If you have ever been through a period in your life when you have been made anxious by something, then you will know just how debilitating and troubling that can be. Imagine, then, not having to deal with an isolated incident of such feelings, but instead experiencing that level of anxiety as part of your everyday life. For 40 million Americans, this is a reality, and that number may very well include members of your own family and friends that are struggling with their own issues. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways that you can support loved ones who are suffering from the reality and effects of constant anxiety.
Check In Often
Even if you think that the person in question seems completely ‘fine’ when you see them, it is always good to make the effort to check in with them on a regular basis. This only needs to consist of a simple text or phone call when you get the chance. The main thing is not leaving it to somebody else to check in with your friend or family member, because if everybody carries that attitude around with them then nobody is ever going to get around to doing it.
Do Your Homework
There is a general belief that you can’t truly sympathize until you can empathize, and in order to empathize you need to do some homework on the subject of anxiety. If you have been lucky enough in your life not to have had to confront anxiety yourself, it will help you to be a better friend and supporter if you take the time to understand anxiety and all of the different ways that it can manifest.
Offer To Accompany
For many people, anxiety can come in the form of not being comfortable out of the house on your own. If this is the case for your loved one, then you can make a big difference to their life by offering to accompany them on various excursions to make them feel more at ease. This doesn’t have to be seen as a ‘big deal’ on your part. If you want to be subtle about it you don’t even have to bring up the fact that you are offering because of their anxiety. Deep down they will know you are reaching out in this way, and often the active nature of going somewhere is more helpful than sitting down to have a big and often uncomfortable discussion about it anyway.
Celebrate Small Victories
It is important to adjust your expectations when it comes to dealing with someone with anxiety. What seems effortless and second nature to you might be very difficult for them to approach, and what you should do when they achieve things they have been worrying about is celebrate with them at their level of enthusiasm, not yours. Celebrating the small victories is important for boosting the self esteem and self-confidence of someone who is very anxious.
Ask What They Need
Sometimes trying to solve a situation with guess work can be more unhelpful than helpful, so it is important that you always ask your loved one what you can do for them rather than just ploughing ahead and doing it anyway. The feeling of somebody doing something without your permission can be anxiety-inducing and therefore counterproductive. It is always a better plan of action to directly ask your loved one what it is that they would like you to do in order to help.
Take Care Of Yourself
And one final but very important thing, in the process of taking care of someone with anxiety issues, you also need to remember to take care of yourself as well. In order to be the best pillar of support that you can be, you need to make sure that you indulge in the self-care that helps you to be your best self. It is your best self that is the figure of comfort for your loved one. It can be tempting to be completely selfless and not devote any time to yourself, but it is important to do the things that keep you above water.
If anxiety is debilitating, the sufferer should seek professional help. Well-meaning amateurs are an excellent support circle but a professional can find and tackle the root cause(s).