Anxiety is something quite prevalent in today’s world; or has it always been there? Do you know how to help someone with anxiety? As the stigma of mental health is in rapid decline, people are being more open about it, increasing our understanding of various stages and types of anxiety, and ways of treating it.
If a loved one you know is suffering from anxiety, it can be difficult to understand how to help them. It’s not always visible, and it can create stress and tension from work to home and relationships. Random emotional outbursts, distressing health worries, and a constant stream of tumultuous thoughts are just a part of what an anxiety sufferer can face on a daily basis.
Below, I will compile a list of ways how to help someone with anxiety, but be aware; they may not all work for your friend or family member, or maybe only some of the methods are effective. Do what feels right for you and your friend.
- Be calm, and help to calm your loved one down (deep breathing, a walk outside, sensory activities to change their focus of thought – what can they see, hear, smell, feel).
- Empathise and encourage – try not to get frustrated or patronise.
- Show pride when you see improvements, even if it’s a baby-step to get over a setback.
- Offer that you are always ready to listen without judgement – but don’t ask too many questions. Your loved one will open up to you when they’re ready, and some won’t want to talk about their anxiety at all. That’s fine.
- Spend as much time as you can with them. Your presence alone is a show of support and, even if neither of you realise it, it really is a great help and offers a distraction from otherwise loud thoughts.
- Be forgiving. A person suffering with anxiety is NOT selfish, they can’t help how they are feeling and the thoughts constantly battering at their minds – it’s not for attention.
- Remind them that they’re alright, really alright. They are not losing their minds.
- Fighting anxiety with logical reasoning is pointless. The sufferer likely knows their fears have no validation – the problem is, they still can’t prevent them. Instead, encourage that the sufferer seeks treatment. Support them.
- Anxiety can lead to depression. If you think a suicidal comment may be serious, contact emergency help.
- Positive affirmation works wonders. So many anxiety-sufferers have low self-esteem, which can trigger further anxieties or plummet them into a deeper negative state. Help them feel better about themselves, and show them the good that their thoughts cloud.
- Be adventurous. Take them outside, get them moving; it will help to distract them from their thoughts.
- Always be yourself. Your loved one doesn’t want you to change. They are in your life because you have made a positive impact on theirs – be loving and kind.
- Be patient – watch your expressions and tone of voice. It’s a difficult road to recovery, and along the way there may be a couple of setbacks before getting back on track again. That’s normal, it’s really OK.
Please share this How To Help Someone With Anxiety blog to anyone that can help someone suffering with Anxiety.
Most importantly – don’t allow the anxiety to affect you, too. Take care of yourself, be aware of stress, and be the person your loved one knows you are. The fact that you’ve sought out this information to help your friend already shows your kindness and willingness to support – and even if they don’t always show it, they will really appreciate it. Keep going.
Author Bio – Elisabeth Ward-Harris is a fantasy writer living on a farm in rural Spain. Working on her debut novel, she spends most of her time writing or with her son up on the farm.