Anxiety Disorder Doesnt Mean The Person Is Mentally Inferior Or Deficient
So dont view them that way.
Issues with anxiety are caused by overly apprehensive behavior, which are learned ways of coping with life. Behaviors are learned during our formative years . Most anxiety disorder sufferers learned their overly apprehensive behavior directly or indirectly from a parent, those who raised them, or those who greatly influenced them when growing up.
In an online poll we conducted, 93 percent of respondents said they had a parent or parents who worried a lot.
Its not that anxiety disorder sufferers deliberately chose to adopt overly apprehensive behavior as a way of coping with life, but that they adopted that style of behavior believing it was normal. Most are surprised to find out they have issues with anxiety when anxiety begins to cause problems in their lives.
To overcome anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder sufferers need to learn healthy ways of coping with life, which then eliminates issues with problematic anxiety. To that end, overcoming anxiety disorder requires getting the right information, help, and support.
Rather than believing anxiety disorder sufferers are trapped in a condition they cant do anything about, know that with the right information, help, and support, they can overcome a struggle with anxiety disorder.
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.
Dont Buy Into The Common Myths About Anxiety
We have a lot of misconceptions about anxiety in our culture. As a result, we can give really bad advice to people were trying to help. Here are a few of the common phrases people with anxiety often hear:
- Just chill out.
- Try some yoga or deep breathing.
- Anxiety is a disease.
- Anxiety is a genetic disorder that was passed down to you from your parents. Its just the way you are!
- Anxiety means something is wrong with you.
- Anxiety only affects lazy, weak or undisciplined people.
- If youre anxious, youre probably hiding something from your loved ones, from God or from yourself.
- Anxiety is just stress. We all worry. Get over it.
Now, you might not say those things word for word, but I bet youve heard a similar rationale beforeor at least felt it. The truth is, anxiety is caused by about a million different factors converging together to create a chaotic ecosystem. And while things like yoga and breathing can help, healing from anxiety takes more than just a 10-minute meditation with some essential oils. Dont belittle or minimize the anxiety your loved one is feeling.
Don’t Miss: How To Overcome Anxiety Depression
Do A Daily Or Routine Meditation
While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.
If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga, or walking meditation. There are many free guided meditations on apps like InsightTimer that can help you get started.
Know When Its Time To Ask For Help
Even though the symptoms of anxiety can feel overwhelming and permanent, anxiety is highly treatable. If someone you love is experiencing pervasive anxiety, or you have concerns that anxiety is interfering with daily life, encourage them to seek help from their primary care physician or mental health professional.
Of all the ways to help someone with anxiety, this may be the most important one.
As a friend or loved one, your role is to offer support, not treatment. Offer to assist with locating a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist that treats anxiety. Talk to them about online and in-person therapy options.
Individuals living with anxiety can often feel better by undergoing a combination of therapies, including psychotherapy, medication, and self-management.
You May Like: Why Do We Have Anxiety
Dos And Donts Of Helping Someone With Anxiety
- It is challenging to love someone that lives with anxiety
- Some of the ways that friends/family try to help can make anxiety worse
- There are many dos and donts for those who have loved ones with anxiety
- Your support is going to be a big part of their recovery
- If you personally have never experienced an anxiety disorder, it is helpful to remember that the experience of living with anxiety is typically not what most people imagine
Building A Support System
The final step in leading through anxiety is making sure you have ongoing support. This means not only surrounding yourself with the right people but also developing routines that help you deal with bouts of anxiety and lay the groundwork for maintaining your mental health.
Schedule, structure, and scenario plan
When you have anxiety, you need to be intentional about what your days look like, as I discussed earlier. The methods are basic: making lists, prioritizing, and breaking work into manageable chunks. Chop tasks that make you extremely anxious into bearable pieces. I learned this trick from my own psychiatrist, Carol Birnbaum.
Also use the detective work you did about your triggers to prepare for situations or events you know will cause you anxiety. If public speaking stresses you out, make sure you leave plenty of time to rehearse presentations. If youre afraid of flying, mentally rehearse a business trip from Im going to pack to Im going to order a cab and call my friend while Im on my way to the airport to Ill buy M& Ms when I get there because they make me happy. And finally, once on the plane: Im going to take a Xanax, do a calming meditation, and survive.
Know who your safe team is
Read Also: How To Journal To Help Anxiety
How To Stop Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are a very different beast. They still benefit from controlling anxiety, and you should still strongly consider the tips above, but when you’re suffering from panic attacks, you often need more than that. Panic attacks cause another form of anxiety – fear of getting a panic attack – and the irony of this is that this fear can actually cause panic attacks. Luckily, there is one strategy that can be effective at coping with panic attacks:
This is not entirely true, of course. There are effective ways to prevent panic attacks and train yourself to control the severity of these attacks. But the start, you need to learn to do nothing.
That’s because there are many important things you need to understand about panic attacks:
Reducing the severity of your panic attacks will actually help treat the panic attacks, because you’ll start to fear them less. That’s why if you learn to do nothing when you have a panic attack, you’ll actually start coping with your panic attacks better.
The other way to cope with your anxiety attacks is through distractions. Healthy distractions like walking or talking on the phone stop you from focusing too much on your worries, and prevent your anxiety from taking over your thoughts. Any healthy distraction is a good distraction for dealing with panic, and finding one that works for you is a great start.
Was this article helpful?
Know What Is Not Helpful
According to Saltz, its important to understand that continuing to be the one to say dont worry about that because is not actually helping, even if your friend or loved one thinks it is. You can’t make someone stop seeking reassurance, but you can tell them it’s actually making the situation worse, she says.
Another mistake to avoid, Richardson says, is taking on the role of a clinical professional. “Even if you have experience with anxiety, you don’t always know what’s best for someone else,” she says.
Instead, Richardson recommends being supportive and transparent and let your friend or loved one know you’re there for them. “You can also share what might have worked for you, but then give them space and unconditional positive regard as they navigate their own journey,” she says.
Its also important to avoid judging and blaming a loved one when they are feeling anxious. Even when youre the most frustrated, stop, take a breath, and step back. They need to see that you love them unconditionally, even when anxiety is high.
Anxiety Doesnt Have To Be Forever
Good folks, I want to high-five you for loving the people around you enough to learn how you can support them. If youre interested in learning more about topics related to anxiety, I invite you to grab a copy of my Quick Read, Redefining Anxiety. Its a short book that uncovers four common myths about anxiety, and it offers you a plan to get your life back on track.
About the author
Dr. John Delony
Dr. John Delony is a mental health expert with two PhDs from Texas Tech Universityone in counselor education and supervision, and the other in higher education administration. Before joining Ramsey Solutions in 2020, John spent two decades in crisis response, walking with people through severe trauma. Now at Ramsey Solutions, John writes, speaks and teaches on relationships, mental health, anxiety and wellness. He also serves as co-host of The Ramsey Show, the second-largest talk show in the nation thats heard by 18 million weekly listeners, as well as host of The Dr. John Delony Show. In 2022, Johns book Own Your Past, Change Your Future instantly became a #1 national bestseller. You can also find John featured on DailyMailTV, Fox Business and The Minimalists Podcast.Learn More.
Focus On The Relaxing Time Together
Calm and relaxing time might be a definition of happiness for people with anxiety. If you are not sure how to help a wife with anxiety or husband with depression and anxiety, ask them what helps them relax. It could be spending time in nature, watching something together, or mindfulness exercises.
People suffering from anxiety often have low levels of mindfulness. You can do a body scan exercise together and bring more peace and calm into your lives. Take a look:
You May Like: How To Lower Social Anxiety
Learn The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety manifests in different ways in different people. However, there are similar symptoms that can co-occur. While the following isnt an exhaustive list by any means, it does represent some of the most common symptoms associated with anxiety. People with anxiety often experience:
- Repetitive feelings of nervousness, fear, or panic
- Constantly feeling wound up or on-edge
- Restlessness and jitteriness
People with chronic anxiety may also experience muscle tightness, dry mouth, sweating, irritation, overgeneralizing, and a sense of impending doom. They may feel that the worst is always about to happen, even if theres no logical reasoning for that type of thought. At times, they may even experience a panic attack.
Sing Or Listen To Music
Are you one of those people who are afraid to sing out in public but an American Idol wannabe in the shower? This might actually be a great stress-reliever, as research led by Tom Shakespeare shows that singing improves peoples mental health and sense of belonging!
Action step: Find your perfect song and sing it out loud !
Also Check: How To Comfort Someone With Anxiety
Get Involved In Your Community
Find a way to volunteer or be active in your community.
Science shows that helping others may influence levels of oxytocin in the brains of volunteers, according to a study in Hormones and Behavior by Michael J. Poulin and E. Alison Holman. Oxytocin helps the body manage stress.
Helping others also allows people to focus on something other than their anxiety.
Instead Say: Im Always Here For You
You dont have to understand what your friend is going through to be there for them, and you dont have to compare your experiences to theirs to show them that you understand what they feel.
If you dont know what its like to have severe anxiety, be honest about that. But also let them know that you know its real for them and you want to be there to support them however you can.
Showing you care will help if your friend is self-conscious about their anxiety or has a hard time opening up about it. Listen without judgment to what they have to say and what their experiences are like. Being there for someone even when you cant relate is a powerful way of showing support.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety
Dont Say: Have You Tried Meditation/yoga/cutting Caffeine/exercising More
Meditation and yoga and deep breathing and all of the other anti-anxiety trends that have taken pop culture by storm might be helpful for some people, maybe even your ultra-anxious friend. But they also might not.
Extreme anxiety can feel consuming, which means that small things like taking a few deep breaths might not be enough to counter panic in the moment. Anxiety can also make someone feel so restless that sitting quietly and letting their thoughts float away is pretty much impossible.
Everyone with anxiety has different relaxation techniques that work for them and some people need to do something active, like go for a run, instead of sitting and breathing calmly. Others may need to work with a therapist. Dont offer unsolicited advice unless youve been trained to treat people with anxiety disorders or you have one yourself and want to share your experience.
How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
Strategies To Cope With Anxiety
When we feel stressed out or anxious, itâs very easy to let our other needs slide to the wayside. In the book, Coping with Anxiety: Ten Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear and Worry, authors Bourne and Garano provide the following 10 strategies, some of which echo the bottom tiers of Maslowâs hierarchy of needs.
How To Handle People With Anxiety Problems
This article was co-authored by Rebecca Ward, LMFT, SEP, PCC, MA. Rebecca A. Ward, LMFT, SEP, PCC is the Founder of the Iris Institute, a San Francisco, California-based business focusing on using somatic expertise to teach individuals and groups the skills to deal with dilemmas using interventions, including her own Original Blueprint® method. Ms. Ward specializes in treating stress, anxiety, depression, and trauma. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist , a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner , and a Professional Certified Coach accredited by the International Coach Federation . Rebecca holds an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marymount University and an MA in Organizational Leadership from The George Washington University.There are 29 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 79,893 times.
Also Check: How To Get Out Of An Anxiety Attack
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.