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8 Simple Steps to Help Your Friend Suffering from Anxiety
You may be handling your mental health well, but unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, in the US alone, 40 million are affected by the disorder. This includes young adults. And if you are in college, it is possible for someone to suffer from it considering the stress and pressure of studying.
While most cases are highly treatable by the professionals, we must also be cautious and learn how to deal with people suffering from anxiety.
Educate Yourself About Anxiety
The first step that you might probably want to do is to educate and learn more about anxiety. You can read books, look for online resources, and even ask professionals if you know any. Reading this short post is a good sign that you are willing to learn more.
Naturally, we want to offer help right away to our friends with anxiety. But it is crucial that we know what kind of help they need. We cannot just dive in and give them advice. That’s not ideal if you are not a professional. In fact, you might make the condition worse.
You need to ask your friend what help you can offer. Perhaps, you just need to sit beside them and listen. Or they want you to bake some of your best cookies! If you can do it, then that would be great.
Know Which Phrases Not to Use
When you are talking to a person suffering from anxiety, you must be careful with your words. Avoid phrases or statements that seem to invalidate their feelings. Below are some of the common ones we tend to use (and must avoid):
- There’s nothing to be afraid of.
- That’s too simple.
- I can’t see anything wrong.
These phrases suggest that a person’s feelings are not akin to the real situation. And this might cause embarrassment and further confusion to them. Remember, the stress most people feel is far more different from people diagnosed with clinical anxiety.
The best approach is to practice empathy through your words. Say that you understand that they might be scared or that it feels uncomfortable. And let them know that you will be with them as much as you can.
Respect Their Space
Most people with anxiety will ask for you to give them space. And as a friend, you should acknowledge that. Perhaps, they do need some time for themselves to assess their own thoughts and feelings.
But make sure that you subtly check them from time to time. Otherwise, they might think that you have abandoned them.
Influence Them to be More Active
When we are not doing anything for a long time, it doesn’t help our mental state as well. At times, it magnifies the negative thoughts, which can even trigger unnecessary emotions. And that is why we also need a little bit of distraction. Your friend might need it too right now.
Think about the things you both love. How about doing some artwork? Or maybe you can start running again? Do you guys enjoy swimming? Do you think camping out will help? Below are other activities that you can try out too.
- Yoga or any meditation
There are a lot of activities to choose from. And it would be a great idea to list these down and share it with your friend. You both deserve to have a break.
Lighten Up the Mood
Humor can really go a long way, and you can use it to your advantage. Create a light atmosphere when you are with your friend. Throw jokes or share silly stories. If you want to watch a comedy movie, then so be it.
Get Professional Help
If your friend shows signs that their condition is getting worse, it is best to consult professional help. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming for them at first. You can accompany them and wait for the session to finish.
Take Care of Yourself
Lastly, in order to help your friend with anxiety, you must be healthy too. So make sure that you take care of yourself both physically, emotionally, and mentally. As they say, you cannot give what you do not have. And if you do not possess a healthy and sound mind, it is nearly impossible to help your friend.
Anxiety is a real disorder. And no one should underestimate what it can do to our lives. So if you have friends who might be suffering from it, make sure that you exert effort to understand them. At the same time, be genuine and be at their side when they need you. It might be a simple act, but it can improve their condition big time.
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