If you or someone you know is suffering with anxiety, then you have probably felt the urge to help yourself or to get help for the people you love although you may not be sure where to start. Indeed, it is painful to see a loved one feeling vulnerable and restless, and have no motivation to enjoy the things they once enjoyed doing. So if you are seeing anxiety symptoms in someone you love, the first thing that you need to do is to let them know that you care and want to help them every step of the way. If you don’t know which specific steps to take, the experts from Brain Wellness Spa Anxiety Clinic are here to share some of the most valuable strategies that may help you cope.
Educate yourself about anxiety
Once can never be a real expert about anxiety unless you are a professional yourself who put years of effort in understanding the intricacies of the field. While you do not need to be an expert to understand what anxiety entails, you will be in a better position in helping someone with anxiety if you have at least the basic knowledge about it. The good thing about this era is that we are surrounded by valuable materials online which can serve as resources for us to walk us through the information we need in understanding the world of the people we love suffering from this mental disorder.
These resources are vital in order to learn about the links between emotions and behaviours. Once you understand that mental illness like anxiety is not something people can easily snap out, you will understand and know not to say things like, “it’s all in your head”, which only aggravates the situation and reality of the person suffering as it trivializes their conditions which should not be that way.
Help your loved one to reduce avoidance behaviour
Avoidance behaviour is any type of action by a person to prevent any unpleasant feelings and thoughts. People suffering from anxiety normally escape from a situation they need to attend, such as avoiding social gatherings, job opportunities, and even relationships, among others, to avoid dealing with difficult thoughts and emotions and to sidestep their anxiety symptoms.
Avoidance behaviour affords the patient with a temporary relief, but it may even offer a bigger problem such as increased anxiety in the long term. This is why it is so important to help your loved one slowly face their condition; they must first accept this as their reality and avoiding situations won’t cure their case. In fact, it may even cause them severe problems as the avoidance they do does not address the issues and conditions they have. Rather, it conceals them, making it appear that they are alright when they’re actually not.
In order to assist a person to break free from avoidance behaviour, it is highly recommended to accompany them to those events they would typically avoid. It can help them feel more at ease, knowing that he or she has a trusted family relative or a friend they can depend on if any symptoms resurface or if they become unmanageable.
Destigmatize their mental condition
People with anxiety disorder usually struggle with embarrassment as they worry that their symptoms will manifest when they are in a social gathering, and people will see that they are trembling or sweating when they are on the spot light. Be supportive as a friend by reassuring your loved one with anxiety that their mental condition is not a sign of weakness, and that people won’t change their perception about them just because they have anxiety disorder.
Encourage them to do the things they normally love doing such as their hobbies and other activities that you know would keep them busy and occupied. On the other hand, if your friend is a creative person, you can help them stay connected to this aspect of their identity by inviting them in designing postcards or doing collage. The point is, anything that would allow them to exert their creativity is worth a shot in helping them cope with their anxiety disorder. This will make them realize their worth as a person, helping them to combat the disorder. Making them feel that they need to distract themselves won’t also be a solution as such would only add as a pressure, burdening them more to feel okay when actually they’re not. If, however, your loved one seems to become more desperate for reassurance, it is important that you should set a limit as this level of anxiety already needs intervention from a professional who is knowledgeable and licensed to provide a well-informed treatment plan to cure such condition.
Help Them Get Professional Help
The sad truth about anxiety is that they cannot normally get cured by simply doing the how-to’s provided online. More often than not, it takes more than that and that points to getting the correct advice which experts can only provide. Indeed, we all just want the best for our loved ones and sometimes that means letting the professional do the job to make them feel better. What we can only do as their loved ones is to encourage them with the help they need and be confident with the treatment plan devised for their conditions.
These treatment plans play vital roles in the recovery journey of your loved ones as they will lead them how to navigate their feelings, build emotional resilience and not resort to avoidance behaviour and build better relationships with other people outside their circle. Nevertheless, you can always be with them whenever they need such as accompanying them to the clinic or doing the things that make them productive and happy. You can also serve as a support system; and if they feel that they are being judged for seeing a therapist by letting them know that their decision is a strong-willed one which is an indication that they have a strong personality regardless of what they’re battling at the moment. Always remind them that their well-being is your priority and that they will have your support throughout the entire process.