How to Help Someone with Anxiety?

Written by: Ankita Kathad – MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : October 08, 2022

Table of Contents
Article title – Low self esteem
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Worry is a part of our lives. We all get worried from time to time. Some people let worry affect their daily life. Worry consumes them. This becomes a cause of trouble. Their worries and fears are often irrational. Others may not be able to relate to their fears. This is why many people are clueless about how to help people with anxiety. This article focuses on how to talk to someone with anxiety.

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Chapter 1:
Living with Anxiety- How Does It Feel?

It is very common to see people ignoring someone with anxiety. However, it is very difficult to actually live with anxiety. If you wish to help someone with anxiety, it is important to understand the condition first. People who go through anxiety may not always have physical symptoms. This is why a lot of their symptoms will make no sense to you. Let us see what it is to live with this condition.

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Chapter 2:
Symptoms of Anxiety

Learning to recognize the symptoms is the first step toward helping someone with anxiety. The symptoms can be physical or mental. Here is a list of them

Physical Symptoms include:

  1. Sweating– The person may feel his palms sweating. Additionally, you can notice beads of sweat on their forehead.
  2. Nausea- The person will feel like vomiting if they face the event that they fear.
  3. Breathlessness: The person will feel out of breath. They will feel suffocated. This usually happens when they have to face a situation that they fear.
  4. Headache: The person can have strong headaches. Some may feel lightheaded or dizzy when faced with events they fear.
  5. Other symptoms such as High blood pressure or diarrhea.

Mental symptoms include:

  1. Anxious thoughts- The person may feel something worst will happen. They will Believe in that thought. Moreover, they will fear the worst possible outcome. In addition to this, the person will have all or nothing thought process. They will generalize a lot. For instance, if they have a stage performance, they will think that if they fumble, the audience will kick them out of the stage. If in past, one event had gone wrong, they will think that future events will go wrong too.
  2. Anxious behaviors: Repetitive behaviors like walking back and forth in a room. They will appear irritated and angry. Some people may express anxiety in the form of avoidance. For instance, they will entirely avoid the event. They will make excuses for not going to the event. Additionally, some people can withdraw from friends and family.

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Chapter 3:
How to Help Someone with Anxiety?

Let us divide this section into what you should do and what you should avoid while helping someone with anxiety. Here is what you can do for someone with anxiety:

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Chapter 4:
Listen

Before learning how to talk to someone with anxiety, it is important to listen first. Listening is the most important task. It is difficult to actively listen to someone. Moreover, it is difficult to listen to someone who shows anxiety. Sometimes people with anxiety find it difficult to articulate their thoughts and worries. However, it is very important for people with anxiety to verbalize how they feel. When they talk it out, they can feel relieved. Moreover, when they share their problems, others can help them take a different perspective. However since they find it difficult to explain their feelings, many people don’t understand them.

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Chapter 5:
Let Them Know You Are There for Them

You can help the person with anxiety by letting them know that your channels of communication are open. For people with extreme anxiety, you can assure them that you are there for them. You can do this by checking on them before their important event. You can help them by asking them to practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing. If your loved ones are facing extreme fear, you can take them to an expert. Sometimes people with anxiety cant understand what is happening and therefore avoid a mental health therapist. In that case, you can take them to a counselor.

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Chapter 6:
Validate and Show Concern

The best way to help someone with anxiety is to validate their feelings. Do not encourage their thought process but let them know that you believe them. Often people with anxiety feel that others don’t trust them. In that case, one way to talk to people with anxiety is by showing concern. Let them know that you can understand their symptoms.

If you see that your loved one is showing different behavior, politely let them know that you are concerned and that you would like to help. Care and concern will help the person with anxiety be more open about their symptoms. 

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Chapter 7:
Be Present

Once you have decided to help someone with anxiety, be there for that person. If you feel that the situation is too much for you to handle then do not suddenly disappear. Do let the person with anxiety know what you have been feeling. You can help them in other ways by helping them reach a good mental health expert. You can show support by being in touch. However, do not suddenly abandon the person without an explanation.

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Chapter 8:
What to Avoid When Helping Someone with Anxiety

There are many things you should avoid while trying to help someone with anxiety or while talking to someone with anxiety. This is because you may end up doing something that reinforces your negative beliefs. You may end up making the person more anxious. Heres’ a list of things you should avoid.

  1. Constantly discussing it: Do not keep talking about their fears again and again. If you are trying to help someone with anxiety, talking is important. But talking about it, again and again, will re-traumatize them. Additionally, they may end up having an anxiety attacks if you keep reminding them of their fears.
  2. Avoidance: Once you have decided to help someone with anxiety, do not avoid them if they are sharing their story with you. Do not act disengaged or distant. This can make them feel lonely and deserted.
  3. Get frustrated: If you are learning how to talk to someone with anxiety, do not get frustrated when they tell you their story. Do not get angry if you can’t understand their pain. It takes time to understand what they are going through.
  4. Pressurize them: If you want to know how to help someone with anxiety, do not pressurize people into talking. They may not feel comfortable talking to you which is okay. Don’t get frustrated by that. If they want some space, give them some space. Do not go force them into disclosing their feelings.

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Chapter 9:
Some Handy Tips and Dialogues on How to Help Someone with Anxiety

If you are confused about how to start a conversation with someone with anxiety, do not worry. There are no definite answers on how to help someone with anxiety but the following sentences will help you start a conversation.
  1. I notice you have been feeling unwell, how can I help you?
  2. Do you want to talk about how you have been feeling?
  3. I am worried for you, do you want to share what is bothering you?
  4. I am here for you, whenever you feel comfortable we can talk.
  5. Do you want to take some time off and go somewhere else?
Endnote
It is important to learn how to talk to someone with anxiety. As discussed earlier, people who have anxiety, have it really hard. They experience a range of symptoms that people often don’t understand. It is difficult to live with anxiety. As a loved ones of the people, feeling worried for them is natural. The best way to help someone with anxiety is by being there for them no matter what. This kind of assurance helps them overcome their anxiety. If you wish to learn more about anxiety and improve your understanding of the topic, you can educate yourself. Psychoeducation helps you to understand how to talk to someone with anxiety. At Epsychonline, there are courses such as DBT for social anxiety which can help you understand the topic better. There are many articles such as Anticipation anxiety, Worry about past conversations, and Health and illness anxiety which can improve your awareness of different types of anxiety. These courses are curated by experts and are easy to understand. Do check them out.
Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to build self-esteem In this six

51 Lessons

12 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount