Anxiety is so common that 1 in 3 people suffer from it, and unfortunately, many aren’t treated. Anxiety not only wreaks havoc on an individual but on a couple too. Anxiety shows up differently for different people. Often anxiety is about feeling a lack of control in your life. It can also be about obsessing about the future and the “what ifs.” Anxiety tends to keep individuals from being fully present in the moment.

An essential concept in therapy is, “You name it. You tame it.” If you feel anxious and stop and say, “I am anxious right now,” this slows everything down. The practice of mindfulness is a great way to bring awareness to the present moment and prevent difficult spells of anxiety. Mindfulness is a buzzword that you probably hear a lot. Many people get confused, thinking it’s some complicated thing, but mindfulness is quite simple. Mindfulness is about paying attention. Be mindful internally; pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. When you become aware of what is happening inside you, you are more likely to respond in a healthy manner instead of reacting in an unhealthy way.

When you slow everything down, you can make a conscious decision instead of acting impulsively from the anxiety. When you are paying close attention to your internal stimuli, you can quickly notice if you are getting triggered. You can process that trigger by acknowledging thoughts, feelings, beliefs, behaviors, and negative core beliefs. Often triggers connect us back to a situation from our childhood. When you are clear on what is beneath your triggers, you can share that with your partner, which can be connecting for the two of you.

To practice mindfulness, the breath can be used as an anchor to help you focus on what is happening inside of you. By simply noticing the breath, you give yourself spaciousness to notice how your body is feeling. Often if you’re anxious, you’ll experience tightness in your chest, and your shoulders might come up to your ears. Simply noticing these sensations gives room for something to shift in your body and for you to soften.

The more aware you are of your own internal experience, the more you can show up in the present moment as your best possible self and the best possible partner.