Are you addicted to adrenaline? Are you constantly second-guessing your actions and afraid of making mistakes ” To counter these anxious feelings, are you looking for reassurance? Maybe you are always checking in on your partner or those closest to you.
It is healthy to employers needs validation and reassurance occasionally. We all have times when we doubt ourselves. It takes courage and determination to seek out support when we need it. However, constant reassurance is not a good thing. It can become a coping mechanism for anxiety that is difficult to break.
What’s the connection between Constant Reassurance and Anxiety?
If we look deeper, we often find that anxiety drives this constant repairs you need for reassurance. This can quickly become a habitual pattern.
Reassurance can temporarily relieve anxiety, but it is likely to make things worse over the long-term.
We teach our brain that the only reason we survived the “threat”, is because we look for reassurance. This reinforces the behavior.
Reassurance can be addictive in this way. Anxiety makes us feel anxious so we look for reassurance. After a time, our anxiety will subside. However, soon enough we feel anxious again. And so the cycle continues…
Why is it that I need Constant Assurance in a Relationship?
This vulnerability is most evident in our closest relationships. This is because, more often than not, it started in our closest relationships.
Attachment theory is a useful tool to understand reassurance seeking. Attachment theory focuses on the idea of how our early relationships with our caregivers set the stage for our later relationships. We are more likely to have a secure attachment style if our parents are available and responsive to our benefits who needs. We learn to trust our parents and can rely on them if they respond to our needs consistently.
We may also develop avoidant attachment styles if our parents are emotionally unresponsive, or criticised us for crying or expressing emotions. You might be too self-sufficient or fearful to get close to people, and “learn” that they are not trustworthy. You might have had a parent who was not available to you as a child. Or perhaps they were inconsistent with their parenting style and gave mixed signals, one minute being supportive and reliable and the next cold and disengaged. It’s possible that you spend too much time worrying about your parents. You seek out reassurance because the anxiety can feel overwhelming.
How to stop looking for Reassurance
Attachment styles can be modified if you find yourself in any of these situations. These attachment styles are not permanent. We can heal our anxiety and feel safe in our relationships by recognizing our patterns and learning their roots.
Here are some steps to take next time you feel the urge to seek reassurance. Accept what you are feeling and just sit with it. The anxiety will eventually go away on its own. You’ll notice that anxiety dissipates in its own time. The following exercise is recommended:
- For 4 seconds, breathe in.
- For 7 seconds, hold your breath.
- For 8 seconds, exhale.
Continue repeating this process until you feel more calm.
Be skeptical of your thoughts. Anxious thoughts that lead to reassuring yourself are unlikely to work. These thoughts may be unfounded. Ask yourself these questions: “Am I a catastrophizing?” “If this happens what’s your worst case scenario?” and “Would it be possible to cope if X actually occurred?”
You can reassure yourself by asking yourself what reassuring words others are looking for and then giving them to you. These words could be something like “You’re safe”, I love you”, or “I will always support you”.
Self-soothing can be a skill that you can use whenever you feel overwhelmed or stressed. Self-soothing can be practiced by engaging all five senses. Here are some suggestions:
Run a warm bubble bath using epsom salts by touching it
- You can smell – make a soothing herbal tea.
- Taste – Take note of the various flavours and mindfully eat your favorite food.
- Sound – Listen to your favorite soothing song.
- Sight – Watch a nostalgic, comforting movie.
It’s a fact that we live in uncertain times. Pliny, the elder, once said that “the only certainty” is that nothing is certain. And that’s actually part of the fun of it. We need a personal trainer to learn how to accept uncertainty… To understand that we won’t have all the answers and neither will anyone else. We might find ourselves accepting uncertainty and the wonders of all it has over time.