The Do's And Don'ts Of Helping Someone With Anxiety
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

The Do's And Don'ts Of Helping Someone With Anxiety

Because it's hard to help when you don't know how.

716
The Do's And Don'ts Of Helping Someone With Anxiety
EarthTimes

It feels like your chest is being vacuumed from the inside, your stomach is turning and you just want to run away from wherever you are. Anxiety attacks are the worst part of having anxiety, and they are no joke. It is physically and mentally taxing on my body, and one of the things about myself that I try to hide the most. Even though I intentionally hide it, I find myself wishing people were able to understand what I needed in my most anxious moments. But obviously, if anxiety isn't something that you have experienced, you may not know what your anxious friend/significant other/family member needs from you. Attacks aside, anxiety is a hard thing to live with, everyday seems to bring a new challenge.

I have compiled a list of do's and don'ts for those who want to help, but don’t know how.

Do know the signs of an anxiety attack

Is the person getting suddenly jittery or speaking more quickly? Avoiding eye contact? Tensing up? Someone once told me they knew I was having an anxiety attack because I couldn’t stop pacing. Try to understand what anxiety looks like for the person you care for, so that you can identify it when it happens.

Don’t assume that they are anxious about something specific.

So many times I have been asked (begged, even) to tell someone what was wrong. They wanted an explanation of why I was anxious or what caused my anxiety. The thing is I don’t know what’s wrong. If I did know, I could fix it or avoid it. No matter how many times you say, “just tell me what’s wrong”, there may not be an answer. Understand that we are not intentionally keeping the reason a secret, we really just don’t know.

Do ask ahead of time what helps if an anxiety attack strikes.

As I mentioned, I tend to pace. Others describe a paralysis feeling and needing to lie down. Things that help me most are activities that require my brain and body to do, like doing math problems while walking. Others may be comforted by lying down and doing breathing exercises. Knowing what works best is important so that you can start right away.

Don’t tell the person to get over it.

As much of an advocate as I am for the phrase, “Eh, you’ll live,” anxious feelings are not something to toss by the wayside. If anything, downplaying what someone is feeling is a catalyst for anxiety. The physical feelings of a panic attack are totally real, and it does sound like we are being dramatic (I’ll admit it) but the fear is so genuine, please take it seriously.

Do remind the person that they are strong.

Remind the person that they can (and have many times) overcome anxious feelings. The feelings are temporary, and it’s important to reiterate this. Celebrate small victories! Even something like making it through a concert (if crowds are a trigger) without having to leave is an accomplishment.

Don’t force them to do anything.

Many times, people have tried to force me out of my anxiety. When I was in middle school, it was being forced to stay in class by my teachers despite the fact that I was hyperventilating. If anything, that increased the anxiety by triple the amount I already had. Forcing someone to stay in a crowd, travel on a plane or whatever it is they struggle with sucks. Not only are we still going to be scared, we’re going to feel like we’ve let you down, too.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1392700

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

865414
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

828746
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

536015
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

336452
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

465829

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.

317507

Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

213993
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments