How Do I Talk To Someone With Anxiety
If you think someone has anxiety, it can be difficult to bring up. Here are some tips for making the conversation go smoothly.
Do start by trying to understand their worries. This might seem backwards, but there are at least two reasons why this is important. First, you need to make sure you have your facts straight. Maybe theres something going on that gives them a good reason to worry. Second, taking the time to understand how they feel will show them you are serious about wanting to help.
Do be supportive. Living with anxiety is hard. Support your loved ones efforts to get help, and be optimistic about their chances of getting better.
Dont minimize their fears. Often, folks with anxiety realize they are blowing things out of proportion. If you tell them theyre overreacting it probably wont help. Instead, it might seem like you dont understand.
Dont give them more things to worry about. Focusing on how their anxiety is causing problems or hurting relationships will just make them feel worse.
‘tell Me About A Time When Things Went Wrong’
When people experience anxiety, they often worry about what may happen in the future. Thats why Ken Yeager, director of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Stress Trauma and Resilience Program, recommends that people engage in constructive discussions.
Help them carry out the concern to the future, he told TODAY. People could say, Give me an example of when things went wrong.
After hearing what went wrong, people should ask the person what they could have done differently to change the outcome.
Youre working this through, he said. You hear whats going on and you help the person to process.
Simple Steps To Help You Cope With Anxiety
If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Anxiety involves feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. Anxiety is typically experienced on cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. For instance, when feeling anxious a person may have negative or disturbing thoughts.
On an emotional level, one may feel scared or out-of-control. It is also common to experience severe anxiety through somatic sensations, such as sweating, trembling, or shortness of breath.
These symptoms are common for people who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder are typically familiar with the struggle of managing feelings of anxiety. It can feel as if the anxiety is taking over or completely out of ones control.
Does anxiety have an overwhelming pull in your life? Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to manage your anxiety. Listed below are 4 tips to help you cope with your feelings of anxiety.
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Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.
- kava kava
- dark chocolate
However, it can take up to three months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor.
Understand The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways and levels of severity. But the symptoms or signs are often the same. While not an exhaustive list, the following physical symptoms, anxious thoughts, and behaviors are some of the most common.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Feelings of panic, fear, or nervousness
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- All-or-nothing thinking
- A feeling of impending doom
- Difficulty concentrating
- Believing the worst will happen
- Problems falling or staying asleep
Also Check: How To Get Over Phone Anxiety
Dont Say : Are You Ok
If your friend told you theyre feeling super anxious, they clearly are not OK. Constantly asking them for a status update can make them feel pressured to get better now. When we see someone we care about suffering, our instinct is often to try to fix it. But some things, including anxiety, cant be fixed by outsiders.
Support Them To Seek Help
If you think your friend or family member’s anxiety is becoming a problem for them, you could encourage them to seek treatment by talking to a GP or therapist. You could:
- Offer to help them arrange a doctor’s appointment. If they are scared of leaving the house, you could suggest they ring their GP to find out if they will do home visits and telephone appointments.
- Offer support when they attend appointments. You could offer to go with them to their appointments and wait in the waiting room. You can also help them plan what they’d like to talk about with the doctor. See our page on talking to your GP for more information.
- Help them seek help from a therapist. See our page on how to find a therapist for more information.
- Help them research different options for support, such as community services or peer support groups such as those run by Anxiety UK and No Panic. See our useful contacts page for more information. You could also call Mind’s Infoline to find out more about local services.
See our page on helping someone else seek help for more information.
Also Check: What Can I Do To Calm My Anxiety
What Can I Do To Help My Child
Anxiety disorders often first appear in childhood. This is a very good time to intervene or seek treatment, because children’s brains are still developing, and can more easily adapt to new “modes” of thinking, relative to adult brains. Helping your child cope with an anxiety disorder can be a complex task, potentially involving family members, friends, teachers and counselors, and mental health professionals. These five basic tips may also help:
Just as in the case of taking care of a spouse or partner with anxiety, taking care of a child with anxiety can make you lose sight of your own mental and physical health. See our self-help tips above.
Instead Say: What Can I Do To Help You
If your friend has been dealing with anxiety for a while, chances are they already know what does and doesnt help them feel better. Ask what they need and then do it, even if their request seems silly to you. Showing youre willing to offer assistance helps us anxious folk feel like were being taken seriously.
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Encourage Her To Do Something About Her Anxiety Disorder
Being empathetic and supportive is helpful. But if she isnt working at overcoming anxiety disorder, your empathy and support might only enable her to remain stuck.
Anxiety disorder only resolves when a person works at it. Anxiety disorder seldom resolves on its own.
Be an encourager, not an enabler. Encourage your loved one to seek the necessary help. And then, encourage and support her as she works at making healthy behavioral change.
Encourage Your Loved One To Talk To Someone Who Can Help
Even if you deserve the husband of the year award, your expertise can only go so far. Ive been doing this for years, and I still find myself in over my head when working with someone through a challenging situation. Anxiety can be rooted in years of trauma and neglect and the toxic values we absorb about ourselves. Those ugly beliefs will impact how we relate to people down the road. Its quite possible that your loved one might need support and guidance from a professional. That could be a pastor at church or finding a good therapist .
Often, folks who feel trapped by anxiety need reassurance that theyre worth the time and money investment of professional help. It takes a lot of courage to choose vulnerability and to do the hard work of facing your anxiety. So, be your friends biggest cheerleader. And if its your spouse who needs counseling, you can offer to go together so you can learn tools to support them along their journey.
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Determine Your Support Role
There are lots of different roles you can take to support a person with anxiety.
When our loved ones are in distress, they often need us to either distract them by cheering them up, be with them by listening and ensuring our availability, or help them with what we can do for them, says Lyons.
Here are examples of things you can say, depending on your role.
When you distract someone, you can offer ways to take their mind off their anxiety.
- Lets watch *insert fave escapist show* together, what do you say?
- Maybe we should go to yoga class.
- Lets grab some food.
When you do, you take direct action.
- Ill help you organize your closet.
- I have a really good therapist. I can ask for a referral for you.
- Im going to pick up a pizza for you.
Being can be as simple as letting them know youre always there for them.
- Do you want to talk about it?
- Do you want me to stop by? If not, do you want to FaceTime?
- Youre not a burden and I always have your back.
Now that you know what to do to help a friend out, heres what not to do.
Find Ways To Make Use Of Any Insight They Have Into Their Anxiety
If your loved one has insight into their anxiety, you can help them spot when their anxiety-driven patterns are occurring. I find it helpful when my spouse notices that Im expressing my anxiety about work by being irritable with her or by being too fussy. Because we know each others patterns so well and have a trusting relationship, we can point out each others habits. Not that this is always met with grace, but the message sinks in anyway.
If youre going to do this, its a good idea to have their permission first. Keep in mind that people who have insight into their anxiety often still feel compelled to give in to their anxious thoughts. For instance, a person with health anxiety might logically know that going to the doctor every week for multiple tests is unnecessary, but they cant help themselves. If your loved one lacks insight into their anxiety or has trouble managing compulsions, its probably best to encourage them to see a clinical psychologist who specializes in the treatment of anxiety.
Also Check: When To Know You Need Anxiety Medication
Ways You Can Help Someone With Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorder signs and symptoms can have a profound impact on a persons life. Anxiety disorder sufferers can be affected physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many find their lives dramatically impacted.
Even though there may not be any outward signs of illness, anxiety disorder can be fraught with distressing and debilitating symptoms.
It can also cause severe lifestyle impairment and what seems like insurmountable physical and mental health challenges. These challenges often leave sufferers frightened, confused, frustrated, and at their wits end.
People who experience anxiety disorder are generally intelligent, creative, compassionate, and determined. But many become inward-focused, frightened, confused, discouraged, and seemingly hypochondriac once an anxiety disorder develops.
Anxiety disorder sufferers often look fine on the outside, but inside rages a battle that is often all-consuming. A battle that only someone who personally experiences anxiety disorder will truly understand.
Most anxiety disorder sufferers dont want to be sick and would give anything to feel normal and live a normal life like everyone else. But because of the nature of anxiety disorder, they often feel trapped in a battle with seemingly no way out.
Anxiety disorder is a real condition that can affect a person on many levels. Their struggle is real!
Here are 15 ways you can help as he or she works to overcome a struggle with anxiety disorder:
Dont Be Silly Everybody Is Too Busy With Their Own Lives To Focus On You
A friend thought that pointing this out would relieve my irrational thoughts. Sadly not. At the time, I was worried that everyone in the room was judging me negatively. Social anxiety is an all-consuming disorder. So while deep down I knew that people werent focused on me, it still didnt stop the taunting thoughts.
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Dont Say: I Know What You Mean I Had A Panic Attack When I Saw Seattle Rent Prices
Panicking about the absurd cost of that tiny studio apartment makes sense because you need a roof over your head and cant magically increase your salary. Panicking about taking a bus because youre afraid of having a panic attack on said bus doesnt.
Theres a difference between the uncomfortable but rational anxiety we all get in stressful situations and the sometimes debilitating but illogical anxiety super anxious people like me get in situations that arent actually stressful or threatening.
People with anxiety disorders experience anxiety over things others wouldnt and with such intensity that it interferes with our ability to function and do things we enjoy. So unless you have a diagnosable anxiety disorder, comparing your anxiety to someone elses isnt helpful, and it can make us feel like youre minimizing our experiences.
Find Ways To Serve And Take Care Of Your Loved One
Your friend or parent or spouse or sibling might be spiraling into anxiety because of being overcommitted or stressed with chaos and demands of life. If its helpful, find ways to gently and quietly take responsibility and stress off their plate. Help with housework. Run to the grocery store for them. Fill their car with gas. Take the kids out for a walking adventure.
Just make sure youre not enabling that person to stay frozen in their anxiety. The point here isnt to remove their responsibility to take ownership of their lives, but to show love, support and compassion when youre needed.
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Support Her In Her Decision To Seek Therapy
Traditionally, society has had a dim view of therapy. Fortunately, this view is changingand quickly. More people today are seeking professional help for psychological and emotional challenges than ever before. Thats because the negative stigma associated with seeking professional help is diminishing, as well as, more and more people are seeing the benefits of therapy.
Moreover, professional therapy approaches and skillsets are improving as independent research on their effectiveness improves.
For example, independent research led to disproving the chemical imbalance cause of anxiety and has supported the effectiveness of therapy. Because of the recent strides in research and techniques, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is now recognized as the Gold Standard for anxiety disorder and depression resolution.
If your loved one wants to pursue therapy for anxiety disorder, encourage her to proceed and support her as she continues. Overcoming anxiety disorder takes time and effort, which can be discouraging at times. Encouraging her to continue can help her work through times of discouragement. Lasting success occurs for those who persevere.