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6 Ways to Express Your Care and Support to a Loved One with Anxiety

6 Ways to Express Your Care and Support to a Loved One with Anxiety

Showing your support for a loved one who suffers from anxiety is never easy. It is frustrating to be in a situation where you often feel helpless as you witness them suffer from this illness. Remember that first and foremost, it is important that you are there, showing support in any way that you can.

Secondly, there are other things you can do to help the situation. Read on to learn a few techniques.

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1. Educate yourself about anxiety.

Immerse yourself in as much literature focused on anxiety as possible. It does not all have to be strictly medical; instead, find magazine articles, memoirs and self-help books that will clue you into this often debilitating disease. Documentaries and local talks dealing with anxiety are also another great resource. The more you learn about the illness, the more you will be able to understand why your loved one is a certain way. This will assist you in showing greater empathy.

2. Discuss what is needed.

It is important to have solid communication with your loved one and to make sure to ask how you could provide the most support. Anxiety is different for each individual, so it is important to understand how someone can specifically benefit from your help. Your loved one may have no idea how others can help, but it’s important they can simply count on your support when needed.

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It is also helpful to keep the lines of communication open, since what your loved one might need in the future can change with their symptoms.

3. Learn to not take anything too personally.

For anxious individuals, almost anything can trigger an anxiety attack. This heightened stress level may cause them to lash out at others. Try to remain calm and practice empathy towards their situation. It does more harm than good for everyone involved if you become anxious as well.

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Remember you can always physically remove yourself from the moment, take a deep breath and come back into the room when you are in a better space.

4. Understand that you are not there to help fix anything.

It can be tempting to offer suggestions to a loved one on how to cope with their anxiety, but its better if you do not. This is a job for their psychiatrist or other mental health professional. Also, while you might be giving advice with good intentions, it might not be seen this way by your loved one and can instead be seen as a personal attack.

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Remember you are there to support, not advise.

5. Brainstorm a code word.

One of the most helpful things that you can do is to come up with a word that both of you can use in public if your loved one is feeling anxious. It is important to have this secret word because it can be embarrassing for someone who is suffering from anxiety to mention it outside. It will also enable you to quickly respond to their needs and bring them to a quieter area if need be.

6. Make sure to always inform them of schedule changes.

People who suffer from anxiety often benefit from having as much stability as possible in their lives. If any changes come up, make sure to inform your loved one as soon as possible. Also, make sure to discuss the details of a schedule to make sure that they are well aware of all the events that will take place and can mentally prepare for them beforehand. With social events make sure to bring up details like who and how many people will be there, to make sure that they are fine with the arrangement.

Featured photo credit: Flicker via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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