We have all suffered from anxiety at some point in our life. Each of us have had to work out how to deal with this internal experience, generally without a guidebook telling us how. We can be of great help to our loved ones if we can show a patient, compassionate approach, when they suffer from anxiety. This isn’t always easy, but well worthwhile in the long-run.
Here are 11 things to remember if our loved ones suffer from anxiety:
1) They are not an anxious person
When anxiety is present in our mind, this doesn’t mean we are an anxious person. We become an anxious person when we start to identify with this state of mind. It’s often difficult to separate our self from the emotions within our mind. However, with a little mental clarity we can differentiate between the anxiety in our mind and our self.
2) They don’t have to identify with being anxious and you can help this
If we can see beyond the anxiety in our loved ones mind then we can help them change. Often, when we negatively project onto those around us, it limits their capacity for growth. How we think about others, even when we are not with them, has an effect on our relationship and governs our experience when we are next with them. This is why it can help others if we try to identify with their positive characteristics.
3) They have the potential to reduce the anxiety in their mind
Anxiety can be a crippling emotion when it’s strong. Taking over both our body and mind. However, we always have the potential to be free from anxiety if we can think in a creative, skillful way. As a friend, you can try to help move their mind in a positive direction.
4) They can overcome anxiety, but at their pace
We are all completely different. Sometimes, if we can show patience and openness to our loved ones then this is enough to help them, so they know that they can progress in their time. Not in the schedule that you feel they should follow.
5) They still can be happy with the right support
Anxiety can be isolating and debilitating, with the right compassionate support even if our loved ones are anxious they can have happy times in their life. If we take the time to be a friend to our loved one then sometimes this is enough. Spending time with their friends and family can help them to think about other elements of their life and maybe even to not think too much at all, just enjoy whatever activity it is they are engaged in.
6) They share an experience that we all have had
We have all had some level of anxiety, a heightened level of stress. There are many people silently suffering from this mindset, right now as you read this post. We are not alone with our stress. Reaching out and acknowledging this can help to lighten the experience of anxiety within the mind. We can start to have a more expansive view of our life which allows for anxiety to dissolve.
7) They have the potential to be free from anxiety
In the future, our loved one can be free from this mind and have a more liberated experience of their life. If we can see this, then they can start to begin to see it. If we see anxiety like a physical symptom then we can be more pragmatic and less emotionally involved with it’s process. Ask yourself — What is it? Where does it come from? And what can we do to reduce it?
8) They don’t necessarily need or want our advice
There can be a tendency if our loved one is suffering from anxiety to try, even with the best will in the world, to offer our advice to try, and help them. Sometimes this can be helpful, other-times it can not really be of any benefit and is just like hot air, that is neither helping them or you.
If we can have a compassionate approach then we are more likely to know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it.
9) They do need our presence
Our presence is often all that is needed and sometimes the most difficult thing to offer to our loved-ones. This doesn’t necessarily need to be for long periods of time. Just make sure you are truly present when you hang out with your anxiety-ridden loved one.
10) They can take regular exercise and have a healthy diet, which starts to help reduce anxiety
Anxiety is located in our head. Thinking a lot doesn’t always help us to move on. Taking regular exercise can naturally help us to burn off the negativity and stress in our body and mind. Combining this with a healthy diet can help us to feel good about ourselves and the world around us.
11) They have the power to live in the moment to be free from anxiety, step-by-step
Anxiety arises when our mind is in the future, running ahead of itself and distracted by what could or may happen. Learning to live in the moment is a natural way to help us let go and reduce the anxiety in our mind naturally. Engaging in activities like Mindful Walking and Mindful Eating can help to draw us into the moment.
If we can learn to live fully in the moment through training in Mindfulness then we can offer an openness and compassion to our self and loved ones, helping us all move forward into a positive future.