Being in a relationship can make us feel vulnerable and emotionally exposed. If you are prone to stress and doubt or have been hurt in earlier relationships, your relationships anxiety can build to a level that’s hard to deal with. In a generally healthy relationship, you’ll want to find practical ways to deal with anxiety if you’re prone to experiencing it.
1. Review potential causes
Relationships have peaks and troughs. In a troubled relationship, arguments could flare up and stay unresolved. In these cases, you’ll rightfully be rethinking your relationship. However, it’s normal to have issues from time to time in a healthy relationship, and you should aim to resolve these hiccups in a respectful and gentle manner.
You might be dealing with specific problems such as money, jealousy, doubt, and fear of abandonment. When there’s loss of trust, a feeling of walking on eggshells, long-term stress, or excessive negativity, your relationship can feel challenging, leading to anxiety. If potential causes such as these exist and compound your anxiety, you might want to seek professional help to navigate your way out of it.
2. Avoid jumping to conclusions
Admit the problem could be entirely imaginary and due to your own overthinking. Be realistic about what you can sense and read in your partner. If you have doubts, be proactive and communicate with your partner. Don’t assume the worst.
When your partner talks about their feelings, be receptive and open to what they’re saying. Avoid jumping to conclusions about what they’re trying to communicate to you. Don’t assume any negative feelings are because of you.
3. Accept there are no perfect relationships
Every relationship has its issues, and you won’t always be in the same mindset or emotional state as your partner. You’ll have disagreements and this is natural. Having the odd disagreement doesn’t mean your relationship is in trouble or unhealthy.
4. Recognise every relationship is different
Having problematic relationships in the past can make you distrustful of your current partner, but it’s important to realise that every relationship is different. If you’ve been hurt in the past, avoid bringing those feeling into the current relationship. Recognise your partner is a different person, with different motivations and attributes. If you realise you’ve been holding on to a past relationship, let it go so its shadow doesn’t hang over this one.
5. Affirm the positives
We can sometimes focus too much on the negatives and forget the qualities we love in our partners. Instead of dwelling on negatives, take regular time-outs to celebrate the good things in your relationship. Focus on what you love about your partner and the things he or she does for you. Concentrating on the positives can make you feel more secure and allow you to fully feel the love your partner has for you.
6. Seek security in yourself
Your own self-confidence can be a powerful way to counter anxiety in a relationship. Rather than giving your partner all responsibility for your happiness, you take some of it back and become more self-assured. This can lighten the pressure on your partner and it can ease relationship tension.
7. Connect with your partner
Make an effort to communicate and connect with your partner. If you’re encountering challenges in your relationship, one strategy to take is to start over anew. Clear old out emotions and perceptions and start dating as if you have just met. From here you could rebuild and rediscover the trust you had.
Connecting with your partner can also mean exchanging needs. Sit down and have a discussion about what each partner needs from the relationship. Work from your lists to do the best you can to satisfy each other’s needs.
Physical affection is also important for re-engaging with your partner. Touching, holding, and otherwise showing physical affection could help you recreate your connection and strengthen your trust to reduce anxiety.
8. Target your anxiety
Daily meditation can make you more resilient to stress while deep breathing can alleviate stress. Exercising daily, taking time-outs, deep breathing, and getting enough sleep are also strategies to consider as they can help manage your anxiety. Explore different ways to deal with anxiety and find the most effective ones for you.
9. Stay mindful
Research has found being mindful is associated with greater capacity to deal with relationship stress. Mindfulness is also associated with higher relationship satisfaction.
Mindfulness means you’re open and receptive to what’s taking place. While the word might suggest mental activity, mindfulness refers to a receptive, observing state without judgement. When you’re mindful, you’re not necessarily thinking, comparing, or evaluating what’s happening.
Mindfulness could promote connection and closeness because you’re more likely to be considering your partner’s thoughts, emotions, and welfare. Since you’re witnessing emotions, you could be less likely to react impulsively and destructively to them. When you feel anxious about your relationship, try observing and witnessing rather than judging and overthinking.
Overcome your relationship anxiety with these tips
Avoiding overthinking and jumping to conclusions could be the key to overcoming your relationship anxiety. Other ways to minimise anxiety are practising mindfulness and targeting anxiety with stress busters. Find the solution right for you, and connect with a psychologist if you have any doubts.
The Centre for Human Potential is a trusted psychologist coaching practice dedicated to promoting good mental health and emotional wellbeing for our clients. To find out more about how we can assist you with overcoming relationship anxiety, contact us for a discussion.