How to help someone with anxiety effectively
Helping someone with anxiety requires tact, empathy and intelligence. It is useless to “come calm down, this is going to happen” or a ” this is nothing, what you have to do is take things differently”. Thus, who suffers this condition is gripped by a series of physical and emotional sensations where it is not easy to think clearly.
You have to be clear. When we talk about stress or anxiety disorders there are no quick exits. There are no miraculous tips or strategies that give an immediate effect in a matter of two minutes.
For starters: the human brain works differently when we experience this psychological reality. All brain structures are impregnated with norepinephrine and cortisol , two hormones that cloud our thoughts and make us stuck in the same responses: avoidance and flight.
1. Become aware of the other person’s personal reality
Living with someone who suffers anxiety is not easy. The mood changes, the motivation fades and their messages and approaches suddenly become very negative. To this is added hypersensitivity. At the minimum jump, abound the misguided, the low concentration, the confusions and even the bad mood .
If we let their emotions permeate us, we will not gain anything. If we surrender and act defensively with each of its symptoms, we will intensify the anxiety even more and create asphyxiating environments. Therefore, the first thing is to take record of what there is .
Our partner, our father, brother or that good friend is going through a complicated moment. Suffering anxiety and therefore, we must be more sensitive and understand a number of aspects.
- We can search on Google what anxiety is. However, what we can read may not always fit what that close person experiences.
- To begin, we must know that there are many types of anxiety : panic disorders, generalized anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorders …
- It is advisable to start with a professional help. Only when that person has a diagnosis can we understand in depth what is happening.
2. Watch your communication
We pointed to it at the beginning. There are those who, when it comes to helping the person who suffers anxiety, do not hesitate to drop the usual phrases: change the chip, cheer up, it’s always the same, there are those who have a worse time than you …
These kinds of expressions are like a B52 bombarding the patient’s self – esteem with anxiety. Because who is going through that trance does not care that others are having a worse time. He does not care about the hunger in the world or the wars. He can only see his own (and stifling) inner reality.
This would be the communication style that we should apply.
Show unconditional support ⇔ When you need me, I’m here, with you. I support you and I love you. I am with you at all times.
- We should not judge, the person with anxiety has not looked for that situation nor wants to maintain it.
- Normalize the situation, suffering from an anxiety disorder is not a stigma . It is a disease to face, to treat and to manage. We should not shy away from talking about it.
- Couple talking about their problems symbolizing how to help someone with anxiety
3. Be patient, do not press or expect rapid results
Often, when we want to help someone with anxiety, we do not hesitate to buy books, to look for information on the Internet. Thus, and with all the good faith of the world, we do not hesitate to give advice to the person in question either. We suggest breathing techniques, mindfulness , sports, yoga …
- However, when we give these suggestions we expect the other person to carry it out to see immediate results. However, this does not always happen. Because to live with anxiety is to sometimes wish to spend an afternoon in bed in the dark and in silence. And something like that can frustrate those who surround us.
- One must also understand another aspect. The recovery process depends on themselves, and that progress comes in small steps.
Therefore, the most necessary in these cases is to apply empathy and be patient. Do not expect the person with anxiety to comply with every suggestion we make. What we need most is our understanding and our closeness . No pressure.
4. Our support is positive, but specialized help is necessary
We may want to help someone with anxiety, but not know how . We do not always have that specialized clinical training able to give an effective response to this type of conditions.
- We should encourage the person with anxiety to consult a professional.
- We need a diagnosis and a therapeutic strategy.
- Also, in these cases it is necessary that the person with anxiety follow the guidelines of the expert: go to therapy , take medication if necessary, eat correctly … To do this, we will monitor without pressing so that all this is carried out effective way.