, women aren't looking for the offer of a solution."

The basic difference between a stressed out man and a stressed out woman is that the man wants a quick fix while the woman wants to vent, says Stacey Kaiser, relationship expert and licensed psychotherapist.

"So just an offer of really listening and taking it in can be a tremendous thing for a woman to have when she is stressed," Kaiser says.

Besides being a good listener, you can often relieve a woman's stress by helping out with daily chores around the house, Schweiger says. A woman's stress level builds up quickly if she's not only under pressure at work, but then is faced once she gets home with mountains of laundry, a kitchen that looks like a tornado whirled through, and an empty refrigerator.  Try to anticipate what she might need done, and do it. If the woman has to start making lists of who should do what, and delegating certain chores to her man, this can make her angry, resentful and more stressed, Schweiger says. "Help with chores whether you are supervised or not," she advises.

Try to take on as many of the chores as possible,  Kaiser advises. "If the children need some last minute item, you be the one to find it for them," she says. "And go out of your way to not do the things that really annoy her, like leaving your socks on the floor."

Besides listening and pitching in, physical touch can help reduce your woman's stress, Schweiger says. This does not entail using any words at all, but simply folding her into your arms in a huge hug. "A hug can make a woman feel comforted and it can also be a powerful aphrodisiac," Schweigers explains. "Just some simple touching can be very soothing."

It's also important to monitor your own level of stress. Consider practicing mindful relaxation, since your breathing and heart rate both slow down when you're relaxed.  You may also want to consider yoga or meditation.

The most basic relaxation response and one that can be very helpful is a two-step approach that was developed in the 1970s by Harvard Medical School researcher Herbert Benson. First, close our eyes and focus your breathing. Next, choose a word or a phrase and keep repeating it. As thoughts come into your mind, don't open your eyes and give up. Just let the thought float away and get back to repeating your word or phrase. Do this for 10 to 20 minutes a day - twice, if possible.

Once you're feeling a little less stressed and more serene, you may be able to transfer some of this serenity to your woman, and both of you will be that much happier.