Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Feeling anxious from time to time is expected. It is your body’s flight-flight-freeze response that prepares you to defend yourself when you think that you are in danger. At times, it can even turn into motivation that helps you perform at your best. However, it becomes a problem when you feel scared, even when there is no real danger. This can be exhausting and scary to the point that it can interfere with your routine and stop you from living your life to the fullest.
If you know someone struggling with anxiety, they may have seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and it can be hard to know what to do. When this happens, all you have to do is be there for them. Here are some ways to give them the support they need:
Anxiety can be overwhelming and lead people to act and respond in what appears to be irrational ways. Since it affects moods and activities, it can cause frustrations in the people around them. Unfortunately, many misinformed individuals dismiss this condition simply as stress or, worse, an act for attention.
The truth is there is nothing worse than someone saying “just snap out of it” to someone dealing with anxiety. The best thing to do is to be compassionate, kind, and patient. Doing so will make most anxious individuals feel less alone as their emotions are validated.
Seeing your loved one struggle with anxiety may compel you to provide them with quick fixes because you don’t want to see them having a hard time. But when it comes to anxiety, this approach may not work.
What you can do instead is to ask your friend, family member, or acquaintance if they would like your help or simply need a crying shoulder who is willing to listen to them. They are after validation. Some statements you can tell them are, “I hear you,” “Tell me what that’s like,” or “Let me know how I can support you.”
Take Care of Yourself
Many people tend to absorb the sadness and anxiety of the people they care about. But, in the end, they experience burnout because they fail to give themselves a break from caretaking.
Helping your loved one experiencing anxiety is wonderful of you, but it’s crucial to support yourself, too. Be kind to yourself. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so take care of yourself first. Therefore, prioritize your well-being. Practice self-care and take frequent breaks when necessary. This is also part of caring for the person dear to you with anxiety.
Support Them in Forming Habits
Dealing with anxiety starts with making positive changes in one’s life by doing healthy coping mechanisms. However, it is harder for someone to do this independently, especially when they are feeling isolated from others. Perhaps both of you can exercise, start a new self-care hobby, or just spend some quality time together. There is power in numbers, so do these activities to support one another.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re a kind-hearted individual just trying to provide as much support as you can for your loved one. Do the best that you can to follow the suggestions above. If you need further assistance, feel free to reach out to a trusted mental health counsellor or head to a reputable anxiety clinic.
If your friend or family member needs anxiety counselling in Sherwood Park, then you’ve come to the right place. At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, our experts are trained in treating anxiety with exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Book an appointment today!