Lesson Four: Anxiety
Welcome to Lesson Four from Distressed to Darling!
(If you missed Lesson Three, read it here! Also, do not miss your 18 page workbook! Just sign up and it will be sent to your email.)
When you are in a risky situation, your brain responds by putting you on high alert. After this happens repeatedly, we begin to have anxiety in anticipation of the next time it might occur. Even after you leave the situation, you will not be able to automatically shut that response off. There is no easy on/off switch, unfortunately. This anxiety has an impact on all areas of your life, but maybe none bigger than the impact on your subsequent romantic relationships. Likely just the act of getting into a relationship causes you to go on high alert.
Your brain associates the new relationship with the previous one and it triggers that anxiety to return. You may respond to this by becoming upset over “small” things. Your new partner may not return your call for an unusually long period of time and instead of thinking of all the possible valid reasons, your brain jumps to the worse case scenarios. Somehow, your anxiety takes over your ability to reason. Your new partner will likely struggle to understand this process. It is not something they can do much to help you with. The anxiety is something you will have to learn the triggers for, then learn to curve your response to them.
- List the things you already know cause you anxiety.
- List past scenarios you can think of that have made your anxiety spike.
- Over the next week or so, watch for the things that cause your anxiety to show up and make note of them.
If you aren’t sure how to tell when your anxiety is triggered, some signs are:
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulties breathing
- Sleep issues
- Increased heart rate
There are some ways to reduce anxiety in the moment when it is triggered or you know it is coming.
- Time out – step away
Remove yourself from the situation that is trigging you. Go into another quiet, calm space if possible. Take a step back from overwhelming feelings.
- Deep breathing/Meditating/Praying
While you are taking your time out, try to actively bring yourself back to baseline. Take deep breaths and count to ten. Meditating or praying may also be helpful for some.
Exercise can help ease a lot of ailments, including anxiety. Yoga. Running. Even intense work outs. They get your body focusing on things outside of your anxiety. You get the feel good chemicals going that help you settle down.
There are times when the only answer is to rest. Rest your mind and body until you are ready to face your problems again. Things always look different after a good nap!
- Talk it out
If the above solutions are not what works for you, phone a friend! Some people just need to talk through their feelings aloud. Seek out a trusted confidant and let it out.
The key is DON’T ACT UNTIL YOU ARE CALM AND IN CONTROL AGAIN! You do not want to behave in a way your future self will regret because you did not take time to get back to your logical self. You don’t want your anxiety to damage your relationship.
Anxiety is a hard thing to get control of. Remember that the things you cannot influence you have to accept and move forward, like your past.
Grab Lesson Five (the final one!) here. And don’t forget about me if you have comments or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Hey! Be sure to grab your workbook!
To go with this mini-course, I have created an 18 page workbook that you can use to personalize the information to you! It includes an assessment, a partner questionnaire, journal prompts, an action plan template, and more. The workbook is designed to assist you in recognizing any behaviors you may be exhibiting toward your partner because of someone who hurt you in the past. You may not even realize you are doing it! Once you know, you can focus on making adjustments to get the relationship you and your partner both deserve! One filled with love, trust, and connection. Just enter your email below and the full workbook will be sent to your inbox. This free workbook is an exclusive offer for my subscribers. Don’t miss it!