How To Help Someone With Anxiety
All of us worry and get scared from time to time. But those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people dont know how to best help someone with anxiety. People are often dismissive of people experiencing anxiety, says Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. With other medical illnesses, you may be able to see physical symptoms. But with anxiety, you dont necessarily see what the person is dealing with. So its important to be sensitive to what the person with anxiety is going through, even if it doesnt make sense to you. Its distressing to watch a loved one experience panic attacks and face anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
Stopping Panic: What To Do When Youre Having A Panic Attack
Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:
Just breath, deeply. Relaxing your body can help sidestep a panic attack. Practice breathing in through your nose for a count of five, hold it for five, and then breathe out through your mouth for a count of five. Or take a class in meditation and breathing techniques.
Count backward. If you suddenly feel your heart pounding or experience other physical clues that a panic attack is barreling for you, try this distraction suggested by Rob Cole, LHMC, clinical director of mental health services at Banyan Treatment Centers. Start counting backward from 100 by 3s. The act of counting at random intervals helps you to focus and override the anxious thoughts that are trying to sneak into your psyche. Better still keep loose change in your pocket. Add a dime to a nickel, then add two pennies, and so on. By controlling your thoughts and focusing on something outside yourself you will being to feel calmer.
Get grounded. Grounding yourself is another helpful technique. Tune yourself into 4 things around you that you can see, 3 things you can touch, 2 that you smell and 1 you can taste. Again, forcing your mind to consider something outside yourself helps, says Cole.
Try DBT. Caroline, 16, has found helpful and shes discovered that her panic attacks may be heightened if not triggered by bright light. Her tip: wear sunglasses. She also shies away from conversation during the attack. Dont ask me if Im OK, she says.
What To Say To Someone Having A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can be scary to experience and observe. If you are with someone who is having a panic attack, there are things you can say to help. Clear, direct messages are more effective than general comments. It is important to be non-judgemental and provide reassurance.
- Talk to them in a calm voice and speak in short sentences.
- Ask about medications they may use during a panic attack.
- Ask what they need or what has helped them in the past rather than making assumptions.
- Help them slow their breathing by focusing on slow, deep inhales through the nose, and long exhales through the mouth.
- Offer additional suggestions in a way that makes them feel in control. Do this by asking them if they’d like to try a new strategy rather than telling them what to do.
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Name What Youre Feeling
When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.
Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.
Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.
In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.
Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.
Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.
When To Get Help
It can be frightening to watch someone have a panic attack, but at what point should you bring in additional help? Its hard to say.
Simply sticking around and seeing them through the experience might not feel like much to you, but it can make a significant difference for the person having the attack.
That said, reach out for emergency help if:
- chest pain feels like squeezing and moves to their arms or shoulders
- symptoms persist for longer than 20 minutes and get worse, not better
- shortness of breath doesnt improve
- pressure in the chest lasts more than a minute or two
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Causes Of Anxiety Fear And Panic
There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.
When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.
This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.
Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.
What Not To Say To Someone With Anxiety
There are things you should try and avoid saying too. In general, try not to minimise how someone feels or dismiss what they’re saying as an overreaction. Don’t say things like:
- Try not to think about it
- I get anxious sometimes too
- Maybe you’re just an anxious person
- You’ve got nothing to be anxious about
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How To Calm Down From An Anxiety Attack: 5 Practical Self
An anxiety attack is a sudden wave of intense fear and anxiety, accompanied by a pounding heart, a tightening chest, shallow breathing, and the sensation that the world is crumbling around you. This overwhelming experience is common but nonetheless frightening and confusing, and even just one attack can instill a deep fear of the experience happening again.
Attacks are incredibly uncomfortable and can lead those who are prone to avoidance behaviors. In themselves, theyre not usually harmful in the long term, but the lengths one may go to avoid them can be damaging, such as substance misuse, social isolation, and even self-harm.
In this article, well offer some evidence-based methods and techniques to help you on how to calm down from an anxiety attack. Each persons experience of an attack is unique, so what works for one person may not be as effective for another. As such, its wise to have various tools and techniques under your belt to apply when you need them.
If youre one of the 1 in 5 US adults or 1 in 13 people globally who struggle with an anxiety disorder, then you may already be all too familiar with anxiety/panic attacks. No matter how much experience you have with them, theyre always a pain. Rationally, you know that youre not really in danger, but your rational mind and your body disagree and send you into hyperdrive survival mode.
Do You Need To Vent Or Would You Like Advice
Sometimes, your loved one might need to get it all out, and asking this question indicates that you respect their emotions. Validating their feelings in this way is instantly soothing. Plus, coming off with advice when a person is in a frenzied state can seem condescending. This question opens up the door to let you help them, but it also demonstrates respect for their needs.
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Validate Your Childs Feelings
Validation is a powerful tool for helping kids calm down by communicating that you understand and accept what theyre feeling. Validation is showing acceptance, which is not the same thing as agreement, Dr. Giller explains. Its nonjudgmental. And its not trying to change or fix anything. Feeling understood, she explains, helps kids let go of powerful feelings.
Effective validation means paying undivided attention to your child. You want to be fully attuned so you can notice her body language and facial expressions and really try to understand her perspective, says Dr. Samar. It can help to reflect back and ask, Am I getting it right? Or if youre truly not getting it, its okay to say, Im trying to understand.
Helping kids by showing them that youre listening and trying to understand their experience can help avoid explosive behavior when a child is building towards a tantrum.
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.
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Acknowledge It And Write Down The Signs And Symptoms
Having an anxiety attack is definitely scary. It can also feel like a heart attack.
But once you know youre having an anxiety attack, acknowledge that it is happening.
Now, try to jot down a few of the symptoms, feelings, and thoughts you are experiencing. By writing it down, you can see it from a different perspective. This makes it less overwhelming.
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Supporting Your Loved Ones Bpd Treatment
Borderline personality disorder is highly treatable, yet its common for people with BPD to avoid treatment or deny that they have a problem. Even if this is the case with your loved one, you can still offer support, improve communication, and set boundaries while continuing to encourage your friend or family member to seek professional help.
While medication options are limited, the guidance of a qualified therapist can make a huge difference to your loved ones recovery. BPD therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and schema-focused therapy, can help your loved one work through their relationship and trust issues and explore new coping techniques. In therapy, they can learn how to calm the emotional storm and self-soothe in healthy ways.
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How To Cope With Anxiety Naturally
Anxiety is the bodys natural response to stress. But it can be overwhelming to deal with, not to mention downright unpleasant. Whether your anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heartpalpitations, nervous tension, or panic attack, its important to understand how you can calm yourself down.
Understand five common types of anxiety disorders
The following strategies and tips can help you manage stress and regain control over your thoughts.
Hold Your Own Boundaries
Remember that it is important to take care of yourself too! Your friend is likely to feel guilty if they think their anxiety is keeping you from doing what you want. So, dont let it. Do the thing you want to do and let your friend know they can trust you to take care of your social and emotional needs. When they are asking for more than you have to give, let them know. I love you. I cant talk now, but lets have a virtual coffee date at 2 tomorrow.
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What To Do When Someone Else Is Having A Panic Attack
This section will provide some tips on how to help a person having a panic attack.
First, try talking them through a few of the methods above. For instance, help them find a peaceful spot, encourage them to take slow, deep breaths, and ask them to focus on a nearby object.
If you do not know the person, introduce yourself and ask them if they need help. Ask them if they have had a panic attack before, and if so, what helps them regain control.
People can also try the following tips when someone else is having a panic attack:
- Try to remain calm. This will help them relax a little more.
- Suggest moving to a quiet spot nearby and help them find one. Sitting down in a comfortable place can be very effective, as it allows them to focus on their breathing.
- Remind the person that panic attacks always end.
- Stay positive and nonjudgmental. Avoid validating any negative statements.
- Try having a gentle, friendly conversation to distract them and help them feel safe.
- Avoid telling them to calm down or telling them that there is nothing to worry about, as this devalues their emotions.
- Stay with them. If they feel that they need to be alone, make sure they remain visible.
Knowing How Anxiety Works Can Help You To Better Support Loved Ones Without Inadvertently Making Their Anxiety Worse
When I first moved into my spouses house in 2001, she didnt want to include my name in our answering machine greeting. Because of our big age gap and same-sex relationship, she was justifiably anxious about how her parents would react to my having moved in so she kept it from them for several months. Though I felt a great deal of compassion for her and her situation, I was also frustrated that her anxiety was affecting meand I didnt like acting as though we had something to be ashamed of.
Scenarios like this are common when someone in your life is struggling with anxiety. Your loved one may feel so fearful that they avoid taking action, or act in ways that are inconsiderate or that increase your own anxiety. This might look like a boyfriend constantly putting off important tasks or discussions, a friend complaining about being lonely but refusing to date, or a boss always focusing on what could go wrong, making everyone miserable. Its difficult to witness anxiety in someone you know, and its even harder when their anxiety triggers yours.
But what can you do to help anxious people?
While its upsetting and frustrating to see these folks suffer, there are things you can do to help. Here are some of the strategies I recommend based on my book, The Anxiety Toolkit.
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Do I Need Treatment For Anxiety
Thereâs a lot you can do on your own to relieve anxiety, but sometimes you need help. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders.
Signs that itâs time to talk to a mental health professional include:
- Constant or nearly constant anxiety
- Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life
- Anxiety about things that donât actually threaten you
Check your health insurance policy to see what mental health services your plan covers. Then, review a list of your in-network providers to find one to connect with.
âYou donât want to add to your anxiety by paying big out-of-pocket fees,â Kissen says.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend a mental health professional with experience treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Rosmarin notes that itâs important to find a provider you click with and trust. He also says therapy doesnât need to go on indefinitely to be effective.
âA course of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety may be eight to 10 sessions,â he says. âThereâs also data to suggest that people feel substantially better after just one therapy session for panic disorder.â
Tips And Strategies To Manage Anxiety And Stress
At some point, anxiety and stress affect everyone. They can manifest differently in different people, and the level of anxiety one experiences can vary, but there is one thing for certain: there are ways to manage anxiety, even if it feels out of control.
Of course, if anxiety is affecting your everyday life and getting in the way of your daily productivity for an extended period, please seek assistance. Find Help
Information about causes and treatment goes a long way in helping to understand anxiety and stress, but there are also some physical and mental things you can do when feeling anxious or stressed. Some coping strategies from ADAAs experts include:
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Ways For How To Calm Down When Anxiety Strikes
Anxiety is a terrible feeling. Your heart races. Your mind races even faster. You feel like all of the problems that have been hovering at the back of your mind suddenly need to be dealt with all at once. You imagine terrible things happening even though theres no good reason to think that they are. You panic.
How can you deal with this awful feeling when it creeps up on you. Here are ten ways to help yourself calm down when youre feeling anxious: