The importance of mental health in international dating & romantic relationships

international dating

In today’s day and age, mental health is something that everyone should pay attention to because research shows that recently, mental health issues have become more common due to the pandemic and the economy. A recent study in Europe, Australia and New Zealand suggests that good mental health is important for a healthy relationship. In fact, good mental health is the prerequisite of a great relationship.

How to minimize anxiety in love and in life:

According to mental health experts in the United States, the most common mental health problem is anxiety. More than 19 million Americans suffer from anxiety before the pandemic, not to mention after the pandemic has already happened. Therefore, learning how to manage anxiety is paramount. After doing some research on anxiety management, I’ve got some suggestions.

First and most importantly, don’t argue with intrusive and disturbing thoughts. The more you check something or look for reassurance, the more anxious you will feel, because when you argue with intrusive thoughts, the noise becomes louder.

Here is an analogy: You are driving a car and the speed is too fast. You want to use the brake, but strangely, that device only speeds up the car even more. Therefore, a better approach is to let the car run out of gas!

And here is a metaphor: You are driving a car and suddenly there is some mud on the window of your car. If you try to rub the mud, the window will become even more dirty. But if you let the rain wash the window and the sunshine dry the window, it will be okay.

In other words, you shouldn’t take your thoughts seriously. Your thoughts will disappear gradually if you let them be there. Nobody knows when they will disappear, but they will actually disappear in time.

For example, let’s say you are worried about whether your girlfriend loves you or not. The more you worry about this, the more insecure you become. That might become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Initially, your girlfriend actually loves you, but because you constantly need reassurance, you can’t show her attractive behavior anymore. And that’s how a self-fulfilling prophecy begins. Hopefully this is understandable. It’s a key concept in all romantic relationships, including international relationships.

It’s not about what you are worried about.

Dr Sally Winston is a well-known psychologist in the United States. She claims that it’s not about what you worry about; it’s all about your relationship with what you are worried about. That is to say, your relationship with anxiety plays a more significant role than the anxiety itself.

Similarly, Reid Wilson, a psychologist who specializes in anxiety treatment, points out that the content (topics) of anxious thoughts does not even matter because the content keeps changing – today you are worried about X; next week you are worried about Y. What really matters is the generic uncertainty that you can’t tolerate. The generic uncertainty is behind all topics, i.e. that is what generates everything that you worry about. Hence, it’s very important to learn to tolerate the uncertainty.

Interestingly, Reid Wilson has a counterintuitive approach to dealing with anxiety. He claims that when you want to get rid of anxiety, anxiety actually becomes stronger because what you resist persists. That means because you want to avoid it, you are more likely to run into it – you consciously do not want to see it, so you have to notice it in your conscious mind in the first place.

In contrast, when you don’t want to eliminate anxiety, you can even say this to yourself, “I want this. I want anxiety. Bring it on! Is that all you’ve got, anxiety?” Now you can do real exposure. That is a part of exposure and response prevention therapy. Most people don’t want to use this therapy because they are too afraid to experience the exposure. But when you tell yourself that you want anxiety, you are not resisting it anymore. You allow anxiety to be there so that you can use the therapy properly, thereby learning how to accept the discomfort. The good news is acceptance is extremely powerful!

For instance, Jack was worried about whether his Russian girlfriend would say yes to his proposal or not. Because Jack had anxiety for many years, he even had a variety of symptoms. My advice for him was to accept all symptoms. Let them be there. Gradually, Jack felt better and became calmer as a result. As I’m typing this article now, Jack and his Russian wife are happily married.

“If people work on their mental health as well as their physical health, this world will become a much better place.”

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