According to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 18 percent of US adults have some sort of anxiety disorder. Along with seeking professional help both online and IRL, having the support of your loved ones can go a long way in helping you conquer your anxieties. We chatted with mental health professionals from around the globe to get their advice on how to manage your anxiety with the help of your sweetheart.
1. Be open about your diagnosis and symptoms with your partner. Whether you’re in a new relationship or have been together for a long time, communicating with your S.O. about your anxiety will help loads, says founder and CEO of Blush Online Life Coaching, Kali Rogers. If you don’t feel safe sharing your feelings with your partner, seriously consider whether this relationship is right for you. There’s nothing more important than surrounding yourself with people you can trust and rely on.
2. Ditch bad habits with your S.O.’s help. “Let’s be honest — stalking your partner’s exes on social media will not make you feel better,” Dr. Helen Odessky dishes. Do you best to identify and quit bad habits that increase your anxiety and ask your S.O. to be your accountability buddy. Avoiding those toxic habits is way easier when you know someone who loves you is pushing for you to stay strong.
3. Spend some R+R time together. Involving your partner in your daily relaxation techniques is a great way to have them better understand your anxiety and support you. “Try the relaxing sigh breathing technique,” suggests licensed clinical professional counselor Julienne Derichs. “Inhale through the nose, hold just for a moment, then exhale out slowly through your mouth and nose.” Your partner will probably get something out of the exercise too.
4. Play the “what if” game to the end. On days when your anxiety is really bad, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed by all the “what ifs.” “The problem is we usually just don’t answer the question,” says licensed professional counselor Michael Hilgers. Set a plan with your partner before anxiety strikes to logically go through what would happen if what you’re worrying about came true. Continue asking the question “What if that happens?” as you answer each question with a potential scenario or feeling. Usually in just four to five steps you’ll end up with the answer that everything will be okay.
5. Treat yourself like your own BFF. While having a partner to lean on when you’re dealing with anxiety is great, it’s also important to put yourself first when you’re feeling your worst. Whether it’s implementing a self-care regime or asking a professional for weekly help, treat yourself like your own BFF and get the help you need, advises therapist Megan Bruneau. Odds are your S.O. will be more than happy to step back for a beat if you need some solo time to get healthy.
Do you have any tips about how to best manage anxiety? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
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