Youre Going To Make Yourself Sick
First, it really is possible to worry yourself sick, says Hafeez: Our brain is connected to our entire body. Stress can trigger anxiety and cause the circulation of hormones that could affect your gut or your blood pressure, for example. The issue here lies in the motive behind your statement, as it serves to try to get them to stop their anxious thoughts . Thats not going to work, and may increase a sense of overwhelm, she says. Always lead with empathy. Watch your tone and watch your language as you speak. Its okay to voice your concern that stress can make them feel sick, but dont use that as a tactic to nudge them into feeling less anxious, says Hafeez.
What Not To Say
Itâs also important to know what not to say to someone whoâs anxious.â
âYouâll get over it./Snap out of it.â Anxiety disorders donât work like this. Often, it requires help from a mental health professional in the form of talk therapy, medication, or a combination of therapies. Remember that your friend or family member doesnât choose to feel this way, so itâs not something that they can turn off to feel normal again.â
âI know, ___ makes me feel really anxious, too.â Comparing your own anxieties to theirs isnât going to help them. You probably feel rational anxiety about things that happen in your life, but you canât equate those feelings to the irrational feelings people with anxiety disorders may have. Itâs not the same, and this diminishes your loved oneâs experience.â
âHave you tried ___?â Donât ask someone with anxiety if theyâve tried certain health or wellness techniques to overcome their feelings. While this may work for people with temporary anxiety about certain situations, it may not work for someone with an anxiety disorder.
Understand Differences In How Anxiety Manifests
Because of evolution, were wired to respond to fear by either fight, flight, or freeze. For different people, one of these responses will typically dominate. For instance, my spouse tends to freeze and will bury her head in the sand rather than deal with things that make her feel stressed and panicky. I tend more toward fighting, and will become irritable, excessively perfectionistic, or dogmatic if I feel stressed.
When you understand that anxiety is designed to put us into a mode of threat sensitivity, its easier to understand someone who is feeling scared and acting out by being irritable or defensive, and to find compassion for them. By paying attention to how anxiety manifests in the person you care about, you can learn their patterns and be in a better position to help.
Also Check: Does Abilify Help With 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.
What Can Help To Motivate Someone With Anxiety
Here are the few things that will motivate an anxious person to stay on track:
- Stay clear and away from social media: Its important to stay away and avoid any social media. People with anxiety
- Stay away from any comparison : Comparison can really be an absolute counter productive. Comparison all kinds, yo
Read Also: What Can Anxiety Lead To
What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that misreading of others behavior may play a role in causing or worsening social anxiety. For example, you may think that people are staring or frowning at you when they truly are not. Underdeveloped social skills are another possible contributor to social anxiety. For example, if you have underdeveloped social skills, you may feel discouraged after talking with people and may worry about doing it in the future. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
Lets Make A Plan For Whenever Youre Feeling Anxious
Help them come up with a plan they can turn to in their most anxious moments. It might include âreminders about quick and easy actions that increase their sense of safety and calm,â Pargman says, âwhether it is taking a walk or engaging in a grounding exercise.â If they reach out and say theyâre anxious, text them back and remind them about the plan.
You May Like: Why Do I Feel Anxiety In My Stomach
Why Do You Feel Anxious
This is one of the most infuriating questions, ever. But everybody close to me has asked it at least once over the years. If I knew why I felt so anxious, then surely Id be able to find a bloody solution! Asking why only highlights how clueless I am. Still, I dont blame them. Its natural for humans to ask questions and try to determine what the problem is. We like to solve things.
When your friend is struggling with anxiety, dont use comments like these. Here are five ways you can actually help them:
Do Listen To How They Want To Be Supported
When you ask the person how you can support them, listen carefully to their preferences. After all, you want to know how to help people with anxiety and support them. They may want help breaking down a task they are anxious about, they may want you to distract them from their anxious thoughts or they may just want someone to talk to.
Don’t Say: Stop Thinking About It
Say a persons worry relates to speaking in public. Their thought pattern goes likes this: What if I get up there and forget what Im going to say or I start to shake when I give the speech? So you say, Get that worry out of your mind and dont even think about your speech right now. But thats not helpful because it becomes harder to push an anxious thought out of your head than to accept the fact that youre thinking an anxious thought and letting it go by. If I say I dont want you to think of a pink elephant, thats all you can think about, Domingues says. Thats how worries work. The harder you fight not to think about it, the stronger the worry becomes.
Say instead: “I know this kind of thing makes you really anxious. If you want to talk about what you’re feeling or practice with me beforehand, I’m all ears.”
Its more helpful for an anxious person to acknowledge the worry, validate it, and say, This is how I feel. This is my worry. Im going to accept it and hope I can let it go.
Things People With Anxiety Want Their Loved Ones To Say
Last year, HelloGiggles published a piece entitled 7 things people with anxiety want their loved ones to know. Out of the outpouring of responses and comments, one of the biggest questions was, Great, that makes sense but what can I do to help? Heres what the author had to say.
With disturbing clarity, those of us with anxiety can picture the true terror of anxiety attacks. The sweaty palms, the rapid pounding in our chest, the ache all over our body born from tight muscles all of the physical symptoms can be painful. But what really makes anxiety attacks crippling is how they affect the mind. Suddenly, mundane tasks seem overwhelming. Fear courses through our veins. We feel like were drowning, and for those few minutes, we have no idea how to cope.
We also know how difficult it can be for others to navigate our anxiety attacks. Most of us have known our fair share of people who refused to understand or acknowledge our struggles as real.
Thats what makes us adore you, our loved ones, even more. We know it can be so difficult, but here are seven things you can say that can help us both in this process.
1. How can I help?
The end game isnt the point here. These four little words are unassuming they project nothing but kindness and warmth. Just knowing that theres someone there, non-judgmental, solid, ready to help us up when weve fallen that in itself means more than you know.
2. We have all the time in the world.
4. You are not crazy.
Also Check: How To Stop Health Anxiety
I Know You Cant Control It
Anxiety has had a lot of bad press over the years, and there is still a widely-held belief that it, and other mental illnesses, can be effectively controlled with will-power. Anybody with anxiety can accurately proclaim that this belief is false, but that does not stop people believing that mental illness is series of imaginary afflictions concocted by people hoping to gain pity from the masses. As the ones who feel this stigma, hearing our loved ones say I know you cant control it, or you are not making this up, or this is not your fault is a form of validation. It lets us know that you are taking us seriously, as well as our illness. That means a lot in a world where our illness is often dismissed.
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
Don’t Miss: How Do I Know If I Have Social Anxiety
Youre Not Alone I May Not Understand Exactly How You Feel But Youre Not Alone
Depression is incredibly common. Its estimated that from 2013 to 2016, of U.S. adults experienced depression at least once.
This is from the data we have. Many people dont seek help.
Depression can make many people feel alone and like they should isolate. Tell them theyre not alone. Be there for them, even if you dont have a similar personal experience.
If youve had depression, you can share that you know what theyre going through. This can help them relate. However, keep the focus on them. Remember to listen first.
Dont Enable Their Anxieties
When someone has anxiety, they may try to avoid certain places or scenarios. As a result, you may have started to modify your behaviour as well. For example, you may have started to avoid certain places or scenarios too, or may have started taking on tasks to help the person continue with their avoidance.
We understand that this may seem helpful as you are stopping the person from worrying in the short term, but this avoidance can actually have a negative impact on them in the long run. Their continued avoidance can perpetuate their worries and prevent them from recognising that they could actually manage in the scenarios that they are evading.
Don’t Miss: How Are Anxiety And Depression Related
Want To Go For A Walk With Me
To follow up after the text above, send along a few ideas for relaxing activities, like a walk in the park, a trip to the corner store for bagels, or whatever else might be comforting or distracting. Bonus points if you make it sound like something you were about to do anyway so that they donât feel pressured.
Other Peoples Concerns Are Like Professional Diagnoses
Anything that other people say about people with anxiety, they take as a professional diagnose. Most people are able to make decisions for themselves and know how to take advice listen carefully but eventually make their own choice. However, people with anxiety will take almost anything you say to heart. Other peoples concerns and opinions are put on the same pedestal as any professional advice.
Recommended Reading: Does Concerta Help With Anxiety
You Are Safe Take A Deep Breath
Remind them that theyâre safe and suggest a deep breath â in through the nose and out through the mouth. âTaking time to breathe out through the mouth is a helpful way to slow down one’s central nervous system,â Michelle Pargman, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor, tells Bustle. You could even ask them to join you in taking a deep breath so they donât feel singled out.
What Not To Say To Someone With Anxiety
Anxiety can take a toll on just about every aspect of a persons life. According to experts like psychologist Golda Ginsburg, who talked to Time Health, anxiety can be so severe it brings on a panic attack. When a person experiences a panic attack, their body goes into a fight or flight response as if theyre in serious danger. This elevates the heart rate and sends adrenaline pumping through their veins.
The fight or flight response is important, and an individuals survival can depend on it, but living in that state for long periods of time is physically and emotionally exhausting. Ginsburg says that people with severe anxiety can suffer from chronic insomnia. Others may throw up when their anxiety becomes unbearable. People who have panic attacks can even feel like theyre dying.
These are serious symptoms, and certainly not ones to be taken lightly. This is why a casual comment can be so damaging for someone who deals with anxiety. Heres what to never tell someone who is suffering with anxiety.
Im Always Here If You Need To Talk
Sometimes a person with anxiety will want to talk through what is bothering them. Other times they will prefer to be by themselves for a while so they can sort out what is going on in their heads. And then there will be times when they will want to be by themselves, but will want to talk it through later. Whatever the case, many people with anxiety worry that they will be bothering or burdening their friends and families if they share their anxiety problems. Letting the anxiety sufferer in your life know that you are always there to talk, and that they will not be bothering you by doing so, is a hugely reassuring thing to hear.