Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can affect anyone. It’s characterized by excessive worry, fear, and apprehension about events or activities in one’s life. Left untreated, anxiety can lead to panic attacks and other debilitating symptoms.
It can be difficult to know how to help someone with anxiety, especially if you don’t have it yourself. It can be frustrating, hurtful and painful for you as a loved one too. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many things you can do to provide support and make the person suffering from anxiety feel better. You don’t need any special skills or training, but what you do need is empathy, understanding and compassion.
In this blog post we will discuss 5 ways to help someone with anxiety.
1. Listen to them without judgement
The best thing you can do for the person is listen without judgement or without trying to fix their problems. It’s really easy to think that your opinions are the best or what they need to hear when you’re trying so hard to help someone with anxiety, but in reality it can be very frustrating for the person who is experiencing an anxiety attack. Try your best to listen to what they say and to understand where they’re coming from.
You have to show empathy during this conversation as well because even though you may not understand how someone feels when they have anxiety, simply listening to them will go a long way.
2. Offer your support
You should always be there for your loved one. By showing them that you are ready to stand by them during these tough times, they will be able to decrease their anxiety as they will feel validated and secure.
You should never belittle or ignore someone with this condition, instead give them the support that they need in order for it to heal. Let them talk about how they’re feeling if they want to. You may not understand everything at first, but it’ll come easier over time. Letting people know that you are there for them may seem like such a simple thing but can actually go so far.
3. Give them space when they need it
It’s important to give your loved one space in order for them to work through their anxiety on their own. You should never try to force someone with this condition into doing something they don’t want to do.
Forcing people into situations may just traumatize them and make them feel more anxious than they were before. When someone says that they need space, you should give it to them. Remember that you can’t force people into feeling better.
4. Be patient and understanding
If you haven’t experienced anxiety before, it may be difficult to understand how it feels. However, it is important to believe them when they tell you that their anxiety is real. This condition affects everyone differently, even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to you or in comparison to other people’s problems. That feeling of panic inside is not just something they’re making up for attention.
It is also important not to get angry and frustrated when something doesn’t work out quite right. And while we’re at it – don’t lecture either! Anxiety is an illness and telling someone who has an anxiety disorder how wrong or bad her feelings may just make things worse.
5. Help them find ways to manage their anxiety
Instead of offering your opinion or lecturing your loved one, help them find ways on how to manage their anxiety attacks. Find out their triggers or potential stressors and avoid those as much as possible. If you know they’re about to be in a situation that might cause anxiety (driving, taking public transit, speaking publicly), do your best to help them out.
If the person is experiencing physical symptoms from their anxiety like shaking or nausea, offer them something soothing such as a drink of water and some crackers. Anxiety can also make it hard for someone to sleep at night so if this is happening then let them rest on the couch or somewhere else where they will feel safe and comfortable while you watch over them until they fall asleep.
If you’re feeling frustrated or out of ideas about how to help a person who has anxiety then speak with a professional instead. A professional will be able to provide more insight into what exactly is needed during these tough times.
If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety and substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.