Confronting Wedding Preparation Anxiety

I work with a lot of anxious brides, grooms, and other wedding stakeholders who are busily preparing for the BIG DAY. Or really, the BIG DAYS, as more and more wedding activities are packed into the days leading up to and following the actual day of the wedding itself. Dealing with the details and demands of such things is enough to make a grown person want to curl up in a ball and produce a high-pitched cry, at the very least!

I’m not a therapist, but my social worker husband is. Rock sees many clients who suffer from panic attacks. One of the first things he suggests they do when feeling anxiety closing in on them is to ask themselves one question about the situation: “Is this danger or discomfort?” It is a deceptively simple question, but one that often gets to the heart of the moment and helps them to regain perspective.

For example, when Trish learned three days before her wedding that her dress would not be finished in time for her wedding day, she could have done that curling up in a ball thing. Or started drinking heavily. Instead, recognizing that this was certainly an uncomfortable situation, but not one that endangered her life or anyone else’s, she chose to go to a concert that night with her fiancé and some friends who were in town for the wedding. Her mom and aunts went shopping for wedding dresses that night, picked out four dresses in her size and brought them home. The next day Trish tried them all on, chose the one she liked best, and went on with her other wedding preparations. Was it her ideal dress? No. Did she have a fantastic wedding day anyway? Yes, because she was able to keep her perspective.

Of course, many situations are more complicated than this example. But most of us can benefit from any tool that can help us to take a little time out to reconsider things from a new perspective, rather than the one that has thrown us into a panic.

So, the next time things aren’t going the way you had hoped and you feel the panic starting to rise up inside you, try asking yourself, “Is this danger or discomfort?” and see if the answer doesn’t shed some new light on the moment. This one little question can go a long way toward helping you deal with the inevitable stresses that accompany wedding preparations today.

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