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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 February 25, 2020

Face Adversity with a Smile

Face Adversity with a Smile

I told my friend Graham that I often cycle the two miles from my house to the town centre but unfortunately there is a big hill on the route. He replied, ‘You mean fortunately.’ He explained that I should be glad of the extra exercise that the hill provided.

My attitude to the hill has now changed. I used to grumble as I approached it but now I tell myself the following. This hill will exercise my heart and lungs. It will help me to lose weight and get fit. It will mean that I live longer. This hill is my friend. Finally as I wend my way up the incline I console myself with the thought of all those silly people who pay money to go to a gym and sit on stationery exercise bicycles when I can get the same value for free. I have a smug smile of satisfaction as I reach the top of the hill.

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Problems are there to be faced and overcome. We cannot achieve anything with an easy life. Helen Keller was the first deaf and blind person to gain a University degree. Her activism and writing proved inspirational. She wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

One of the main determinants of success in life is our attitude towards adversity. From time to time we all face hardships, problems, accidents, afflictions and difficulties. Some are of our making but many confront us through no fault of our own. Whilst we cannot choose the adversity we can choose our attitude towards it.

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Douglas Bader was 21 when in 1931 he had both legs amputated following a flying accident. He was determined to fly again and went on to become one of the leading flying aces in the Battle of Britain with 22 aerial victories over the Germans. He was an inspiration to others during the war. He said, “Don’t listen to anyone who tells you that you can’t do this or that. That’s nonsense. Make up your mind, you’ll never use crutches or a stick, then have a go at everything. Go to school, join in all the games you can. Go anywhere you want to. But never, never let them persuade you that things are too difficult or impossible.”

How can you change your attitude towards the adversity that you face? Try these steps:

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  1. Confront the problem. Do not avoid it.
  2. Deliberately take a positive attitude and write down some benefits or advantages of the situation.
  3. Visualise how you will feel when you overcome this obstacle.
  4. Develop an action plan for how to tackle it.
  5. Smile and get cracking.

The biographies of great people are littered with examples of how they took these kinds of steps to overcome the difficulties they faced. The common thread is that they did not become defeatist or depressed. They chose their attitude. They opted to be positive. They took on the challenge. They won.

Featured photo credit: Jamie Brown via unsplash.com

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