Everybody worries and experiences fear from time to time. However, those who suffer from anxiety may feel consumed by concerns about things that may appear nonsensical or insignificant to others. Many people find it difficult to relate to someone else’s anxiety since they’ve never experienced it, so they don’t know how to help.
Help Someone With Anxiety
It’s heartbreaking to see a loved one suffer from anxiety attacks on a daily basis. The good news is that you can do something about it. It starts with educating yourself about the condition, identifying its warning signs, and learning some of the actions you can take to help a friend or relative dealing with anxiety.
Learning About Anxiety
Anxiety has become a part of everyday life for many people. A certain amount of it can be considered beneficial. A healthy dose of anxiety can motivate a person to complete tasks on time, encourage them to study diligently for an exam, or deter them from strolling the streets at night alone. The only issue is that anxiety responses can become dysregulated, causing people to react strongly in the wrong situations.
People who suffer from anxiety disorders are frequently consumed by intense, unrelenting fear and worry about ordinary things. Often, anxiety disorders are characterized by recurring periods of extreme anxiousness, dread, or terror that could greatly increase within minutes and lead to a panic attack. As a result, anxiety coupled with panic can disrupt the person’s everyday pursuits, be hard to manage, be disproportionate to the threat, and last for a long time.
Although the exact cause of anxiety is still a mystery, many factors are thought to be involved in the emergence of the condition. It’s critical that you spend some time to read more about this subject as you may need to determine what’s triggering your loved one’s anxiety.
Recognizing The Signs Of Anxiety
There are signs that someone close to you is suffering from anxiety. Occasionally, these may be self-evident. But sometimes, they may infiltrate your personal space in more subdued ways. As with anything else that occurs in the lives of the people you care about. Anxiety can cause the most harm when it’s misinterpreted or overlooked.
Here are some of the telltale signs of anxiety you should look out for:
Having A Hard Time Making Choices
Individuals who suffer from anxiety frequently have incredibly strong and dynamic minds. When they’re forced to make a choice, they tend to consider all possible outcomes. On the bright side, they may be the ones who can anticipate events that nobody else does. However, anxiety can complicate matters when it comes to making choices.
Clear signs of this may include difficulty making decisions, coming up with plans, assessing outcomes, and organizing thoughts in a rational manner in order to arrive at a sound conclusion. The ability to make good judgments is present, but anxiety could deactivate it.
Flight: Wanting To Leave A Place, Relationship, Situation, Or Crowd
Anxiety motivates people to make certain matters as safe as possible. Fight and flight tend to become their two options. Flight can manifest as escaping, avoiding, failing to take phone calls, desiring to exit relationships, or wanting to leave an event early. They don’t do this to cause harm to others, and it’s not a deliberate attempt to avoid you—one of the people who matter to them—or specific locations and circumstances. It’s simply a way to stay away from the stress that comes with attending to those matters.
Fight: Temper, Tantrums, And Irritability
Anxiety isn’t all about avoiding or fleeing from something. Fight is the counterpart of flight in times of anxiety. This can appear as violence or anger, but it could also be a desire to feel completely secure.
Appearing Slightly Detached, Disinterested, Or Indifferent
People who suffer from anxiety may appear distant to others, but those who know them well usually find that such individuals are among the warmest people they’ve ever met. Their aloofness is actually a method of stepping back and observing things until they feel at ease and secure enough to engage in the process fully. Still, this particular matter doesn’t need to be a source of worry for you. After all, not everybody feels compelled to open up immediately, and that’s acceptable.
Avoiding New People Or Too Many People, Places, And Unexpected Circumstances
It’s natural to want to avoid things every now and then, but if your friend or relative consistently pulls out, looks for an escape, declines invitations, or modifies plans, anxiety may be at play. It may seem this way, but their goal isn’t to steer clear of circumstances, people, or places; rather, it’s to get away from the unpleasant thoughts that come with anxiety.
Anxiety can project a healthy, vigorous mind into the future. So when the ‘what-ifs’ start to play, the demand for reassurance tends to become insatiable.
Reassurance could be about anything: how you think, how someone else feels, if their plans make logical sense, or whether they’ll be on schedule. An anxious brain is wired to detect danger before it occurs. You should recognize that even if your reassurance is required multiple times, you’re assisting your loved one in reducing their fear to a manageable level. Every once in a while, they could use a little help.
Desiring Perfection In All Aspects Of Life
The need for everything to be perfect can often be a well-constructed mask for fear of being ridiculed or judged when committing mistakes, tumbles, or failures. People with anxiety may set absurdly high expectations for themselves in order to protect themselves from disappointment.
They might recreate things several times and obsess over every last detail. Even if they’ve done something so many times, it’s simpler never to finish something or to blame time constraints than to put in 100% effort and have the results fall short. A positive effect of this is that when they accomplish something, it’s almost always outstanding.
All of the behaviors mentioned don’t necessarily imply that someone’s suffering from anxiety, but they could. Being aware of the signs and the various ways anxiety manifests itself will enable you to be a strong, rational, and comforting presence for your loved ones with anxiety instead of a baffled one.
Methods For Helping Someone With Anxiety
It’s terrible to see someone you know struggle due to anxiety, and it’s even more challenging when their concerns stimulate your own. Typical reactions to someone suffering from the condition are frequently counterproductive, sometimes even hurtful. In order to effectively help the person, you must respond from a place of love and acceptance and show an eagerness to see them recover.
Here’s what you can do to assist someone who’s experiencing anxiety:
Recognize The Specific Ways In Which Anxiety Manifests Itself
If you keep in mind that anxiety is meant to make a person more sensitive to danger. It’ll be easier for you to empathize with someone who’s angry or defensive because they’re afraid or worried. Anxiety patterns can be learned and improved upon by paying close attention to how the person experiences them. It’s therefore a must to be aware of the possible signs of anxiety, which have been discussed above.
Do Not Allow Their Anxiety To Worsen
It’s understandable if you want to help your friend or relative avoid difficult circumstances by going to great lengths to minimize their sources of worry. On the surface, this appears to be a considerate and kind gesture. Anxiety, on the other hand, rarely goes away. When people delay confronting tough situations, their anxiety might grow over time, and particular demands for exemptions might become more frequent.
If you keep changing your actions or surroundings to satisfy the person’s worry, the anxiety may unintentionally prolong and develop. Avoiding harrowing events doesn’t allow your loved one to overcome phobias and learn to manage anxiety. Instead, it keeps their world smaller since their abilities become increasingly limited as their fear grows.
Validate Their Feelings And Thoughts
As you’ve read in the previous section, anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors. If you say something like, ‘I didn’t realize you get outraged over such a minor issue. The person might feel belittled. Rather than doing that, find out what exactly you can do for them during difficult times.
What frightens one individual may not frighten another. You don’t need to understand the person’s fear completely—just know that what they’re going through is real and deserves empathy on your part.
Confrontation Should Not Be Forced
Forcing someone to do something they’re afraid of isn’t a good idea, either. Similarly, constantly pushing someone who isn’t ready to act in some way can harm your relationship with them.
Addressing profound anxiety is best accomplished with the assistance of a licensed psychotherapist. This could relieve you of the load you’re carrying. Additionally, it strengthens your loved one since the professional will guide them through their concerns one step at a time.
Communicate Your Concern
It’s difficult to witness a loved one having an emotional breakdown. However, there’s little you can do to significantly reduce the length or severity of their anxiety attack.
You don’t have to hide your concerns if you find that someone close to you is withdrawing from the things they used to love. Instead, approaching them in a friendly and cheerful manner can be therapeutic.
You can start the conversation by mentioning that you’ve seen some changes in their actions. For instance, you could say, ‘Hey, I noticed you’ve been skipping your dance lessons lately. Could you tell me what prompted the change?’ Then, depending on how the talk progresses, you may inquire if they feel the need for assistance and encouragement in order to deal with their anxiety.
Be Careful Not To Bring Up The Subject Of Anxiety All The Time
Anxiety can be a difficult situation to navigate. This is because while you try to be present to discuss things with the person, some concerns, such as panic attacks, can be provoked simply by talking about it. To put it another way, if you ask them, ‘How’s your anxiety?’ you might inadvertently set off an attack. It might be better to wait for them to initiate the topic.
Engage In Enthralling Pursuits
Make an effort to ensure that your loved one spends some time outside. Look for activities that don’t entail heavy drinking as alcohol might cause anxiety therapies to fail. Maintain an active lifestyle with them. People who suffer from anxiety might benefit from physical exercise as well as making new memories since these could help them deal with the pressures of daily life. So try to get out and do enjoyable activities together.
Be Careful Not To Stigmatize Those With A More Serious Case Of Anxiety
People who suffer from panic disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessive thoughts (such as those associated with eating disorders) may believe they’re going out of their mind. In addition, you may feel incapable of helping them.
But the truth is, there are numerous ways you can provide them with assistance. When someone’s worried about the matter, it’s essential to tell them that your view of them hasn’t been affected or hasn’t changed. They’re still the same person—they’re only dealing with a temporary crisis circumstance that’s gotten out of hand. They aren’t broken, and their personalities are intact. You can help them maintain healthy self-esteem by engaging in or supporting their interests.
Look After Yourself, Too
Remember that your purpose is to assist rather than to treat the person or rid them of their anxieties. Assuming excessive responsibility is an indication of worry, so watch out for yourself.
Moreover, bear in mind that your support doesn’t have to be geared explicitly toward anxiety. For example, exercise has been shown to be quite beneficial in the treatment of anxiety, so you may consider offering to go out for a hike or join a yoga session together.
Final Word – Help Someone With Anxiety
It’s not always simple to help someone with anxiety, and you could feel like you’re doing something incorrectly. Although it may be challenging to keep things in perspective, it might be helpful to remind yourself that you and your loved one are both doing your best. It’s critical to maintain compassion while remembering to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.