Mental health awareness is growing by the day, and you might notice that more of your friends and loves ones are opening up about their own struggles as a result. One of the most common mental health issues today is anxiety, which often goes hand in hand with depression or bipolar disorder as well.
Helping someone with anxiety may seem daunting to begin with, but there are many things you can do to show your support and make their burdens easier to deal with. Here are a few essential tips for helping someone who suffers from anxiety or Generalised Anxiety Disorder.
#1: Understand How It Manifests
Have you heard of the fight or flight response? Due to our evolution, we are programmed to respond to threats or fear by either fighting, taking flight, or freezing. Each person has a response that dominates their reactions to stress; some might freeze, others might try to get away from a situation as quickly as possible, and others still might wish to stay and fight the threat at hand.
To help a person suffering from anxiety, you need to understand their stressors and be able to spot their reactions to those stressors. Be compassionate and try not to become irritable or defensive towards their behaviour. Learning their unique patterns will put you in a much better place to provide support.
#2: Help Them in a Way They Prefer
Some anxiety sufferers have avoidant attachment styles, while others prefer to receive plenty of care and love. Understanding this could help you to provide support in a way that the other person is comfortable with. This is important so that you do not stress them out further, which is possible even if you are simply trying to be caring!
Consider asking them how you could best show your support while respecting their autonomy and their preferences at the same time. If they need to take time alone to de-stress with some online betting NZ before they get back to you, let them do so too.
#3: Pay Attention to Their Own Insights
Many people with anxiety are cognisant of what sets them off, stresses them out, or makes their condition worse. By paying attention to what they know about their own triggers, you can help them to spot their own anxiety-driven patterns and perhaps even aid them in breaking the cycle.
Bear in mind that it is a good idea to get your loved one’s permission to delve into their condition first, and remember that just because they have insight into their anxiety doesn’t mean that they can control it or stave off their anxious thoughts.
#4: Help Them Temper Their Thoughts
A person with anxiety often worries about worst-case scenarios and the absolute worst that could happen in any situation. To help them with this, you could use a popular cognitive therapy method where you ask them a few key questions like:
- What is the worst that could happen?
- What is the best possible outcome in this scenario?
- Which outcome is most likely or plausible?
It’s a good idea to avoid reassuring your loved one that their fears won’t come to pass, as sometimes they will. Instead, emphasise their own coping abilities by telling them that they can handle any outcome that materialises, be it positive or negative.
#5: Avoid Stigmatising Anxiety
People with more serious anxiety problems like PTSD, panic disorders, anxious depression or obsessive thinking patterns might feel as though they are going crazy sometimes. Despite the fact that you might feel unable to help them, you can still offer support by telling them that your perception of them (and respect for them) hasn’t changed.
Remember that they are still the same person you love, and that they are only battling a temporary problem that can be addressed. Help the person to stay in touch with their positive traits and encourage their hobbies and interests wherever you can!