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5 Tips On How To Support Someone With Anxiety

Written by Alina Ivan

Tagged in

  • anxiety
  • wellness


Oct 7, 2021, 5 min read

Anxiety is not just feeling stressed or worried. It is when these feelings don't subside and are ongoing without any particular reason or cause. Everyone feels anxious from time to time, but for someone experiencing anxiety, these feelings can't be easily controlled.

“I could feel all these physical symptoms building inside me, literally filling every part of my body until I felt completely light-headed and disembodied."
- anonymous anxiety sufferer, on Mind
Tips On How To Support Someone With Anxiety

Dealing with anxiety can be a challenging experience, but support from friends, family, and professionals (if needed) can make a significant difference. First and foremost, listening without judgement allows someone suffering from anxiety to express their feelings openly. It's crucial to acknowledge their feelings rather than dismissing them, as validation can be incredibly comforting. Additionally, learning about anxiety (through reputable sources such as the NHS website or mental health charity Mind) can help you to understand what the person is going through and how best to be there for them.

Encouraging gentle exercise or just doing simple things together can also be beneficial. Physical activity has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms by releasing tension and producing endorphins which are "feel good" chemicals. If the problem is persistent, it's vital that you offer to help someone find professional support, whether that's through a therapist or counselling services. Show support gently without applying pressure (or guilt-trips) by suggesting resources for them to look at, or services that they might want to consider.

Being patient and compassionate is key. Dealing with anxiety is a personal process that varies greatly from person to person, whether it is something that can be overcome or just a disorder that needs to be lived with. By being there for them, offering support without pressure, and acknowledging whatever progress they can achieve, you can really make meaningful difference in their journey towards managing anxiety.

Here are five tips on how to support someone with anxiety in ways that are beneficial to you both.

Educate yourself about anxiety

Understanding anxiety is the first step towards helping someone who is dealing with it. Anxiety disorders encompass more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time, interfering with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.

Learn about anxiety to support someone

Learn about the different types of anxiety disorders, their symptoms, and the impact they can have on a person's life. The more educated you are, the better you can understand what someone with anxiety is going through. Remember there are different types of anxiety, with their own issues and challenges, but try not to "pigeon-hole" someone with your own armchair diagnosis. Just listen, suggest resources, and see what coping strategies are recommended for particular symptoms.

Be there for them, but don't push

Being there for someone living with anxiety means being patient, understanding, and supportive. Let them know that it's okay to talk about their feelings and that you're there to listen without judgment.

Be there to support someone with anxiety

However, remember not to push them to open up if they're not ready. Everyone has their own pace for sharing, and it's important to respect that. Encourage them to speak about their experiences, but let them lead the conversation.

Encourage getting professional support

While your support as a friend or family member is important, it's crucial to encourage your loved one to seek professional help if they haven’t already. Anxiety is a medical condition that often requires treatment from a healthcare professional or a mental health specialist.

Encourage someone with anxiety to get professional support

Therapies like cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and medications can be very effective at managing anxiety. If someone seems hesitant to seek help, reassure them that there's no shame in getting help for mental health issues, but again don't push before they're ready.

Practice self-care together

Self-care is essential for everyone, but it can be particularly beneficial for people living with anxiety. Engaging in self-care activities together can be a fun and effective way to help manage anxiety symptoms.

Practice self care for anxiety

This could involve going for a walk, practicing mindfulness or meditation, cooking a healthy meal, or simply spending time together doing something enjoyable. Regular exercise, good nutrition, adequate sleep, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine can also make a big difference in managing anxiety symptoms.

Be patient and try to stay positive

Supporting someone with anxiety can sometimes be challenging. Remember, it's important to stay patient. Progress can be slow, and there may be setbacks along the way. Stay positive, celebrate small victories, and remind them that you're proud of them for facing their challenges.

Avoid making negative comments or getting frustrated if they struggle to manage their anxiety. Instead, offer reassurance, remind them of their strengths, and express your belief in their ability to overcome their struggles and live a healthier, happier life.

Supporting someone with anxiety

Supporting someone with anxiety takes understanding, patience, and positivity. It's about being there for them, encouraging professional help, practicing self-care together, and reminding them of their strengths. Remember, you don't have to have all the answers – just being there can make a big difference.

While supporting others, don't forget to take care of your own mental health too. It's important to set boundaries, seek support for yourself if needed, and ensure that you're taking the time to recharge and look after your own wellbeing.

If you have a question question about anxiety or low mood, for yourself or for someone else, we’re here to assist on your journey. Our free 15 minute consultation can guide you to the most relevant specialists to answer your questions and discuss next steps. Whether you’re feeling off-kilter or want to shake up your routine, our state-of-the-art mental wellbeing platform gives you quick and seamless access to world-class support on your terms, from private psychiatric assessments and reviews to broader mental health care: join us today.

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