Relationship Fitness

S12: Anxiety E3: Anxious Feelings

In “Relationship Workout for Men,” Season 12 Episode 3 titled “Anxious Feelings,” Vince delves into the complex nature of anxiety in intimate relationships. He begins by normalizing the experience of anxiety, from mild unease to severe panic, emphasizing its commonality and the significant impact it can have on relationships. Vince explores the role of the ego in exacerbating anxious feelings and offers practical strategies for managing anxiety, including self-awareness, open communication, and mindfulness. Through this episode, Vince aims to equip men with the understanding and tools needed to navigate anxious feelings constructively, fostering healthier and more emotionally stable relationships.

Welcome to Relationship Workout for Men, a podcast dedicated to helping men be intentional in choosing a better partner, and being a better partner for the person they choose.

Season 12, Episode 3: Anxious Feelings

To kick things off and probably stating the obvious, feeling some level of fear and anxiety is a normal part of living life and can span from mild to extreme, such as feeling slightly uneasy to having a full-on panic attack. 

These feelings often arise in situations that are fraught with uncertainty and the potential for perceived negative outcomes, such as feeling too shy to say hi to that cute blonde in front of you in the checkout line to being worried you’ll bomb giving an important presentation to fear you’ll have a huge fight with your partner if you bring up what will likely be a difficult conversation.

Put another way, anxiety is a common experience, yet it’s often misunderstood and not openly discussed, especially for us guys. From mild uneasiness to intense panic attacks, the spectrum of anxious feelings can significantly impact our intimate relationships. Let’s briefly discuss the nuances of anxiety in relationships, its roots in our ego, and how to manage it effectively.

For starters, it’s important to recognize that feeling anxious in uncertain and challenging situations is a natural, human response. These situations might not pose a physical threat, but they can stir deep-seated fears of emotional consequences like embarrassment, rejection, or loneliness. When things don’t go as hoped, these feelings can intensify, leading to more significant anxiety.

At the heart of these anxious feelings often lies the ego, which we discussed in length in season 2: The Mind. The ego, in its effort to protect and maintain a certain self-image, can amplify negative emotions. If you’re heavily influenced by your ego, feelings like embarrassment or dealing with an upset partner can seem catastrophic. The ego might trick you into believing that these emotional challenges are life-threatening, though realistically, they are not. This perception exacerbates the anxiety, creating a more intense emotional response than the situation warrants.

In addition, as also discussed in season 2, we all can struggle with our internal “Demons” or deep-seated issues that can trigger significant anxiety. These might be topics that are particularly sensitive or have the potential to lead to conflict. Confronting these demons requires courage and the understanding that, while the process might be emotionally taxing, it is not life-threatening. Dealing with such issues head-on is crucial for the growth and health of the relationship.

That said, here are five strategies for managing feelings of anxiety in your relationship.

1. Self-Awareness: Understand your anxiety triggers and acknowledge the role of the ego in magnifying your fears.

2. Open Communication: Foster an environment where you and your partner can openly discuss fears and anxieties without judgment. More on this in Season 13: Communication.

3. Rationalizing Fears: Challenge the unrealistic perceptions fueled by the ego by rationalizing your fears. Remember that feelings like embarrassment or conflict are part of life and not catastrophic.

4. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practices like mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can help manage anxiety levels.

5. Seek Support: If anxiety is significantly impacting your life, consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

You can also complete the Relationship Workout Program at relationshipworkout.com to self-discover if anxiety is potentially fueling drama in your relationship. In addition, you can utilize the Relationship Workout share feature to share with your partner what is creating anxiety for you, without needing an initial face-to-face conversation. Frequently, the anxiety about having a face-to-face conversation, along with our busy schedules, can become barriers to sharing what’s causing anxiety for you.

Summarizing, navigating anxious feelings in relationships is a complex yet integral part of our emotional health. Understanding the naturalness of these feelings, the role of the ego, and employing effective strategies to manage them can lead to more fulfilling and emotionally healthy relationships. Remember, confronting these fears is not about eliminating anxiety entirely but about learning to manage it in a way that promotes personal growth and a stronger relationship with your partner.

So, with that summary on anxious feelings, we next turn our attention to Anxious Thinking, the topic of our next episode.

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