Are you struggling to get through the day because your mind is filled with thoughts about your relationship problems? Do you find that you get triggered every 3 minutes to think about what's wrong in your marriage? Feel panicked or worried constantly? This list is for you!
Here are 5 foolproof, powerful ways to cope with relationship problems:
1. Start your day with a gratitude exercise.
We know that you will feel much, much better if you can frequently think about what is good in your life, your blessings, and what you are lucky to have. I'd like for you to spend 5 minutes each morning thinking about these things. Really knock yourself out trying to list everything you're grateful for. It doesn't have to be something big, it can be simple.
For example, you might say, "I'm grateful for this shower, I'm grateful to have this luxurious soap that smells so good, I am grateful for a clean towel." There are millions of things to be grateful for. If you can, try to repeat this gratitude exercise at lunch time and once again before bed. Do this exercise 3x per day for 21 days and you'll be shocked at how much better you feel!
You can learn more about this by clicking here to read my post on how to be truly happy.
2. Practice positive affirmations.
I remember growing up watching SNL and seeing the silly character, Stuart Smalley, repeat all sorts of wacky positive statements into a mirror. That was my first exposure to affirmations and I have to say, I wasn't that impressed. But as I've worked with many people through the years, I have been astonished by the power of positive thinking.
The most effective technique I've discovered is this one: make a list of 5 positive statements that you'd like to believe about yourself. Make them realistic and true and something you can believe about yourself. For example, you might come up with 5 like these:
- I'm a good person and I'm working to make things better.
- I believe that she will give me another chance and that things will be ok.
- I know that I can do this and that I will be successful.
- Even though I've made mistakes, I will learn from them and they are not failures.
- I'm doing everything I can to make amends and that's all I can do now.
Repeat these statements out loud to yourself 3x in a row, twice per day. Saying these out loud somehow stores them in your brain differently and your subconscious starts to accept them as true. You'll find that you soon start to feel better and that these ideas feel real. When you're feeling upset, you'll find these ideas popping up and you'll be comforted. Sound a little wacky? Try it, you'll be surprised!
3. Do the letter and response exercise.
This is one of the most effective exercises to do to help you conquer relationship stress and grief. In this exercise, you sit down in a quiet place with a pen and paper. You start by writing a letter to the person you most want to talk to. It can be your spouse, your mother, your best friend, anyone you like. Write a paragraph describing how you're feeling, what you're thinking and what you want. Then, switch gears. Instead of continuing to write as yourself, write a response in the way you imagine your spouse/mother/friend would. For example, I might write:
Paragraph 1 (Me writing my feelings): "Mom, I really miss you and I wish you were still here with me. Sometimes it's so hard to get through the day without you....."
Paragraph 2 (Mom "writing" back her response): "Oh honey, I miss you too, I wish I could be there with you and all of the kids. I am looking down on you...."
You can go back and forth like this a couple of times. It will help you get your feelings out and will help soothe you. Seeing the words on the page does something magical for our psyche. It makes it stick somehow and you'll find that you feel much better after doing this. Let yourself cry if you like, take all the time you want with this. It is really powerful.
4. Savor something you love.
Now this is a fun one! Think about something you absolutely love to do or experience - what is it? Maybe you love a fancy spa treatment. Perhaps a concert is your thing? Maybe you love an intense bike ride or working in your garden? Mine is a great glass of wine and some yummy cheese. Whatever yours is, make time to do something you savor every day. (With moderation, please. None of us should be drinking bottles of wine per day or spending hundreds of dollars on spa treatments daily).
When you do your favorite thing, really, really savor it. Think about how it tastes, how it smells, what it feels like. Go overboard trying to extract each second of pleasure out of the moment. The more you savor it, the more cemented it becomes in your mind and the happier you will be. The happier you are, the better you can cope.
5. Go help someone.
Helping someone else will make you feel better fast. When you're upset, you're living in a negative version of fantasyland, where all you're doing is thinking about all the bad things that can happen. You're focused pretty strongly on yourself and we need to get you out of your head.
You don't need to do something official or formal, you can just find anyone who needs some help and help them. See that an elderly neighbor needs their lawn mowed? Go over and offer to do it. Find a lady having trouble pushing her grocery cart? Go help her. Hear that the local school needs people to supervise a car war? Go volunteer.
By helping others, you get out of your head and get into a more positive place. You might not feel like doing it at first, but I really encourage you to try it. When you help someone, they will thank you and that gratitude is so healing. Try it!
If you want to find a place to volunteer on a more permanent basis, click here to check out Volunteer Match.
Please give these strategies a try and leave a comment below to let us know how they worked for you. I'm excited for you to feel better!
And if you liked this post, you'll also really enjoy this one: How To Be Truly Happy.