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Clinical anxiety is one of the single most difficult challenges one can face in a relationship. Anxiety is difficult, first

Clinical anxiety is one of the single most difficult challenges one can face in a relationship.

Anxiety is difficult, first and foremost, because those who have never experienced it can’t fully understand what it feels like. Attempting to describe what you go through when your anxiety is peaking is important, but it’s hard to explain.

If you’re in a truly incredible, healthy relationship and you’re worried that your anxiety might harm things, you need to do everything you can to manage things so it doesn’t end up sabotaging the relationship entirely.

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Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

As hard as it is, it’s not worth allowing yourself to let go and push those close to you away.

Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.

– Charles Spurgeon

Don’t let anxiety sabotage a beautiful relationship

Our relationships are the primary factor in our happiness, so to allow your anxiety to take something so precious from you is to allow it to define you. And it doesn’t define you.

I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s no less true.

What’s true, though, is that there are things you can do to keep this from happening. You always have a choice– and your loved ones deserve your strength.

Here are some things you can do to keep anxiety from sabotaging a beautiful relationship:

1. Let your partner know what triggers you

First and foremost, have a conversation with your partner about what triggers you.

Everyone has their own unique triggers, so take the time to communicate with your love about the typical patterns that lead to your anxiety being triggered. If they know what triggers you they can help keep those events from transpiring and reduce the number of times that your anxiety is triggered.

2. Open up to your partner about what it’s like to live with anxiety

Similarly, talk to your partner about what it’s like to be you. What does anxiety feel like? How does it feel to notice your anxiety flare up and to be in the midst of an episode?

The more detail, the better, and try to use examples that your partner might be able to understand for reference (more and more celebs have been opening up about their mental health struggles, which could be a great starting point to a conversation on the topic).

The more your partner understands what it’s like to live with and experience anxiety, the more they’ll be able and willing to help and the healthier your relationship will be.

3. Use strategic analysis

A third very useful step you can take is to use strategic analysis.

Anyone who has ever lived with clinical anxiety understands how constant questioning and analyzing can quite literally paralyze you.

What am I going to do? How is this going to work out? Why? When? What if this doesn’t work out? Why are they acting like this? Do they not care? Why am I wasting my time? How can I ever make this work out? I could keep going, but you already know how it is.

It’s extremely difficult to stop this process entirely, depending on the intensity of your anxiety. However, what is rather effective is strategically planning breaks from this cycle of analysis.

Ultimately, what consumes your mind during anxiety is what is right in front of you. For this reason, if you set a time frame to “act” as if everything is perfectly fine you can give your mind– and your heart– just enough of a break to recharge.

This works because you’re pretending. You’re not trying to convince yourself that it’s real– you know it’s not. You’re just acting for a very short period, say two to three hours each day, while your anxiety is really acting up.

It works because you know you’re free to continue worrying right after this period of time, so there’s not as much pushback as if you tried to simply tell yourself “stop worrying!”

Your brain sounds off the bullshit meter immediately when you do this. However, by using this little exercise you’re not trying to deceive yourself, which makes it easier to execute. It still takes a lot of work, but it helps.

Ultimately, there is no quick fix. However, if you stick with it, keep a clear line of communication, invest in taking care of yourself, and create a process for dealing with your anxiety when it flares, you can protect your relationship and keep anxiety from holding you back from finding happiness.