Helping Someone With Their Anxiety

January 6, 2022

Do Focus On Your Reaction

Anxiety can sometimes have a spill-over effect, meaning that someone else has high anxiety can cause you to feel anxious too! So if you are looking to help someone who is feeling anxious, first make sure you are not in an anxious state as well, so you can better assist them. 

Anxiety can be debilitating for both people involved. It can also lead to misunderstandings and arguments, which only exacerbate the situation.

Although it is something that you cannot always control, there are some things that you can do to try and keep your panic levels down. The first thing you should do is regulate your breathing pattern by taking deep breaths through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth; after a few moments, this will decrease your heart rate and make you calmer.

Remind Them That They Will Get Through Their Anxiety

It can be helpful to remind them that they have been anxious before, and it has been okay. Using a particular phrase a friend/partner likes can make this easier for them to hear. Language is powerful, and choosing the right words can make a huge difference.

A phrase that might make help could be, “I know this has been tough for you.” You could also try saying, “I love you so much, and I am here to help.” or even “Let’s work together to get through this!” 

Allow The Person To Talk About Their Anxiety

Allow the person to speak for a few minutes before repeating what you hear back to them. Many people will calm down once they feel heard. You might also ask them if they want advice or if you just want to listen. Sometimes we want someone to solve our problems, and sometimes, we just want someone to listen. It is an important difference. 

Listen to Their Anxieties Without Judgment

Listen to your friend/partner’s worries knowing that they are real to them. Show genuine compassion for the tough times and celebrate your loved one’s improvement. Your support matters.

It’s easy to hear our friends’ worries and tell them that everything will be okay, but it’s important not to judge their fears. It’s important to listen without judgment because judging them for their worries and fears may push them farther away from you. 

Sometimes people hurtfully assume that others are just looking for attention or that they’re just “too sensitive,” but it’s most likely that we don’t understand where they’re coming from.

Suggest Doing Something Calm, Relaxing, Or Fun Together 

Understand that anxiety is often a response to a stressful situation and makes sense in its context. Understand that it’s no one’s “fault,” there is no one to blame, sometimes anxiety happens. 

Often anxiety comes with excess energy (in the form of nervousness, fidgetiness, restlessness), and asking an anxious person to go for a walk or other activity can be very helpful. Helping a person cope through relaxation can also be beneficial. Things such as a long bath, a massage, a conversation can go a long way. Laughter can be the best medicine. If the anxious person usually enjoys humor, tell them a joke, watch a funny movie or recollect a funny time together.

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