Life’s everyday stresses can cause each of us a fair amount of anxiety. But those who have anxiety disorders experience stress to the extreme. Anxiety disorders can be all-consuming as they interfere with people’s ability to function in school, at work, and even in their relationships. The impact of anxiety is overwhelming, but there are tools and coping skills you can utilize to ensure your relationships don’t take a hit.
1. Look at the facts
Anxiety does a great job of making things up and convincing your mind that they’re true. For example, if your spouse is working late and not replying to your text messages, where does your mind go? For people with anxiety, instead of seeing the situation as it is, they may convince themselves of the worse case scenario: “she’s probably cheating on me”, “what if he got into a terrible car accident”, “she’s annoyed with me and is just trying to avoid me.” If you find yourself thinking like this, really examine the facts – what evidence do you have that actually corroborates these statements?
Don’t be too hard on yourself for the thoughts that you have, but examine where they’re coming from. For instance, if your spouse is working late and your automatic assumption is that he’s cheating on you, seek to understand why you think that. Are you experiencing low self-esteem? Have you been in past relationships where your partner cheated on you? It’s important to remember that your current partner is not the same as any of your previous ones; so don’t place the same assumptions on them.
2. Live in the moment
Catastrophic thinking, ruminating thoughts, and anxiety go hand-in-hand; their common goal is to detract you from the present. If you suffer from anxiety, you may notice that you have trouble focusing on the current moment, and instead, you dwell on the past or worry about the future. This can negatively affect your relationships because you are not fully present. Instead of enjoying an outing with friends, a movie with your family, or dinner with your spouse, your mind may be elsewhere. While easier said than done, try re-centering your attention to the current moment. Remember that there is nothing you can do to change the past and that the future is out of your control.
3. Be vulnerable
The impact of anxiety will worsen your relationships if you remain closed off about it. Once you recognize that you struggle with an anxiety disorder, open up to your friends, family, partner, etc. Let them know the reasons behind your behaviors, what triggers your anxiety, and even how they can help. Communication is key, and when you’re honest about your struggle, your loved ones can know what to expect.
Don’t let fear of rejection or embarrassment stop you from being vulnerable; anxiety is a real mental disorder that deserves to be properly treated and acknowledged.
4. Don’t project
Anxiety manifests as a result of many different factors – some of which make sense, while others may be more confusing. Regardless of where your anxiety stems from, your feelings are valid. However, because our anxiety can be so overwhelming, we don’t necessarily know how to properly handle it. As a result, people find themselves lashing out or projecting their anxieties on people who have nothing to do with them.
Spare your relationships from the damage of anxiety by remembering the place it has in your life. Don’t put blame on the people in your life who don’t deserve it.
5. Seek help
While it’s important to open up to your loved ones about your anxiety, there is only so much they can do. There will be times when you’re struggling and want to reach out to them but they’re unavailable; in these instances, you’ll need to practice your own self-soothing techniques. In order to establish successful coping skills and tools, it’s vital that you get help from a professional.
Contact me to learn more about anxiety treatment or to set up an appointment.
You are not alone in your battle against anxiety. Get the help you deserve to ensure your relationships remain strong despite your struggle.