If you want to know how to answer your question, “How to save my relationship?” you’ll have to understand what stress is.
Sometimes when I mention the word “anxiety” in my classes, my students can’t connect with the concept. Here are its aliases: worry, upset, uneasiness, stress, fear, unsettled feelings, feelings of intensity, nervousness, etc. Whatever you want to call it, anxiety exists for everyone, bar none. Anxiety runs rampant because humans are more or less uneasy beings, and that means you are, too. This is normal.
Several years ago, I attended a workshop where one of the participants stated that after ending 25 years of therapy, she was terrified of being on her own. The leader of the group asked her to walk into the middle of the circle and list all of her fears. When she was done, every one of us got up and said, “We are afraid of everything you are afraid of – that my kids won’t love me, that I’m not good enough, the I’m not lovable, that my partner will leave me, even that I can’t remember if I locked the car in the parking lot this morning.” This woman was shocked that we were dealing with the same stress that she was. Being conscious of your levels of stress is the key to how to save a relationship.
How we manage stressful states of being is what makes us different from each other. When you get angry, can you calm yourself down enough to respond to a situation and not just react to it?
What’s important to realize is this: You can’t eradicate stress from your human experience, but you can do something about it. There will always be more and more stress to handle. Actually, there’s good and bad stress. Excitement can be stressful; it’s part of having fun, facing challenges, and learning new things.
Admitting that you’re a person who is stressed, like everyone else on the planet, is the first step in controlling this all-pervasive emotion and the first step in learning how to save your relationship.
Jot down when you feel anxious. Write down the time, the location, and who or what made you feel uneasy or stressed. For example: 10:15 AM: office, my boss; noon: home, a radio program about crime. You might be amazed at how many entries you’ll make. You also might be able to recognize some patterns when you review your notes. You can’t manage an emotion if you don’t recognize that it exists. This exercise will help you realize how ubiquitous stress and anxiety actually are.
Is this marriage cartoon familiar? What are your anxious entries? How many do you have in an hour? If you report a large number, it means you’re getting aware of your inner state. Feel free to leave a comment below.