7 Tricks For Dealing With Anxiety In Your Relationship (That Actually Work!)

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How To Calm Anxiety & Stress In A Relationship
Love, Health And Wellness

If being in a relationship brings you stress and anxiety, you're not alone.

You obviously love the person you're with, but managing your anxiety symptoms can come between you and the relationship you want to have.

Learning how to calm anxiety is important if you want to have a healthy relationship that you feel safe and secure in.

RELATED: 4 Simple Tips For How To Calm Down When Your Anxiety Starts Taking Over

It can seem counter-intuitive that those closest to you, who know you best, could also cause you so much anxiety. Yet as uncomfortable as it is, anxiety in relationships is both common and natural.

To help you weather the discomfort and nurture your relationships, you need to know how to deal with anxiety in relationships.

Why do you experience stress in your relationships?

When it comes to relationships, anxiety can be confusing. Often cloaking itself in withdrawal and self-protection, anxiety can isolate you at the times you are overwhelmed and most need support.

Surprisingly, you worry or feel anxious about your relationships because you care deeply about the people in your lives. In fact, feeling anxiety in relationships can be a superpower. It makes you more sensitive than those who aren’t anxious, allows you to notice things they don’t, and can even make you better partners.

Sometimes, however, you can become overwhelmed by trying to manage or ward off your anxiety. You don’t realize how you come across to the people you love; or worse, you are too consumed by it to risk showing vulnerability.

This is nothing to feel bad about, though. Feeling bad about feeling bad just makes things worse.

Instead of ruminating about feeling anxious around and for the people you love, you can use your anxiety as motivation for learning how to deal with anxiety in relationships.

1. Know there’s a purpose

The most important thing to know about anxiety is that it isn’t dangerous, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you feel it. If you’re worried about something, trust that there’s a reason for your concern.

Anxiety is a signal that there’s something calling for your attention. There are wisdom and information in it. Once you accept that the uncomfortable feeling you’re having is purposeful, the next step might be easier to take.

Think of your emotions as signals about how you're doing in relation to your hopes, desires, and goals – they’re the impetus for you to set things in balance and do what needs to be done to achieve it.

2. Name the emotion(s)

Not all anxiety is the same. You might be feeling slight concern, definite worry, twinges of anxiety, or even full out panic.

And it’s not unusual to feel other emotions along with anxiety. Some of the emotions that can co-exist with or even hide anxiety are anger, frustration, sadness, or even boredom and excitement.

Amazing things can happen when you take the time to name what we’re feeling. First and foremost, you can gain more control over it. You can also reduce the stress we’re feeling and become better able to gain clarity about how to proceed.

3. Get inquisitive

Become curious about what your anxiety is signaling. It’s trying to get your attention by triggering your focus. Instead of focusing on being worried, you might shift your attention to understanding what your discomfort is trying to tell you.

To really know how to deal with anxiety in relationships, you need to know what type of anxiety you’re dealing with. It could be irrational anxiety, “ghosts,” or rational anxiety.

It could also have nothing to do with your relationship at all but be leaking in from some other part of your life. If you determine that what you’re feeling about your relationship, you’ll find the next steps helpful.

RELATED: How To Calm Down When You're This Close To Losing It

4. Tease out irrational anxiety

Some anxiety is almost always rooted in the irrational. Take the common fear of “I can’t handle it.” Have you ever thought about looking at the evidence? What does it say? Are you afraid, averse to the discomfort, or is it literally true that you can’t handle it?

Which of your relationship worries are wholly unlikely to happen? If there’s no evidence to support your worry, chances are likely that such a worry is unfounded and irrational. Irrational anxiety doesn’t mean such a situation isn’t possible, just that it isn’t probable.

When your mind starts spinning irrational fears, try reigning in the possibilities to focus more on the probabilities. You can’t stop your thoughts or make them go away, but you can choose to replace them with more reasonable ones.

5. Check for “ghosts”

You all bring baggage into your relationships. And these ghosts of particularly painful events from your past alert you to situations in the present that reminds you of your past. Your memories of the past can be surprisingly accurate. They can also misfire.

The goal here is to understand your triggers and how experiences from the past have shaped your vulnerabilities today. When you get triggered, your anxiety can escalate. However, when you understand your sensitivities, you can more easily determine what is a rational concern and gain a greater sense of control.

6. Courageously consider the rational

Rational anxiety signals a realistic threat that’s worth heeding. Data that support anxiety are often minimal and inconsistent. However, rational anxiety is always inconveniently irksome if you’re brave enough to pay attention to it.

It’s always trying to protect you, so it’s worth sorting through the small, inconsistent bits of data to courageously determine the message in rational anxiety.

7. Practice self-care

When you’re feeling worn down from struggling with how to deal with anxiety in relationships, you’re more vulnerable to the negative symptoms of anxiety. Even though you may not feel like doing so, this is the time to limit alcohol, sleep more, get proper nutrition and exercise moderately.

It might also be the time to power pose and boost your confidence as you sort through what your anxiety is bringing to your attention.

Dealing with relationship anxiety can be extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable.

No one wants to be a detective in a close relationship. Yet, when worry about a relationship strikes, you deserve to take the time to understand the message behind the worry — and its importance.

By knowing how to deal with anxiety in relationships, you will give yourself the opportunity to make or request necessary adjustments. Then you’ll be able to resume nurturing your relationships with the people you love.

RELATED: 8 Incredibly Powerful Natural Remedies For Anxiety & Stress

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Dr. Alicia Clark is a licensed clinical psychologist. For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out her anxiety blog, download her free ebook, or sign up for her newsletter.

This article was originally published at Alicia Clark Psy D.. Reprinted with permission from the author.