How To Help Someone With Anxiety - The Monk Mindset

Introduction: What is anxiety?

Anxiety is not the same as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is a natural human emotion, which occurs when we encounter scenarios or situations that are scary, or we experience fear as a result of specific phobias or worries. This article is about how to help someone with anxiety.

It is perfectly understandable to be anxious if you are standing on the edge of a cliff and you have a fear of heights, or you are preparing to sit an exam or go to an interview for a new job, for example.

Anxiety disorders cause people to experience symptoms of anxiety in scenarios where others feel calm or relaxed. If you experience anxiety, you may find it difficult to switch off, you may fear the worst in every situation, or you may overanalyze your surroundings or potential threats even if there are no obvious triggers or hazards.

Anxiety can cause both physical and psychological symptoms, including:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Butterflies in the tummy
  • Sweating
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Trembling
  • Feeling nervous, tense or restless.

How common is anxiety?

Anxiety is the most common mental illness in the US. It is estimated that around 40 million Americans experience anxiety every year, which equates to approximately 18% of the population. Statistics suggest that anxiety is more common in females than males. Over 30% of people will develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

How To Help Someone With Anxiety - The Monk Mindset

How to help someone with anxiety

If you have a close friend, a family member or a colleague who has anxiety, it’s natural to want to help. Unfortunately, it’s often more difficult to help people who have symptoms of a mental health disorder than a physical injury because the signs can be difficult to spot and many people are reluctant to talk about their symptoms because there is a stigma attached to mental health.

If you want to help somebody who has anxiety, here are some positive steps to take:

●      Learn more about anxiety and the effects it has on the individual

The best way to help somebody who has anxiety is to try and learn more about anxiety disorders and how they affect individuals who experience symptoms. Anxiety can be difficult to understand if you have never had symptoms yourself. Try to learn more about the causes and signs of anxiety, and talk to your loved one about how their symptoms present and the impact they have on day-to-day life.

Ask your friend or relative about their experiences and use reputable websites and resources to gather information.

Related Post: 7 Psychological Ways on How To Become Happier

●      Try to be understanding

One of the most important steps you can take to help someone who has anxiety is to try to be understanding. Talk to them, learn about what their daily life is like, ask about their symptoms and be kind, compassionate and patient. Try not to be judgmental or to belittle their experiences.

If a friend is opening up to you, for example, it is much more helpful to ask how you could help them or make a situation more manageable than to ask why they are making a big deal out of a situation. People with anxiety often feel more nervous and uneasy because they feel anxious in scenarios that they know are not scary or worrying for others. Pointing this out and making people feel like they are overreacting will often exacerbate symptoms.

●      Avoid applying pressure

Many people who experience anxiety find that their symptoms get worse when they are under pressure. As a friend or a family member, you can help someone with anxiety by trying to avoid putting pressure on them. This can relate to encouraging them to seek help or open up and it can apply to general life, for example, not putting pressure on relatives to make a decision about plans for a gathering or the holidays, for example.

If you notice that your loved one seems stressed, or they are struggling to relax or stay calm, give them time and space and try to help them.

Some people might want to ask their friends and family for advice, while others may avoid talking to people they know because they don’t want to burden them or they feel embarrassed. Gently approach the subject and see if your friend or relative wants to talk. If they don’t, don’t push them. Instead, let them know that you will be there if they change their mind or provide information about services or helplines they could contact if they want to talk to somebody else.

●      Help your loved one to get help

Anxiety affects people in different ways and it can vary in terms of severity. If you have a friend or a family member who has severe symptoms, and anxiety is affecting them on a daily basis, it’s beneficial to encourage them to get help.

There is support available, and there are treatments and therapies that can ease and alleviate symptoms. There are various options to explore, including arranging an appointment with a family doctor, contacting charities and nonprofits that specialize in helping people with mental health disorders and making use of resources, such as online communities and self-help apps.

For many people, it can be difficult to accept that they need help or support, and taking the first step is often the hardest part of the healing process. As a friend, be there to help and reassure and offer to make the call or go to an appointment with your friend. You can also help by researching therapists and finding apps or websites that might be of use.

How To Help Someone With Anxiety

Anxiety is a common mental health disorder. If somebody close to you has an anxiety disorder, it’s understandable to want to help. Learn about the symptoms and signs of anxiety, ask your loved one how you can help and try to encourage them to be open with you so that you understand how anxiety impacts their life. Support friends and family members, encourage them to seek advice and help and avoid putting too much pressure on them. Be patient, be compassionate and try to understand how they feel.

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