When Stress Goes Up, Relationships Go Down -- The Solution Is More Simple Than You Think | Rohini Ross
When Stress Goes Up, Relationships Go Down -- The Solution Is More Simple Than You Think

When Stress Goes Up, Relationships Go Down — The Solution Is More Simple Than You Think

Gallup recently released their latest annual update on the world’s emotional state and it shows that Americans’ Stress, Worry, and Anger Intensified in 2018. Highlights from the survey indicate that Americans are among the most stressed in the world. Nearly half of Americans are worried a lot, one in five are angry a lot, and younger Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 are among the most stressed, worried and angry.


When people feel stressed one of the main areas that is impacted in their life is their intimate relationships. So many clients come to me puzzled that they act their worst with those they love the most. I can relate. I have been humbled in this way myself in my marriage and even more embarrassingly with my daughters. 


What can be done about these increasing levels of stress, worry, and anger and how do you minimize the negative impact on your relationships?


The key to suffering less and experiencing more inner freedom and peace of mind is understanding where suffering comes from. We are conditioned to believe that we are victims of our experiences of emotional suffering. We are told we get stressed, anxious, or angry because of things that happen to us. The prevailing belief is that outside circumstances or character defects within ourselves cause our upset.


When it looks this way, we work at trying to improve ourselves and our circumstances. Meditate more, balance your schedule, work harder and smarter, hold better boundaries … then you will feel better. There are so many things you can work on and an infinite amount of things you can do to improve yourself and your life, but they are not the source of happiness.


Happiness and peace of mind are your natural state. You come into the world present. You aren’t born worrying. As you grow up, the conceptual mind develops, you create a sense of self and along with it, an experience of separation from your natural state. Insecurity is inherent in the experience of a separate self. There is no fixing that, but there is no need to because it is a concept, not a truth.


The good news is that when you understand that the experience of insecurity is a normal part of the human condition, you can relax into your humanness and have compassion for yourself when you get lost in your insecure thoughts. Believing insecure thoughts is the source of stress and unwanted behaviors are the by-product of that. It is not people’s lives and circumstances that are making Americans more stressed. It is the misunderstanding of where stress comes from that creates more suffering.


Stress is an inside job. Believing insecure thoughts is the source of stress.


Insecure thoughts are not the enemy. We all have them. And you can have them without them having you when you understand they are temporary. They don’t mean anything. They are just an experience you have. Seeing this makes it easier to not take them seriously and to ride out the experience more gracefully. You are not a fixed state. Your experience is created in the moment. One moment you feel insecure and unworthy, the next moment you completely forget about yourself and feel free and at ease being in life.


They key here is seeing that when you are not in your mind you feel good, and when you are thinking about yourself and evaluating how you are doing, you experience some level of insecurity. When you forget about you, you lose the made-up concept of “I”, and you are free. You feel your natural state of happiness. When you remember the concept of “I” and the sense of a separate identity, you suffer. We all do this all day long. We go in and out of thinking about ourselves. We go in and out of being present in the moment.


This is how human experience works. There is no escaping being human. 


Sydney Banks shared how we live in two worlds. The world of form and the world of the formless. Both are made of the same energy behind life. Understanding the world of form and our psychological nature helps us to navigate it more gracefully. We don’t need to change it when we understand it. We suffer less from our worry, stress, and anger when we understand they are the result of getting caught up in insecure thinking. When we see that our experience of insecurity is based on made-up ideas about life and ourselves, the insecure thoughts become less gripping. When we appreciate that we have a deeper nature beyond our constructed concepts, we can look beyond our personal thoughts in the direction of Source and Oneness. We identify less with our psychology which constantly changes, and more with the unchanging formless essence of who we really are. This is where the experience of okayness, safety, and security resides.


Experiencing your profound okayness independent of your emotions and circumstances is the key to having less stress and suffering. This is the solution.


Stress has nothing to do with your personality or what is going on in your life and everything to do with how much you take your insecure thoughts seriously. You can know you are okay even when you get caught up in insecure thoughts and have an insecure experience. You’re okay no matter what your emotional experience is. Having more perspective on your thoughts and feelings frees you up to be with what is more gracefully, no matter what your experience is. This will positively impact every area of your life, but in particular, it helps intimate relationships to be more graceful and enjoyable. 


The quality of our experience in a relationship is always a reflection of our state of mind. We experience our own thoughts — our own state of mind — not the other person. Our hearts naturally open to ourselves as we understand that we live in a world of thought, but that is not all of who we are. It is only a small piece of a bigger picture. We will never comprehend the bigger picture, but it has a feeling quality that we recognize when we have less on our mind. Having the understanding that it exists allows us to identify less with the small self we create and look in the direction of the full self that simply is. Being with your humanity with an open-heart will have a ripple effect on all the relationships in your life.


The freedom experienced when you identify less with your thoughts, beliefs, and concepts allows you to experience your wellbeing. An open heart is a natural by-product of this. A little bit of understanding this goes a long way toward reducing stress and worry. With less stress and worry, there is less anger and navigating life and relationships becomes easier and more graceful. 


Rohini Ross is passionate about helping people wake up to their full potential. She is a transformative coach, leadership consultant, a regular blogger for Thrive Global, and author of the short-read Marriage (The Soul-Centered Series Book 1) available on Amazon. You can get her free ebook Relationships here. Rohini has an international coaching and consulting practice based in Los Angeles helping individuals, couples, and professionals embrace all of who they are so they can experience greater levels of well-being, resiliency, and success. She is also the founder of The Soul-Centered Series: Psychology, Spirituality, and the Teachings of Sydney Banks. You can follow Rohini on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and watch her Vlogs with her husband. To learn more about her work go to her website, rohiniross.com.


  • Heather Daly

    06.05.2019 at 08:48 Reply

    Hi Rohini,
    I would love to understand how the 3P’s apply to high risk teenagers who are exposed to “toxic” stress. Many are sexually and physically abused on a regular basis, are in environments of extreme violence and have witnessed relatives being killed. They are not in environments conducive to growth. The idea that stress is an inside job for these kids is a hard idea to grasp. I have found that there is a type of stress that is just simply toxic to young people’s developing brains. I would love your thoughts on this. Thank you!!

    • Rohini

      06.05.2019 at 16:05 Reply

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks so much for your comment.

      The 3Ps are not a tool or a technique so they cannot be applied to situations. Instead, they are an understanding. When people have a glimpse of the truth of this understanding for themselves, change and transformation happens within.

      The Principles are a description of how the human experience is created. We all work the same way no matter what our circumstances are. Just like our human bodies work the same way independent of where we live. Our experience of stress is always a reflection of our personal thoughts. People can be in the same situation and have different experiences and consequently, have a different physiological impact because their experience is based on their own thoughts in the moment.

      When people understand how their minds works, this dramatically reduces suffering no matter what their circumstances and helps them to connect with their own innate resilience. This is in turn allows them to be as responsive as possible to their current circumstances.

      As I’m sure you know from USM, experience is always an inside job for us as humans. Understanding this is the key to empowerment and less suffering. Viktor Frankel demonstrated this in his experience in the concentration camps. He is not an exception to the human experience. He is the example of how we work, what is possible and how circumstances do not dictate our experience.

      In order to share this with others, it is important to see this for yourself in an experiential way. Seeing for yourself the clarity of how everyone’s mind works the same way and how experience is created internally and sharing from your personal experience of this is what has impact on others. If you would like to have a conversation about this, please let me know.

      Here are some resources you might find helpful.



      Mara Gleason – Keynote at Chicago Peace Summit


      Dr Bill Pettit: PTSD and Trauma

      Somebody Should Have Told Us by Jack Pranksy

      Modello: A Story of Hope for the Inner City and Beyond: An Inside-Out Model of Prevention and Resiliency in Action

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