Anxiety about a relationship can rear its head in many ways, including always being concerned with monitoring your partner’s phone, habitually checking their email and social media accounts, regularly checking in to know where they are and what they’re doing, feeling the need to test your partner in order to make them prove their love to you, or constantly jumping to conclusions and accusing them of wrong doing.
Now here are some actionable steps for coping with these uncomfortable and consuming thoughts.
Communication is complicated, especially for those affected by relationship anxiety. Often times individuals with anxiety have a hard time expressing their feelings and may feel misunderstood. Even when it seems easier to shy away from situations that require addressing your anxiety, it’s important to not push others away or put up walls. You must be honest with yourself and your partner and not shut down.
If you do, let your partner know the distance they’re feeling is due to anxiety and not because of them. Communicate if you need space, and let them know when you’re ready to talk. And of course, ask your partner to communicate back, and acknowledge their struggles too.
2. Self Discovery
Even when we strive to be at our best and reach our full potential, we’re not always there. In fact, we rarely ever are. Your potential is something you continuously strive for. It’s a process, not a destination. Keeping this in mind, acknowledge that you can’t start every relationship at your very best. At the same time, don’t search for a partner in hopes they will fill the tender places in your life.
Self discovery is important because it allows us to mindfully listen to what is going on inside of ourselves in order to come to accept ourselves as we are. Building confidence in who you are is a great way to overcome anxiety.
The process of self discovery can be lengthy. If you’re not sure where to start, a few steps include writing down your talents and acknowledging your uniqueness, finding a support buddy to help walk you through this journey, and envisioning your future self while including all of your aspirations and goals.
If you’re struggling to discover or accept who you are, seeking individual or group therapy is a great way to begin finding understanding. Speaking with a counselor can help you examine your struggles and shortcomings in a different way than with someone you can trust. Therapy not only helps you work through stuff, but it also supplies you with the tools to deal with future stuff. Verbalizing your feelings with a counselor can reshape your coping mechanisms and leads to better emotional wellness in your daily life.
4. Change Your Inner Dialogue
What we choose to pay attention to shapes our mentality and forms our reality. Some may feel they are a victim of anxiety, and internalise this mentality. But, there is a way to perceive your reality a different way that can lead to inner peace.
First you must become aware of what you internally say to yourself. Meditation is a good way to become aware of your thoughts, and whether you think positively or negatively. Once you have become aware of your thinking, and if you find yourself thinking of something negative, purposefully shift your thinking to something positive. You might also practice living in the present, by concentrating on what’s happening now. Focusing on what you have to be grateful for and your skills and talents is also beneficial on changing negative patterns into more positive ones.
5. Self Care
Taking care of yourself is an important and powerful management strategy. Beyond eating right and exercising (which is paramount), taking care of yourself also includes relaxation, meditation, spending time with family and friends, getting enough sleep, or keeping a journal. These strategies are tools to manage anxiety and should not be considered a cure-all. They can be very useful in trying to make a fundamental change in your life.
6. Set Boundaries
Establishing a sense of boundaries and limits helps give you a clearer picture of your personal needs, feelings, and decisions. Boundaries help you feel safe, empowered, and able to relax, leading to less anxiety and less compulsive damaging behaviours.