Help Someone Who Is Anxious To Temper Their Thinking
Youll be a more useful support person if you educate yourself about cognitive-behavioral models of anxiety, which you can do by reading or attending a therapy session with your loved one. But, in lieu of that, you might try using some techniques that can be helpful to people suffering from anxiety.
Typically, anxious people have a natural bias towards thinking about worst-case scenarios. To help them get some perspective on this, you can use a cognitive therapy technique where you ask them to consider three questions:
- Whats the worst that could happen?
- Whats the best that could happen?
- Whats most realistic or likely?
So, if your loved one is anxious that they were supposed to hear from their parents hours ago but havent, you can suggest they consider the worst, best, and most likely explanations for the lack of contact.
Take care not to overly reassure your loved one that their fears wont come to pass. Its more useful to emphasize their coping ability. For example, if theyre worried about having a panic attack on a plane, you could say, That would be extremely unpleasant and scary, but youd deal with it. And, if your loved one is feeling anxious that someone else is angry with them or disappointed in them, its often useful to remind them that you can only ever choose your own actions and not completely control other peoples responses.
You Answered Yes To Question
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions, you might have an anxiety disorder. Most people deal with stress in their lives, but when stress begins to significantly interfere with our functioning and/or causes impairment, it might be more problematic than âeveryday stressâ. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and think that they are negatively interfering with your life, it might be time to seek treatment!
It will be important to begin with a structured clinical evaluation by a professional to see if you meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, which will inform your treatment plan. Our mental health impacts many aspects of our lives, such as our physical health and our quality of life, which is why it is so important to address any mental health problems with effective treatments!
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. To begin your search for a mental health professional, go to the ADAAs Therapist Directory.
What Strategies Best Help You When You Are Feeling Anxious
During a panic attack, anxiety sufferers may not remember what to do, such as taking deep breaths, and focusing on each breath. Or he or she may forget that taking an anti-anxiety medication will help. Asking what normally helps can remind them of what to do. Then help him or her take the needed steps to calm the attack.
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Encourage Them To Try Meditation Or Deep Breathing
These are two of the most effective home remedies for anxiety.
Meditation can be performed alone or in a group. Some people with anxiety find that guided meditation is helpful, since it can help redirect the mind and slow down racing thoughts.
You could also send your loved one a link to some apps for anxiety. They can browse and see what works best for them.
has shown that deep, controlled breathing can promote feelings of relaxation by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls bodily functions when a person is at rest.
To help them practice, you could even offer to meditate or do some deep breathing with them.
How Anxiety Disorders Affect People
For people dealing with anxiety disorders, symptoms can feel strange and confusing at first. For some, the physical sensations can be strong and upsetting. For others, feelings of doom or fear that can happen for no apparent reason can make them feel scared, unprotected, and on guard. Constant worries can make a person feel overwhelmed by every little thing. All this can affect someones concentration, confidence, sleep, appetite, and outlook.
People with anxiety disorders might avoid talking about their worries, thinking that others might not understand. They may fear being unfairly judged, or considered weak or scared. Although anxiety disorders are common, people who have them may feel misunderstood or alone.
Some people with anxiety disorders might blame themselves. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or mistakenly think that anxiety is a weakness or a personal failing. Anxiety can keep people from going places or doing things they enjoy.
The good news is, doctors today understand anxiety disorders better than ever before and, with treatment, a person can feel better.
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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.
How You Can Help People With Anxiety
Anxiety is something that comes and goes for all of us, for some people though it sticks around unnecessarily. Sometimes it feels harder to work out whether your friend is struggling than to know how you can help people with anxiety. I feel privileged as I get an insight into the minds of other people. Essentially, I regularly hear the other side of the story. While you sit at home wondering what you have done wrong, I hear that your friend is ignoring you because she is struggling so much to get through a day. Reaching out to others is just too much. Whilst you feel that you are burdening him because he hasnt returned your calls for a week. The reality is he might not have the strength to put on the brave face he feels he needs to answer your call.
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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.
Stay In Your Time Zone
Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about whatâs going to happen, âreel yourself back to the present,â says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself: Whatâs happening right now? Am I safe? Is there something I need to do right now? If not, make an âappointmentâ to check in with yourself later in the day to revisit your worries so those distant scenarios donât throw you off track, she says.
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How To Deal With Anxiety Attacks
*If youre having an anxiety attack right now and need instant tips to calm yourself down, scroll down to Overcoming and Controlling an Anxiety Attack Naturally*
Do you know what to do in an anxiety attack? If youve experienced one yourself, you know that when it comes down to it, in all truth theres no real way to stop an anxiety attack.
Luckily, there are ways to manage andcontrol them attacks as they happen. While I cant tell you how to prevent an anxiety attack , dealing with it as it happens is very manageable and possible and all it takes is a bit of practice!
Remember, everything Im telling you is from my own experiences so if this works for me, it can definitely work for you too.
Offer A Coping Statement
While someone is having a panic attack, we do want to be empathic, but we dont want to reinforce the idea that panic is dangerous, harmful, or needing to be reduced, minimized, or escaped.
So, rather than giving your loved one lots of reassurance and fussing over them, it can help to remind them that they can cope with whats happening on their own. This gives them back their power to deal with the situation.
You can do this by offering supportive statements like:
- You can handle these symptoms.
- This will pass.
- The feelings arent comfortable, but you can accept them.
- This will roll over you, like a wave.
Remind them that, although panic attacks can feel never-ending, they typically peak in about 10 minutes. Its not possible for the body to stay ramped up for much longer than that.
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Help Keep Their Minds On Other Things
People with panic disorder shouldnt dwell on their conditions. Their negative thoughts and emotions are often their worst enemy. This is true during a panic attack, but it can be true before the onset of an attack as well. Worrying about attacks can help bring them on, since they lead to overreaction at even the slightest hint of a symptom.
However, when the mind of a panic disorder sufferer is focused on something else, it can inoculate them against the effects of too much worry. It can shake them out of their overly self-conscious slumber. Even when an attack is occurring, its intensity can be reduced if the persons mind can be diverted to other things.
Interesting conversations and shared activities can keep panic away. Not all the time, but at least some of the time. You should speak slowly and keep the topics or actions relatively simple. This way, the persons attention can shift and their focus becomes engaged more easily.
Finding The Right Words To Say To Calm A Person With Anxiety
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Find A Therapist To Help You Cope
If anxiety impedes your ability to live a healthy, productive life, its essential to seek professional help to curtail the progressive nature of anxiety and panic disorders. There, you can help determine the root causes and take effective steps toward management. Psychotherapy which address mental disorders via psychological instead of medical means is a common treatment, notes Strauss.
There are often limiting negative beliefs that contribute to the genesis of anxiety, and psychotherapy can help the client track and challenge the automatic thoughts that accompany the emotions of anxiety and fear, she explains. Its important that one tries to learn the skills to cope with anxiety in addition to consider the use of medication. Treatment modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , Dialectical Behavioral Therapy , Internal Family Systems, EMDR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Interpersonal Therapy can all be used to help the client become increasingly more aware of what triggers anxiety.
Over time, you will be better equipped to identify these negative thought patterns as they arise, and be able to nip them in the bud, instead of having them spiral out of control.
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How To Help Someone With Depression And Anxiety
Whilst anxiety and depression are not the same thing they can manifest in similar ways. You might notice that your friend avoids going out and seeing other people. It is particularly noticeable when your friend stops doing things they previously enjoyed. Both anxiety and depression have physical symptoms. Anxiety can cause the heart to race and changes in breathing. Your friend who feels anxious might become sweaty and shaky. When someone feels depressed their speech and movements may become slower or faster. Their eating habits may change, and their energy levels may drop. When someone feels anxious or depressed, they might struggle to concentrate.
There are everyday things that will help someone with depression or anxiety for example taking a walk. You will help your friend by finding enjoyable walks to do together. The more natural the better. Some people might find it easier to agree to this if they do not feel that you are doing it only for them. Dig deep and find the reasons it benefits you too and share this with your friend. Let them know that you can help each other.
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