In this article I will discuss how anxiety affects relationships and what steps can be taken in order to overcome it.
The unwanted consequences of silenced emotions include deterioration of our mental health, well-being and overall capacity to cope with the problems that arise in our life. The emotions that have been silenced and held affect our capacity to identify feelings in a realistic and effective way, often leading to anxiety.
Nowadays, many relationships are affected by anxiety. People that suffer from anxiety in relationships live in uncertainty and doubt, even if the relationship seems to go well.
Their worries about the relationship control them. It is difficult to understand why people would distance themselves from their partner when everything seems to function normally. People with anxiety in relationships could get so worried they might get hurt, that they choose to give up love completely.
To a certain degree, we all experience a level of anxiety in love. Either consciously or unconsciously, when we are deeply in love, we all fear to get hurt. But for many of us this doubt is not dominating our thoughts and feelings. A certain degree of anxiety is healthy in relationships.
”Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained”. -Arthur Somers Roche
When does anxiety become a problem in our relationships?
However, when anxiety takes over your mind, you become suspicious, paranoid, mistrustful and fearful. Anxiety makes you feel overwhelmed, uneasy and tense. You lose your self-confidence and you stop enjoying your relationship. Anxiety programs your mind to look for any trigger to reinforce the feelings of doubt, fear, paranoia and worries.
Moreover, anxiety can take over other areas of your life, affection your well-being, productivity and reasoning. Fear and worry become the order of the day and you find it more and more difficult to concentrate on the day to day tasks of life.
Anxiety can damage or even destroy your relationship. By stealing the pleasure and connection between you and your partner, anxiety can poison your relationship. If you constantly think of things that could go wrong or have already gone wrong, your thoughts will begin to manifest in physical ways.
”You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you”. – Dan Millman
How anxiety works?
Anxiety triggers the fight or flight response and release hormones like adrenaline and other chemicals to your body. This increases your breathing and heart rate and sends the blood flow to your brain, preparing you for an intense situation.
Anxiety can have devastating effects on your mental and physical health. Short term, you experience a feeling of restlessness, your muscle are tense and you find it difficult to rest.
Long term, anxiety weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to infections and illnesses.
Your body finds it extremely difficult to function normally in this roller-coaster of emotions. It is not unusual for anxiety to lead to depression.
Moreover, when you always worry about your relationship, your self-confidence diminishes and you become more and more insecure. Find out more about how low self-confidence affects your relationship
It is important to understand that you can deal with whatever life brings to you. We were created in such way that we can heal from any situation that have caused us pain and grow stronger as a result.
Human being were created to survive, not to be happy. This is why our mind is constantly looking for threats in our environment and send us signals to defend ourselves from the danger those situations might expose us to.
However, people with anxiety see threats where they don’t exist and create scenarios in their imagination that most of the time will never happen. Anxiety is no more than your mind trying to protect you from feelings associated with past experiences.
In most cases, anxiety is developed over time. Your mind accumulates various unique and traumatic experiences from your past, adapting your unconscious mind to recognise the triggers of those experiences and to signal it back to you.
”Don’t let your mind bully your body into believing it must carry the burden of its worries.” -Astrid Alauda
How do we address anxiety?
The good news is that you can overcome anxiety. There are various ways that have been developed to address different types of anxiety, but we will now concentrate on ways to overcome anxiety in relationships.
The first step to overcome anxiety is to identify irrational behaviours that trigger your anxiety and take positive action to address and eliminate them. Self-awareness is a critical first step to develop a secure intimate relationship in which you can grow and become more confident and peaceful.
Once you identified that your unjustified anxiety affects your relationship and you are willing to take all the necessary steps to overcome it, you begin your journey to happiness, peace and greatness.
Drug treatments can help you deal with your anxiety. However, they are a short-term help and they fail to address the root of the problem. It is essential to tackle the problem and do whatever it takes to eliminate it, rather than temporary ameliorate it.
”I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” – Steve Maraboli
Ways to naturally eliminate anxiety in relationships
- Face your fears- If you cannot stop negative thoughts about your relationship, communicate these worries to your partner. You might fear that he will confirm that all the negative thoughts are valid reasons to worry. However, most likely he will re-assure you that they are not.
- Know yourself– Whenever you feel anxious, observe yourself. Notice what makes you anxious and try to evaluate your reaction from an objective perspective. Detect your emotions and the impact they have on your mind and body.
- Exercise– Whenever you feel that anxiety takes over you, exercise. Your body will use the adrenaline that is already flowing through your blood in an effective way. Also, exercise requires some concentration which will take your mind off from your negative thoughts.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar– Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water instead.
- Counselling – Counselling is an effective way to reduce anxiety. If you cannot afford a counsellor, speak with a friend that you can trust about your worries and anxiety. By communicating your problems, you get a better insight of your feelings and reactions and the underlying reasons for your anxiety
- Meditation– The effects of meditation are extremely beneficial for people with anxiety. People who meditate feel more balanced, calm and focused. Whilst observing your feelings without judgement, you can considerably reduce the worrying and negative thoughts.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy– Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of therapy aiming to challenge the way you think and behave by recognising and addressing negative thoughts and behaviors.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is closely looking into your life stressors and the cause of them. It then goes on to teach you how to cope with stress and balance your life by setting goals and learn how to think constructively.
In terms of relationship, cognitive behavior therapy determines and challenges your communication style. It teaches you active listening, showing appreciation for others and learning how to forgive.
”Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. ”- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Anxiety can have a huge negative impact on your relationship. It creates a lot of pressure for both the person with anxiety and their partner. The dynamic of a relationship is changed considerably when one deals with anxiety.
Although anxiety manifests as uncontrollable and unjustifiable feelings and thoughts, there are many ways to address, control and eliminate anxiety.
It is time to challenge yourself and change! Remember that anxiety is a creation of your mind as a result of undesired past experiences. Anxiety can be eliminated by addressing the roots of these thoughts and feelings and taking positive steps to change them.
”Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.” -Dorothy M. Neddermeyer
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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