What to Do and Not to do When your Loved one Has Anxiety
When we are part of a relationship, we have the honor to be part of our loved one's milestones, achievements, as well as painful experiences. Supporting our loved ones through a difficult time or anxiety can be challenging.
If you are feeling lost about what to do to help your loved one, who suffers from anxiety, here is a list of what to do and what not to do. You can not "fix" the anxiety symptoms, but you can show your support.
What Not to Do:
1. Do not tell them to get over it
It's easier said than done, to get over it. If it were that simple to "get over it," your loved one would not be suffering from anxiety symptoms.
2. Do not tell your loved one not to feel that way
Unfortunately, we can't control how we feel. Feelings are normal, we all experience them. We can't change the emotions we feel, but WE CAN reframe our thoughts. Reframing our thoughts helps influence how we feel. The best thing to do is to process our emotions and honor the feelings.
3. Do not tell them that time heals all wounds
Unfortunately, time does not heal all wounds. I have worked with clients that have experienced emotional pain for years and decades. Saying this to a person makes them feel that they are crazy, when they are not, and triggers feelings of guilt for what they feel, which is the opposite of healing.
5. Don't try to fix it
If your loved one is telling you what he/she is worried about or tells you about the problem they are encountering, they may only want you to listen. If they need advice or your opinion they will ask you. For now, let them vent.
What to Do:
1. Do validate their feelings
Validate your loved one's feelings. Validating their feelings helps them feel supported and not feel they are crazy. It is as simple as paraphrasing in your own words what the other person just told you.
2. Do listen and be there for them
This one is an obvious one. Attentively listen and ask questions. As I mentioned before, listening allows them to vent and feel supported.
3. Provide unconditional regard
Suffering from anxiety is difficult and many times difficult to control. Don't judge. Show your loved one that you care for them.
5. Help them seek professional support if they are ready
If your loved has struggled with anxiety symptoms for a while and needs professional support, help them look for that support. Psychotherapy and counseling can assist with improving anxiety symptoms, reframing thoughts, and learning relaxation techniques. Check out this website to find a local psychotherapist: www.psychologytoday.com.