Many couples go through their daily lives exuding a happy face to family and friends but underneath are burdened by anxiety and stress. Sometimes the simmering volcano of anxiety breaks through the exterior calm resulting in conflict, hurt and upset within the relationship. In most instances the anxiety attack is triggered by some perceived threat that activates the automatic response mechanism of fight or flight that we share with animals. Within loving relationships such incidents may take place if you are feeling stressed, worried or threatened by a particular issue. It may also be triggered by external events such as seeing a car approaching the pedestrian crossing at speed as you take the children to school. The presence of anxiety can be an isolating, despairing and frightening experience for the partner experiencing it.
It is important to remember, however, not all anxiety is damaging. In fact, without some increase in levels of anxiety or tension you will not be at your best in the work, home or sporting environment. No doubt you can vividly recall incidents in your life such as sitting examinations, going for a job interview or making a public speech in which your increased levels of anxiety contributed to your success or higher performance level. While low to medium levels of anxiety are useful, high levels can be devastating both to the sufferer and also to his/her partner and to children within the family.
Research indicates the pressures of modern society are a majorcontributor to anxiety levels within the home and family. Increased consumption of alcohol, which is laden with toxins that adversely affect the vital organs, is a major contributor to anxiety. Additionally the consumption of excessive levels of tea, coffee and tobacco can accelerate the fight or flight response. Toxicity within the workplace environment can create anxiety, which if unresolved may find expression within relationships in the home. Equally being overly conscientious, working too hard or seeking unreal levels of perfection from oneself, all have consequences within the loving relationship and family life. Frequently the partner in a relationship who is unable to say ‘No’ to superiors in the workplace can feel stressed and prone to conflict and anxiety within the home.
Levels of anxiety and stress, if not shared and addressed, can become amajor obstacle to harmonious relationships. There is however a lot that couples can do together to alleviate anxiety. Sharing your feelings, concerns and fears with your partner, can result in you experiencing understanding and support which can in turn help you to cope. Relaxing together, can help with letting go of tension, and can be a major antidote to anxiety. Regular exercise has physical, emotional and psychological benefits and, if undertaken together, can not only alleviate stress and anxiety but can also benefit your relationship. Regular breathing exercises will assist in calming you down so that you can think more clearly and monitor, manage and control your levels of anxiety.
Discuss together how anxiety affects you in all aspects of your life! Identify if there are times when anxiety is more acute for you! Decide together how you can help one another to cope so that anxiety does not impact adversely on your relationship!
If you are encountering problems in your relationship or if you would like to explore unresolved relationship issues, and would like to speak to a marriage and relationship counsellor , you might like to contact ACCORD Catholic Marriage Care Counselling Service.
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