How to help a loved one who is suffering from anxiety
Updated: Apr 26, 2019
More often than not, when the topic of anxiety comes up, the conversation revolves around the person who is struggling with the condition. However, for every person out there who is battling their racing thoughts, there are several friends, family members, spouses or partners who are down in the trenches with them. They may want to help them find the best way to overcome anxiety, but learning how to support someone with anxiety can be a challenge. If this sounds familiar, then today’s post is for you.
Tips For Helping And Supporting Your Loved One
If your spouse or partner has trouble managing their anxiety, you may find that you take on more than what you feel is a normal share of responsibilities around your household. Additionally, household routines and family activities may get disrupted, you may experience financial challenges, your social life may suffer, and your emotional well-being could be impacted. Although these challenges can be a source of frustration, supporting your loved one is essential to helping them overcome anxiety. You can help and show your support by:
Educating Yourself On Anxiety
If you don’t struggle with anxiety, you may not be able to fully understand your loved one’s experience of chronic, long-term anxiety. However, educating yourself about the condition can provide you with an entirely new perspective on what your loved one is going through. This can provide you with the patience and resolution to help and support them, even when it seems like an impossible task.
Helping Them Break Free of Avoidance
Avoidance is a common coping mechanism or those who have anxiety. They may avoid simple tasks like making phone calls and paying bills, or they may avoid starting on tasks that overwhelm them. You can help them break free of avoidance strategies by talking them through the steps they need to take to work through the situation, and by helping them reframe their reaction and thought process related to the situation.
Not Making Assumptions
When your loved one is in the throes of anxiety, it can be easy to make assumptions about what they need to overcome their situation, especially if you are a solution-oriented person. However, what you think your partner needs may actually be something that triggers more negative thoughts, furthering their anxiety. Ask your loved one what you can do to help, listen carefully to their response, and do your best to fulfill their need.
Providing Positive Reinforcement
As your loved one searches for the best way to overcome anxiety, there are likely to be as many setbacks as there are achievements in regaining control of their mind. If they fall back into old habits of avoidance or ruminate on irrational thoughts and feelings, try to avoid criticizing them. Rather, try to provide positive reinforcement by acknowledging and celebrating their achievements and instances of healthy behavior, no matter how big or small they are.
Supporting Their Treatment Efforts
Finally, one of the best ways you can help your loved one beat anxiety is to be supportive of their treatment efforts. Remember that any progress is good progress, and navigating the treatment process can be emotionally exhausting. You can keep things upbeat and positive by expressing interest in their treatment, and by asking them about the anxiety management techniques that are working well for them.
Always keep in mind...
Step number one in dealing with a mental health issue is reaching out for professional help (Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Therapist, etc.).
The information provided on this website is for educational purposes only.
It is not for diagnosing, prognosticating, treatment or prescribing of mental health conditions.
For the treatment of any mental health condition or disease, or drug therapy, please consult your physician or other healthcare providers.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis please call 911 or visit your hospital immediately.
When you’re in a place in your life where you can make positive changes, the techniques Jeremy delivers on this website, in his presentations and in his books may help.