It's not clear why the term for fear on your wedding day is called "cold feet." It's possible that it's because cold feet is a symptom of anxiety - blood rushes out of your feet and towards your heart, causing your feet to get colder.
But regardless of where the term came from, cold feet are a common problem before marriage. So why does this occur, and what can you do to reduce your anxiety so that your wedding day is a day of joy?
Stop Your Wedding Day Jitters
Managing anxiety is never easy, and the more you try to fight those thoughts the more they seem to come back. Find out how you can control your anxiety by taking my free 7-minute anxiety test now.
Causes of Cold Feet for Wedding
People often try to come up with reasons that cold feet occurs, and the truth is that there is no specific reason. It's often not your self-conscious trying to tell you something - it's simply a natural part of going through a very important life event. To learn more about your anxiety as it's associated with cold feet, make sure you takemy anxiety test now.
Below are some of the many reasons that people find they have extreme anxiety on or near their wedding day.
Amplified Problems Literally all couples have problems. There is no such thing as a perfect couple. Yet you have stayed in the relationship anyway because the relationship was worth the problems. When you're coming closer to getting married, you're virtually guaranteeing yourself to continue to experience at least some of these problems, and that amplifies them in a way that makes them seem worse than they are. That's scary - it's even scary for a good reason. The risk is worth the reward, but in the lead up to your wedding day, it's no surprise that these fears come out.
Only Downside Similarly, the truth is that marriage is often not much different than living your day to day life with your partner. Many couples are "practically married" long before they get married. While this bodes well for your relationship, it's also another issue that amplifies the problems and fear. While wedding days and marriage are amazing, they also change very little of your day to day life, which can mean that you're focusing only on the downsides and not the upsides.
Better You Many people also start to think about things they hadn't had to think about before, like "what would happen if I were single again?" Being in a relationship helps you grow as a person, and when you are in a relationship for long enough, it's natural to wonder what it would be like to be single again. Of course, it's never as glamorous as the idea seems, but it's a mindset that unfortunately makes weddings more anxiety-inducing.
Wedding Planning Wedding planning is also extremely stressful naturally. There is so much involved, all leading up to a date (almost like a deadline), and it can cause an intense amount of stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, that anxiety often bleeds into others areas of a person's life and causes negative thinking that can affect the relationship, stress within the relationship, and more. Once it's over it will go away, but until that happens, negativity is common under that much pressure.
General Stress Anxiety itself is a cumulative condition. When you experience anxiety in one area of your life, it tends to come out in another. So if you're naturally an anxious person, having anxiety is going to be a serious issue that can culminate as you get closer to your wedding.
This is not to say there is no such thing as warranted cold feet. Not every relationship is destiny. But nearly everyone that gets closer and closer to their wedding date finds that they experience severe anxiety, and it can make them not want to walk down the aisle even if it's completely unwarranted.
How to Overcome Cold Feet
So your wedding day approaches and the anxiety is taking all of the fun out of your wedding day. What should you do?
All major milestones are going to have their stresses. Some of that stress is excitement. Because of that, it's very difficult to go into your wedding day without at least some anxiety. But there are some strategies that can decrease that anxiousness. These include:
RUN!!! Just kidding. Actually, the act of running is extremely effective at reducing anxiety. Running for long distances releases neurotransmitters, known as endorphins, which are known to be effective at improving mood, and they can also decrease excess energy and making sleeping easier - two issues that are very important for fighting anxiety.
Stay Fun Busy While you're no doubt busy enough as it is, you also need to make sure you're having fun. You need to avoid downtime where you're simply stuck with your thoughts. Anxiety changes thoughts - it makes thoughts more negative because it affects the brain chemicals that create positive thinking. Being alone with your thoughts is almost always going to end badly, which in turn will cause more anxiety.
Map Out Action Plans We mentioned earlier that some of the anxiety is because there is often nothing "new" to think about for the future, which causes people to focus too much on the negative. One strategy for overcoming that is to create plans with your soon to be partner. Come up with mutual goals that the two of you can do together, like a Marriage list of all of the fun, random activities that will make life exciting. Try to avoid the basics, like "have children," and try to be more random and fun, like "hand out oranges at a parade for no reason." This will give you positive things to look forward to in the future.
The main thing you need to do is simply start to work on your anxiety. Remember, cold feet on your wedding day is normal, and rarely reflects the state of your relationship. Your emotions almost never try to "tell you" something. They're simply something that controls the way you feel.
Take my anxiety test now to find out more about how to live with and control your anxiety. You'll see a representation of your symptoms, and you can use them to combat your anxiety so that at the very least you can decrease the way your upcoming wedding affects you.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Nov 23, 2017.