Helping people with anxiety disorders can be daunting. Often, anxious people are entirely overwhelmed by their anxiety, especially when they experience a panic attack or are trapped by anxious thoughts (for example, in health anxiety).
The person has a compulsive attitude towards suffering or developing health problems (fear or social anxiety). In this case, the person will be strongly troubled by the idea of embarrassing himself or being judged and rejected by others in social situations).
If your anxious friend still does not understand your anxiety, they may not be able to answer what you can do to help them. The same advice applies if the anxious person you are trying to help is a friend, spouse/partner, or another family member.
If you are looking for advice on how to help people with anxiety disorders, in particular, you will find a specific section on that at the end of this article. Many of the following tips also apply to helping people with depression.
How to Provide Effective Anxiety Support?
Nearly one-fifth of Americans suffer from anxiety, so you are likely to know someone with anxiety. The same possibility is that you want to support your friends, relatives or colleagues, and have said or done things that you think are useless.
Be prepared to deal with anxiety in relationships, including colleagues who are anxious at work, and how to help in the event of an anxiety disorder (panic attack). Here are some things not to say to nervous people and what to say.
Understand Differences in How Anxiety Manifests
Due to evolution, we are programmed to respond to fear by fighting, fleeing, or freezing. For different people, one of these reactions usually dominates.
For example, my spouse tends to freeze and bury her head in the sand instead of dealing with things that make her feel stressed and panicked.
I tend to argue more and become irritable, overly perfect, or dogmatic if I feel stressed. When you understand that the purpose of anxiety is to get us into a threat-sensitive mode, it is easier to understand people who are afraid (or stressed) and misbehaving because of irritability or defensiveness and sympathize with them. You care about them; you can understand their patterns and be better able to help.
1. Know What Can Help Relieve Anxiety
Suppose you know your friend’s specific type of anxiety. You can use some online help resources to solve that particular problem. It takes a little time and effort to understand what helps pressure, but it can be done if you are ready to re-read any information you don’t understand step by step.
For free and easy-to-use resources, I like this series of mental health workbooks. Various anxiety products provide a good overview of how anxiety tendencies become anxiety disorders and how anxiety works.
You will learn about the connection between triggers and anxious thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and how to rethink anxiety-based thinking. In addition, there are specific types of anxiety strategies that are suitable for implementation with a responsible partner:
- Deal with someone anxious A series of things to avoid or postpone. Everyone will have their list. Start with the things that make you nervous and grow. A practical approach is to have “energy hours” once a week. Once a week, you have an hour to deal with things that each of you has been avoiding because you feel anxious or overwhelmed.
- Discover and balance anxious thoughts. For example, if you don’t receive an email response from someone immediately, is this naturally terrible news?
2. Help Your Anxious Friend Break Free of Avoidance Behavior.
I briefly mentioned the idea of working by avoiding hierarchies. Avoidance behavior is a fundamental cause of anxiety. When someone avoids something that needs to be done because of concern, their pressure will increase over time.
Common Examples of This Type of Behavior Include Avoiding:
The longer anxious people postpone what they need to do, the more likely they have intrusive thoughts about it. No matter what the person is avoiding, it may be helpful to talk about the steps they should take to get rid of their avoidance. For example, “Well, the first step you want to do is…” Help them identify and take the first step.
3. Destigmatize Your Friend’s Experience of Anxiety
Very anxious people tend to feel embarrassed because of their symptoms. They may be afraid that their anxiety will show up in performances or social situations or worry that others will see them.
They may fear that other people will notice that they are sweating, or their voices will start to tremble when meeting with a client at work. The key is not to assure people that these things will never happen but to ensure them that when they happen, they can cope.
The Fear of anxiety is often as debilitating as itself. The person may be afraid of a panic attack under certain circumstances (for example, sitting in the middle seat of an airplane or watching a movie) or coming from nowhere.
If your loved one has clinical anxieties and their anxiety is beyond their control, they may worry that they will lose their minds or “go crazy.” They may view anxiety as a sign of weakness or doubt whether effective treatments can help them overcome anxiety.
Convey that you don’t think your anxiety is a weakness, character defect, or a sign of—incompetence in your life, work, or other roles (for example, parent or friend). Normalize any thought you can agree with.
Anxiety sufferers experience various anxiety-based thoughts; even those who are relatively non-anxious will share them from time to time. For example, most people can agree with being afraid of being judged or asking for something and being told not to.
In addition, it is widespread for someone to do strange, dangerous, or untimely things. (For example, knocking down a pedestrian while driving or suddenly becoming violent). Anxious people often don’t realize that many people have this idea.
4. Beware The Reassurance-Seeking Trap
The person may calm down desperately. For example, a person with health may repeatedly ask: “Are you sure I don’t have cancer? Should I see the doctor again? Do you think my doctor knows what he is doing?” Or every week, you will be asked:
Do you promise you will not leave me anyway?” If you notice these types of patterns, You will need to set some restrictions. People experiencing levels of anxiety that lead to very intense and demanding comfort-seeking may be expected to work with a therapist.
The therapist, patient, and you should develop an action plan together. When invited by an anxiety patient, it is very appropriate for you to participate in some treatment courses as a support person. A very intense search for comfort is part of the anxiety-increasing process.
It is a common symptom of anxiety and does not mean that the person is unfamiliar, in need, or desperate. It can be treated as effectively as all other anxiety symptoms. There is nothing to be ashamed of, but you need a game plan to disrupt the mode.
5. Assist Your Friend/Spouse/Family Member in Getting Help With Anxieties
No matter how smart you are, how much you care about them, How much time you are willing to invest, you can never hope to heal the anxiety of your loved one. Sometimes the best solution to help an anxious person is to help your loved one get help from the therapist (for example, you can help your parents or have their first date).
Suppose you have not tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) before. This is the best place to start seeking help for anxiety. It is the type of therapy with the most evidence for the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Suppose your friend is receiving professional service due to stress. Lease invite him to share what he is learning and what he is doing. Suppose you think that the person might interpret your question as an inspection of them. It would be best if you were sensitive to how you ask questions.
Maintain a positive attitude by asking her for any helpful information or any anxiety management skills she has. I understand that this works well for them. If something does not work for them during the meeting with the therapist, please encourage them to talk directly with their therapist.
Anxious people often avoid discussing specific topics with their therapist. Many different options can help alleviate anxiety. The bottom line is to find the best match between the person and the strategy.
It’s not a big deal if a particular method doesn’t work because many other options are to try. If you want, let them know that you are happy to work with them to complete their treatment.
Homework (for example, try meditation together or do some thinking or behavior exercises). For people who habitually avoid things that make them feel anxious, getting help for anxiety is usually a big step. Your loved ones may need all the encouragement you give them!
6. Bonus Section: This is What Helps With Anxieties Attacks
Anxiety is a false alarm of the combat/flight/freeze system. So, differ from high anxiety or worry in that they appear suddenly and usually reach maximum intensity within 10 minutes. Usually, you will know if someone has an anxieties disorder.
They may appear dull and incoherent, or they may seem very scared and painful. The person may be concerned that they have a heart attack or other medical emergency because their physical symptoms feel severe.
When someone suffers from anxiety, the best way is to be with the person in person and help them focus on slow breathing. Pay attention to things you seem to feel at ease during an anxieties attack and things that seem to be aggravating. When this person is in an anxiety attack, their thoughts will be everywhere, so help them focus on breathing.
You can use this overview of anxiety breathing techniques to understand what to do. Remember that for any heart problems that may cause an anxiety attack. It is essential to have a medical examination of the patient, including obtaining a second opinion if necessary.
The person may have some arrhythmia or atrial fibrillation, which interacts with their anxiety symptoms. It is not the case for most people with anxiety. But when someone’s fear has a medical component, it can also be ignored or ignored.