We all feel anxious from time to time, but for someone with chronic anxiety this feeling of unease is a constant. This can be very difficult, not only for the person with anxiety, but for their loved ones too.
If someone you care for has anxiety, it may feel at times as if you can’t help. The truth is, sometimes just being there for them is all that’s needed. Take a look below for more ways you can support someone with anxiety.
1. Be accepting and willing to listen
Letting your loved one know you are there for them and will listen without judgement or criticism can make all the difference. If they do choose to open up to you, try to refrain from telling them what you think they should or shouldn’t do – unless they specifically ask for advice. In many cases just verbalising their thoughts and feelings can help reduce feelings of anxiety.
2. Get educated
Understanding anxiety and the medical reasons behind it is essential. Knowing why your loved one feels the way they do and what the symptoms of anxiety are is a great asset. Having this knowledge will help you to separate the person from their condition, preventing you from making assumptions about the rest of their personality.
3. Do something active together
If the opportunity presents itself, take your loved one outside and do something active. Exercise releases endorphins which can boost mood, lower stress and reduce anxiety. Going for a hike, playing a game of tennis or simply going for a stroll in your local park can all help.
4. Stay hopeful
Anxiety is a treatable condition. There are lots of resources available to help those with anxiety. If they ask for advice, or you sense they are really struggling, suggest that they see a professional to talk through treatment options.
5. Be resilient
Coping with anxiety is difficult and can be exhausting. This can drain the sufferer, causing them to seek solitude or even be standoffish. When this happens, try not to take it personally. Give them space when they need it and try to be resilient, remember – it is the anxiety talking, not the person.