Dr. Sharon Buchalter, CEO and Founder of Products on the Go®, has made it her life’s work to bring more happiness and less stress to people’s lives. This week Products on the Go dives into the issues of busy lives, and what effect these issues can have on intimacy.

We hear it all the time “Americans are always stressed and overworked,” but do you ever stop to realize how true this statement is? In a study conducted by the Earth Institute at Columbia University they found Americans are more stressed and more unhappy than our counterparts in other countries. What’s more, Americans are also fatter and sicker than people in any of the other first world countries. It may be hard to believe this is. Think about it we have any information at our finger tips, we can travel the world in a moment’s notice, and everything is made to be quick and easy. However, the heartbreaking reality is stress is all around us, and it has a very real impact on the most important part of our lives.

This enormous amount of stress and unwanted illness placed on us has damaging effects in every part of our lives. You might not realize it, but one area that can really suffer is intimacy with our partners. With daily pressures, you might go through an entire day and realize you haven’t looked your partner in the eyes once. Intimacy is vital in maintaining a healthy relationship. In a Psychology Today article Dr. Barton Goldsmith, author of Emotional Fitness or Intimacy, wrote “without [intimacy], your ability to take on the world can be greatly compromised.” Intimacy has the power to significantly change the way we think, and feel. Intimacy doesn’t just mean heading to the bedroom with your partner either, it is connecting with the one you love on a deeper level than solely physical. The greatest intimate moments usually aren’t the ones in the bedroom. It’s the ones outside of it, like watching the sunset with your partner’s arms wrapped around your waist.

If stress has caused a lack of intimacy in your relationship, it can seem difficult to get back to that understanding and safe place. Building intimacy doesn’t need to be some grand gesture. It can simply mean kissing your partner before they head out the door to work, or holding their hand while walking through the grocery store. Intimacy also involves being kind, and generous to your loved one. Opening the car door, or picking up their favorite beer for you both to share while sitting on the patio are wonderful actions that build intimacy. Little expressions of love, and caring go a long way in bringing intimacy back into your relationship.

Don’t let stress steal one more day of your relationship. In a quote from Professor Brene Brown, who has done TED Talks on vulnerability, “connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.” So take a moment to hug your partner and tell them your favorites things about them, and take the first steps in rebuilding that connection. Intimacy is powerful, bring it back into your relationship and kick stress out.