So you want to know how to help someone with anxiety and stress. So you are probably an amazing friend. Great. Let’s get your friend the help they need…
But before we start, you might want to check that your friend is suffering from anxiety rather than depression. If you want to help a friend with depression, click the link.
So, you want to help a friend with anxiety. Great. But first, let’s get one fact straight. You don’t need to sweat over anxiety. It is a perfectly normal thing. Trust me.
You know how many people suffer from anxiety? 18 percent. Nearly one in five people. So if you suffer from anxiety or if you know someone who has anxiety, let me just say: it’s a normal thing. That’s just one of the things to remember if you love someone with anxiety.
Yep. One in five people suffer from anxiety. So sadly, anxiety is pretty normal.
Normal. But awful.
Anxiety is a nightmare.
I used to have bad anxiety many years ago. It wrecked my life. Made it impossible to be happy. You know how I got through? Family and friends.
My friends and family rock. Honestly, they’re extremely awesome people. It’s like they have overdosed on awesome-juice.
My friends and family helped me overcome anxiety.
But that was years ago.
Since then I’ve gained a ton of experience in helping people with anxiety. Friends. Family. People who find me via TheDailyMeditation’s Facebook and Twitter pages. I’ve been blessed to be able to help lots of people with anxiety.
It feels damn good helping people overcome anxiety. It makes you feel fantastic about yourself. And it helps the other person to cure their anxiety problem.
But just how, exactly, can you help someone with anxiety?
There are tons of ways. But there are ten kickass ways that you can truly make a difference in the life of someone with anxiety.
Let’s get the ball rolling.
How to help someone with anxiety and thereby be a damn good friend / family member.
- Be gentle and kind
You know what people with anxiety want? What they want more than anything? A kind and friendly soul.
They just want someone who is there for them. They want someone they know won’t ever judge them or get angry with them. They want a comforting companion.
You can do that.
You can be the person who is always there, the person who listens, the person who is just… good.
It’s not hard. It just takes a good attitude. And in my experience the vast majority of our readers are damn good people. Honestly I’d bet the house you’re a good, kind soul, right? Be that for someone with anxiety. Just be that. Be you. Be your kind and gentle self.
- If you ever get impatient with them, just chill and let it be
You might be a saint. But odds are there will be a couple times when you feel impatient with someone with anxiety.
That’s just normal. You’re human too. You have emotions. You get angry from time to time. That’s fine.
But if you ever feel like you’re getting impatient or angry when you’re around someone with anxiety, just find a good excuse to leave. Get space. Chill out. Relax. Reconnect with your happy-face. Then once you’re feeling chipper you can help out again.
So what should you do if the other person starts riling you? Well, you could slip into a meditation pod. Problem solved. And you can also consider meditating with the other person, because one of the best ways to treat anxiety is meditation.
- Be contactable so they always feel supported
That’s a bunny. Who doesn’t love bunnies?
As much as your friend actually needs you to be there, they also kinda just want to feel as though you would be there for them if they really did need you.
Give them a contact number. Be reachable. Respond to messages. Just let them know “Hey. I’m here if you need me”.
They’ll be respectful and not demand too much of your time. But they will also know that if it gets bad, you’ll be there.
But, ironically, a lot of people suffering from anxiety while talking on the phone, so make sure you don’t go calling them out of nowhere. Text instead.
- Let any negativity bounce off you.
When someone’s suffering from anxiety they often are not themselves. They might say things they don’t mean. They might be cruel.
People with anxiety don’t want to be mean. Problem is, they have so many negative emotions. Now, negative emotions can be used in good ways. But most of the time someone with anxiety will be mean even though they don’t want to be. They have so much bad emotional chemistry going on that some of it misfires. There’s collateral damage. Their emotions spill over onto you. And at times they do or say something they don’t mean.
But just know that someone with anxiety will probably hurt you. And they almost definitely will feel terrible about it. so what do you do?
Let it be. Like that Beatles song “Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be. Whisper words of wisdom. Let it be”. (We played that song at my dad’s funeral. It’s such a beautiful piece of music).
- Let them know that they can change at their own pace
You want to help someone with anxiety. So naturally you want them to overcome anxiety. That’s great.
Here’s the thing. If you make them feel like they have to get over anxiety quickly, you’ll add pressure. And one of the keys to stopping anxiety is overcoming the mental pressure. So make sure you don’t add to it.
Accept them as they are. Yes let them know they have your support. Yes let them know you want them to be happy. But make them feel as though there’s no rush, as though “Hey. You can be as you are now. That’s fine. Over time you’ll feel happier. There’s no rush”.
- Give them ways to be mindful
One of the best ways you can help someone with anxiety is to give them excuses to be mindful (if you’ve not heard the term before, read this beginners guide to mindfulness) But you want to do it subtly.
Being mindful essentially means living in the moment. If you’re living in the moment you’re not suffering from anxiety.
So, give them ways to be mindful. Take them for a walk or a drive somewhere nice and peaceful. Put on relaxing music, telling them that you want to listen to it. Create positive environments with letting them know why you’re doing it.
Basically, try to get them to do these 25 mindful habits. They will start to feel better without even trying.
- Reinforce the positive with affirmations
Another great way to help someone with anxiety is to reinforce the positive things they do.
Again, be subtle. You don’t want to seem as though you’re glorifying their every breath. That’s patronizing. But if they say something funny, laugh. If they make a good point, acknowledge it. If they’re happy, smile with them.
- Don’t go all superhero on them
You’re awesome for wanting to help someone with anxiety. It’s a noble cause. And you should rightly feel pretty good about yourself.
Just don’t overdo it. Don’t suddenly turn into Oprah or an agony aunt. Be cool. Do the right thing, and make it natural.
- Read up on anxiety
The best warrior is the enlightened warrior. If you want to win a battle, know your enemy.
Anxiety is the enemy. And one of the best ways that you can help someone beat anxiety is to know what you’re up against.
Thankfully there are tons of great books about anxiety. You might want to read the critically acclaimed (and totally brilliant) The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook.
- Suggest that they follow positive social media pages
Social media is all the rage. And a lot social media pages make for really great positivity coaches.
On TheDailyMeditation’s Facebook Page and Twitter Page we share positive quotes and images, and create a community of positive people. We’re told that the page helps people to find happiness. It’ll work for you too.
Join positive social media pages. That way every time you log in on your social networks you get positive reinforcement.
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