Imagine no longer chasing (or even wanting to chase) relationships with people who cannot love you in the ways you need. If you have an anxious attachment style, you are likely no stranger to the pain of unfulfilling, disappointing, drama-filled relationships. An insecure attachment style can predispose us to unhealthy relationship dynamics, but the good news is that we can heal our attachment wounds and move towards more secure relationships. In this post, I’ll cover four tools for jumpstarting the healing process if you have an anxious attachment style.
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the #1 tool I recommend for healing anxious attachment. In a nutshell, mindfulness is the practice of being fully present with whatever is happening right now…with acceptance and non-judgment. It’s about noticing and observing (note that I didn’t say “liking” or “approving of”) whatever is happening, as it is occurring, and can be a foundational tool for positive change in your life. Mindfulness is a practice, and it requires practice as well. Download my free eight-minute mindfulness meditation to kickstart yours today!
- Self-Compassion. If you have chosen this journey, remember that healing is an inherently imperfect process, and progress is not always linear (in fact, it almost never is). Try not to blame, shame or criticize yourself for having an anxious attachment style. Instead, focus on adapting a more loving, accepting attitude towards yourself and your needs in relationships. Remember that both your triumphs and setbacks are part of the healing process, and that no matter how many times you stumble or falter, you are worthy…and you are probably doing better than you think.
- Revise your process for choosing relationships. Create an honest list of your needs in a relationship; you may want to consider making different lists for friendships, romantic relationships, etc.. Once your list has been made, spend some time reflecting on whether existing and/or new friends can realistically meet these needs. If the answer is “no,” acknowledge that this may simply be a matter of relationship incompatibility, not a reflection of your self-worth.
- Give “calm” friendships a chance. People with anxious attachment can sometimes find comfort in the familiarity of high-drama relationships, and may even find healthier, more secure relationships boring. The lack of rollercoaster emotions might feel unsatisfying at first, but try to stay the course and give yourself time to learn about the advantages of secure, consistent relationships. You deserve to know what safety feels like.
Remember that tools don’t work unless you work them…so put these tools into action today! With consistent practice, you’ll be on the path towards healing anxious attachment and embodying healthier ways of relating to both yourself and others.
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Source: Levine, A. & Heller, R. Attached (2010). New York, NY: Penguin.
This site is for informational purposes only. It isn’t intended to diagnose or treat any mental health problems and is not intended as psychological advice.
© 2022 Gina Davis, PsyD. All rights reserved.