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8 Compassionate Ways To Support People With Anxiety

8 Compassionate Ways To Support People With Anxiety

Dealing with anxiety can be incredibly stressful. It can be even more so when the person suffering from anxiety knows it’s affecting their relationships and friendships. As a person that cares for someone with anxiety, never forget they are going through enough already without having to deal with the extra pressure of acting as if everything’s okay for the sake of their loved ones. If someone you care about suffers from anxiety, there are many ways you can help them get through the rough times in life.

1. Be accepting

First and foremost, don’t be a fair-weather friend. If you truly care about someone, you’ll be there for them through the good times and the bad. It might be difficult for you as well, but helping a friend through their anxiety shows that you are genuine, and you’re not going to leave your friend to deal with his issues on his own. Accept their anxiety as it is: a disease of the mind. Your friend is sick, so it’s important to be there for them when they need you the most.

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2. Be educated

Understand the root causes of anxiety. It’s not something a person can simply “snap out of.” It’s a disease caused by a chemical imbalance in the person’s brain which causes physical as well as emotional distress. Don’t downplay a friend’s anxiety, thinking they can simply “get over it.” If they could, they would.

3. Don’t bring it up

Be cognizant of a friend’s anxiety, but don’t exacerbate the issue by calling attention to it. When making plans, think of activities that are fairly calm and aren’t too  stimulating; but don’t say things like “Well, I’d ask if you want to go to a concert, but I know you hate crowds.” Obviously, this will only make your friend feel as if he’s holding you back from doing something you actually want to do, and that you’re taking pity on him. Take your friend’s anxiety into consideration, but sweep it under the rug during conversation.

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4. Be active

Get your friend up and out of the house as much as possible. Hiking, playing a sport, or simply spending some time outdoors can alleviate a lot of the symptoms of anxiety that he probably feels on a minute-to-minute basis. Anxiety creeps in when the mind isn’t busy, so just “hanging out” will increase the chances of your friend having mild to severe panic attacks. Stay active, and keep his mind off of the anxious feelings that plague him during downtime.

5. Be yourself

Don’t feel like you have to be a different person around your friend. People who suffer from anxiety might be sick, but they’re not dumb. They’ll notice when you’re acting differently or walking on eggshells around them, which will only cause more anxiety for them. If a person who suffers from anxiety wants you around, it’s because you give them a sense of comfort by just being you. So be the person you always are around them. It will keep them grounded.

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6. Be resilient

At times, it can be emotionally exhausting to be there for someone suffering through anxiety. But that’s the case any time you find yourself supporting a sick friend. Do your best to help your friend, especially when they’re at their worst. They need you more than ever, and they truly appreciate everything you do for them.

7. Don’t take it personally

Your friend might need some alone time, and might be distant for a while in your relationship. That’s totally fine. If they need their space, give them space. Don’t think they’re ditching you; they probably just don’t want to drag you down with them. Make it clear to them that you’ll always be there for them when they need you, but you’ll also give them time and space when they need you to back off.

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8. Separate them from their anxiety

Your friend is not anxiety personified. In fact, their anxiety is a small part of who they are. They’re still the person you grew close to all those years ago, despite the recent changes that may have occurred within their mind. Remind them of who they are, especially during times when they truly don’t feel like themselves. The best way to help your friend through this difficult time in their life is to remind them of who they really are.

Featured photo credit: Hand / Jeff Kubina via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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