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11 Things To Remember If Your Loved Ones Suffer From Anxiety

11 Things To Remember If Your Loved Ones Suffer From Anxiety

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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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