Helping You with Your Anxiety
Varying degrees of anxiety throughout life during certain events is normal. Feeling anxious about a job interview, feeling a little nervous or uneasy on a first date, nervousness when moving to a new area – these are all normal human reactions to these types of experiences. These types of feelings can certainly be remedied or managed through different cognitive techniques, self-talk, meditation, etc.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders.
(You’re not broken.)
How to Help Someone Struggling with Anxiety
Anxiety is generally caused by not having enough information or having too much information. Utah Family Therapy is focused on what you need and also how you can help others. Here’s what we recommend for those who are struggling or close to someone struggling with anxiety:
Do NOT Do These Things w/ Anxiety
1. Do NOT downplay their feelings: the last thing that a person struggling with anxiety needs to be told is “don’t worry about it” or “oh, you’re fine, stop overreacting”. Realize that this person is facing real stress, and no matter how small the situation is, it is big for them.
2. Do NOT feed the anxiety: just as importantly, don’t make it a bigger deal than it is. Let them know that it is going to be okay and that the moment will work itself out.
3. Don’t let the label limit them: Remember, anxiety can be worked through. New habits can be built. It will most likely never go away completely, but somebody can still get to the place where they can perform well and feel a great deal of calm in their everyday life. Help them by encouraging them to just do what they can and to love themselves amidst their mistakes.
They might make mistakes, maybe even a lot of them depending on the event, but teach them to understand this is part of their progression, just like the rest of us, and they deserve to live a full life just like anybody else.
Do This to Help People with Anxiety
4. Validate them: help your loved one understand that it’s okay to feel some fear or stress. It is difficult what they’re going through, and you understand that.
5. Build them up: Many times those struggling with anxiety can fail to see all the things they are actually doing very well at. Help your loved one see the things they do right; accentuate the meaning of these things. Encourage your loved one and help them see they are powerful. Let them know they are loved and they are capable of great things and have many strengths.
6. Be a trusted confidant: Help your loved one understand that when they are going through suffering and they feel the need to express it, you are there. They don’t necessarily need you to make it better, and sometimes there’s not a great deal that you can do to make it better. Quite often, what they really need is a person to support them with presence, with love, and without judgment.
7. Base their value on courage, not performance: Acknowledge mistakes in a manner of “we all make mistakes, no worries. You’re just progressing. It happens to all of us.” Once again, careful not to downplay feelings, but do not catastrophize with them or feed the anxiety. Help them to base their own value on their courage to put themselves out there and to try. Say things like, “yeah, that was rough huh? But what matters is that you put yourself out there, and I think that’s so awesome. You put in the effort and I’m proud of you for doing that. That’s who you are.”
Managing anxiety is a daily effort, but before a person can discover their own personal management of it, they have to know how. Let us help you.