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How To Support Someone With Anxiety

Include Your Partner In Self


Do you have any rituals or hobbies you use to take care of your mental health? Maybe you meditate, run or listen to relaxing music. If so, try to include your partner.

Ive done breathing exercises with boyfriends and its very intimate, said life coach Nina Rubin. Weve sat across from each other and breathed at the same slow rate.

Including your partner in rituals like this can help both of you reduce anxiety in the relationship.

Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety

Some people experience a low-level hum of anxiety that hangs over them like a storm cloud, and others have more episodic seasons or days that strike like lightening, seemingly out of nowhere. If you feel confused, put off or even annoyed by your loved ones behavior, you need to slow down, not say anything , and pay attention. Identifying the signs and symptoms of anxiety is the first step toward helping the person you love.

There are three categories of symptoms to watch for:


  • Easily startled
  • Obsessive or compulsive behavior

Sometimes, you might be able to spot these symptoms before your friend or spouse or parent does. You might be able to help them identify what theyre experiencing by kindly asking, Hey, Im feeling some tension from you. Would you share how youre feeling?

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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.

Q: How Do You Calm Someone With Anxiety

How to support someone with anxiety

This answer may be different for every couple. Ask your partner what they need and they’ll probably tell you. But there are a few ways that you can help. First, try to avoid your own negative emotions, like frustration or stress. Second, listen to what your partner is telling you. Sometimes by telling you what they need they’ll start to feel better. Third, be a patient distraction.

Distracting people from their anxiety can be very helpful, because anxiety causes people to withdraw into their thoughts and distracting them can be a way to take them out of it.

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Be The First Positive Thing They See Or Hear

The quality of a persons day can be decided within the first five minutes of waking up, explains Robin Haslam, national and international addiction and mental health counselor, and General Manager of 1000 Islands Wellness. If you know someone who is feeling especially anxious during this quarantine, find a way to make sure the first moments of their day are positive. Send them a text bright and early, or before you go to bed so they can see it when they wake up. Its critical for those feeling anxious to know that theyre not alone.

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.

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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.

Anxiety Relief Checklist

While there’s no quick fix for anxiety, there are practical steps you can take today to find relief.

Encourage Him To Seek Professional Help

How to Help Someone With Depression or Anxiety

Anxiety disorder is caused by unhealthy behavior. While self-help information can be beneficial, a professional anxiety disorder therapist is almost always required to overcome problematic anxiety. Thats because many of the underlying factors that cause issues with anxiety are invisible, and therefore, unknown to the sufferer. Unless the sufferer is professionally trained in anxiety disorder resolution, its unrealistic to think he would be able to identify, successfully address, and help himself back to lasting anxiety disorder-free health .

Click the link for more information about the best type of help for anxiety disorder.

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Do: Learn Better Communication

If youre in a relationship with someone who has anxiety, you should learn the proper way of communication. Every word that comes out of your mouth, or a word that you chose not to speak, and every action that you do can affect your partner.

Learn how to communicate better if youre dating someone anxious all the time. As part of your partners anxiety treatment, accept their illness. Talk honestly and openly about what theyre going through.

It would be helpful to encourage your partner to open up about what theyre going through. How they feel, what theyre thinking at the moment, and listen openly without judgment. If youre mad, take control of yourself and do not shout.

Understand That Anxiety Isnt One

Anxiety triggers vary wildly from person to person, as do solutions for calming an anxious mind. For some, perhaps theyd appreciate you joining them in a moment of mindfulness, Dr. Anisha Patel-Dunn, the Chief Medical Officer at LifeStance Health, tells us. Other people may prefer you take a walk around the block with them or simply offer a safe space to talk and be heard. Its OK, she explains, to ask the persons preference so you can support them in a way that will be most beneficial for them.

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Ask Them To Outline A Worst

Heres another suggestion from Perlus: Whatever the scenario is, ask the person what about the particular situation is scaring them. Ask them to outline a worst-case scenario for you, walk them through contingency plans and reinforce to them that the fear of a situation is typically greater than the reality. Ask them to call upon past situations where they have had success in the feared situation and ask them what you can do to make them feel more comfortable.

Practical Tips For Helping A Friend With Anxiety

How to Help Someone With Anxiety

Helping someone with anxiety can be intimidating. Often, the anxious person feels completely overwhelmed by their anxiety, especially if they experience panic attacks or find themselves gripped by anxious thoughts .

If your anxious friend doesn’t understand their anxiety yet, they may not be able to give you a clear answer about what you can do to be helpful to them. Use the ideas below as a starting point. The same advice applies whether the anxious person you’re trying to help is a friend, your spouse/partner, or another family member. You can always show this article to your anxious friend or loved one and get their feedback on what applies to them and what doesn’t.

If you’re looking for suggestions for how to help someone with anxiety attacks in particular, you’ll find a specific section on that at the bottom of this article. Much of the advice below also applies to how to help someone with depression. There is a lot of overlap between depression and anxiety, and many people who experience one experience the other.

1. Educate yourself about what can help anxiety.

In addition, there are specific types of anxiety strategies that are suited to being done with an accountability partner:

2. Help your anxious friend break free of avoidance behavior.

Common examples of such behavior include avoiding:

  • Making phone calls
  • Getting started on a task that feels intimidating
  • Repairing mistakes

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Remind Your Loved One That Theyre Worthy Of Being Well

One of the most important things you can do to help a friend whos struggling with anxiety is remind them that theyre worth being well. They deserve to live a full, rich and joyful lifefree from the crippling restraints of anxiety. Were complex creatures with many layers of needs, including:

  • A nutritious diet
  • Close, supportive and intimate relationships
  • A broader sense of community and belonging
  • Meaningful work
  • Healing from past trauma

If your loved one is struggling in any of the above areas, encourage them to take steps to get well. Try a fitness class together. Cook some healthy recipes. Help them dream about a new job opportunity. If theyre not interested in joining you, set an example and seek to begin your own wellness journey. Sometimes our loved ones will follow the roads that weve carved for ourselves. Whatever area need some attention, keep reminding your loved one that theyre worthy of a better life.

Q: What Should You Not Do When Dating Someone With Anxiety

Common mistakes that some partners make include telling their partner to “just not think about it” or “get over it” , finding yourself frequently annoyed by their anxiety, or trying to trick them into getting over an anxiety trigger .

Different people may also have different needs. Men are taught that anxiety is weaknesses and may feel ashamed, so watching your language about their masculinity is important. Women may be ignored when they have anxiety, so treating your partner like their anxiety matters helps. But above all talk to your partner and they’ll tell you what to do and not to do.

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The Donts: What To Avoid

As a partner of someone with anxiety, your goal is not to make the anxiety worse, avoid panic attacks, control the symptoms, and avoid this leading to depression. Whether you like it or not, you are part of your partners treatment.

And why do you do it? Because of love. Why do you keep fighting? Because you know that if the tables were turned, your partner would do the same for you. In sickness and in health, right? Here are some tips you could follow on what to avoid if your partner has anxiety.

Supporting Someone With Anxiety Or Depression


There are ways that you can help someone with anxiety or depression. It may be helpful to:

  • let them know if youve noticed a change in their behaviour
  • spend time talking about their experiences and let them know youre there to listen without being judgmental
  • help them to get information from a website, library or community health centre
  • suggest they go to a doctor or health professional, and help them to make an appointment
  • offer to go with them to their appointment and follow up with them afterwards
  • encourage them to get enough sleep, to exercise and to eat well
  • encourage family and friends to invite them out and keep in touch, but dont pressure them to participate in activities
  • contact a doctor or hospital if they become a threat to themselves or others.

It is unhelpful to:

  • put pressure on them by telling them to snap out of it or get their act together
  • stay away or avoid them
  • tell them they just need to stay busy or get out more
  • pressure them to party more or wipe out how theyre feeling with drugs and alcohol
  • assume the problem will just go away.

If you or someone you know needs support, talk to a doctor or other health professional about getting appropriate treatment.

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How Can I Help A Loved One With Anxiety

If you love someone who has an anxiety disorder, there are a lot of ways that you can support them.

First stepjust learn more about the condition. Read stories from other people who have had that diagnosis or a similar one. Sometimes the best way to really understand is to hear a moving story from someone in their own words.

Understand theres a difference between stress and an anxiety disorder. We are all stressed about life sometimes. People with anxiety disorders are trapped inside their own heads. Making people feel weak because their brains work a different way however is just not helpful. You may think youre giving tough love to somebody, but youre probably making them feel worse.

Dont demand that they follow specific treatment plans. If you had anxiety and found a certain type of medication or a particular therapist helpful, thats great! You should absolutely share that information with a friend to be helpful. But dont preach your way as the only possible way, since thats between your loved one and their treatment team. There are many evidence-based treatments out there, and recovery is highly personal.

Pick good times to have conversations. Yelling at someone whos in the middle of a panic attack for ruining a special event is not going to help anyone. Having a conversation after the fact about how you can help is a much better approach.

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