When someone close to you is struggling with anxiety symptoms, these four tips can turn you into a valuable source of help. If your loved one is located in or near Olathe, KS, or Wichita, KS, St. Anthony's Behavioral Health Hospital can also be a helpful resource for you.
1. Be a Listening Ear
Those who are suffering from severe anxiety often find it calming to vent about their fears. Having a safe space to speak truthfully can offer comfort and relieve stress. Sometimes, a good conversation with a friend can also be a welcome distraction from anxiety symptoms. Try to listen without judgment or advice.
2. Don't Pressure Them
If you've never experienced it yourself, it can be challenging to know what helps with anxiety. Many people assume facing your fears head-on will help you overcome your concerns. However, this approach isn't usually effective and should always be left to professionals. Pressuring your loved one to tackle anxiety head-on will likely only make matters worse.
3. Offer Encouragement and Validation
While you may not be qualified to create a treatment plan for anxiety, you can still encourage your loved one in healthy and positive ways. First, recognize that their feelings are real and valid, even if you may not understand them, and try not to depreciate the situation. Ask open-ended questions that show your concern for their happiness and wellbeing.
4. Don't Be a Problem Solver
If anxiety is crippling a friend or family member, you may be tempted to come to the rescue by removing the source altogether. However, eliminating normal, everyday responsibilities and interactions to avoid an anxiety attack isn't helpful in the long run. It doesn't treat the heart of the issue, and the anxiety will likely manifest itself in new ways instead.