7 Ways My Husband Helped Reduce My Anxiety on a Shopping Trip

My husband and I took a shopping trip to a large store for the first time in eight years. For so long, I had been limited to shopping in three small, local stores due to my anxiety. My husband utilized his knowledge of my anxiety to organize a trip to a large store in a busy mall I longed to visit. Our careful planning and use of strategies made the seemingly impossible possible for me. 

What did he do that helped? Here are the things my amazing hubby did that helped me reduce my anxiety:

1. He suggested options so I felt in control of the situation as much as possible. My hubby offered to drive or asked if I wanted to drive. Since I chose to let him drive, he let me know frequently that we could turn around and go home if my anxiety got to be too much for me. I also chose the destination, as challenging as it was!

2. He offered reassurance and support. Frequently hearing positive statements along the way helped me. He was specific and clear with his reassuring and positive statements: “We only have four miles to go. You’ve got this.”

3. We tried distracting strategies. Distracting strategies can include listening to music, singing, sharing favorite memories, solving riddles, breathing exercises, and playing road games like “I Spy” or “License Plates.”

4. He was my cheerleader! He reminded me how proud he was of the progress I made at various points of the journey. And when our trip to the mall was accomplished, he told me how proud he was of me for working through my anxiety to accomplish this trip. 

5. When the number of choices at a store provided stress, he helped me reduce the number of choices. He asked me questions like, “What would you wear most often? What do you love?”

6. We were patient with each other. It is difficult for me to cope with anxiety and overcome obstacles. Being patient with ourselves and our partners as we work through this is key to reducing stress. 

7. We talked about what helped make the trip enjoyable. We took time to reflect and review. When we did this, it emphasized for me not only what I did, but what he did as well. I thanked him, and I realized I could ask him to help me by using these strategies in the future.

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