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15 ways to help someone suffering from anxiety disorder

Reading time: 20 mins
15 ways to help someone suffering from anxiety disorder

The ways on how to help someone with anxiety are activities that range from educating yourself about the condition to establishing a social support network and seeking professional help.

Knowing how to help with anxiety may greatly benefit a family, friend, or even yourself, as all people experience some level of anxiety and fear at times. However, others experience excessive anxiety that can be difficult to control.

This is where the importance of helping someone with anxiety from people and certain situations comes in. Showing a person acceptance and support during a tough time can remove a barrier to successfully dealing with their condition.

15 ways to help someone suffering from anxiety disorder are listed below:

  • Understand the symptoms of anxiety
  • Know what to avoid doing
  • Use effective anxiety tips
  • Express concern
  • Avoid pressuring them.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Encourage them to seek out help.
  • Encourage them to consult a therapist
  • Offer to assist them in scheduling a medical appointment.
  • Adjust your support to their preferences and attachment style.
  • Stop treating the person you love like a machine.
  • Provide reassuring physical contact
  • Look for ways to support and care for your loved one
  • Tell your loved one that they deserve to be healthy
  • Assist your loved one with future planning

1. Understand the symptoms of anxiety

Understand the symptoms of anxiety by educating yourself about the condition, its signs, listening to how anxiety affects their daily life, and asking what you can do to help.

Trying to understand what they are going through is important because it helps them feel heard and validated. When someone is emotionally validated, accepting the existence of their feelings – even when they’re negative – may be easier for them.

Having another person who understands can benefit someone with anxiety, as it helps them feel a sense of belonging and helps them foster more meaningful relationships. However, there can also be obstacles to this first step.

For instance, one may feel burned out and emotionally exhausted when they easily pick up on others’ emotions and feel for them too deeply. In spite of that, understanding the symptoms of anxiety remains one of the best ways to help someone suffering from the condition.

This is because making them feel seen by understanding their emotional experiences opens their heart and deepens their connection with other people. Being able to understand anxiety symptoms is also not harder than the other ways listed in this article, because a lot of online resources that can be used to learn about the signs and symptoms of anxiety are now easily accessible to everyone.

2. Know what to avoid doing

Know what to avoid doing, as some responses that you think may be helpful for someone with anxiety may actually end up being the exact opposite. For instance, things like enabling fear or anxiety, forcing confrontation, or telling the person with anxiety to just calm down may lead to unfavorable outcomes.

Enabling anxiety means going out of your way to do things for your anxious loved one, so they can avoid doing it themselves. While this may seem thoughtful and harmless at first, doing things for them and continually avoiding things to accommodate them may end up exacerbating their anxiety and ultimately making their world smaller.

However, while you should encourage people with anxiety to help themselves overcome their fears too, you should also not force them to do something they’re not comfortable with. Facing their fears can be done gradually and more effectively with the help of a mental health professional.

Telling an anxious person to calm down may also sound like an innocent comment, but according to an article entitled, “5 Ways You Can Help Someone With an Anxiety Disorder” published on Everyday Health, it’s not a good idea to encourage a person experiencing anxiety to just stop feeling what they’re feeling. These kinds of statements can make them feel dismissed and misunderstood.

The benefit of knowing what not to do when helping someone with anxiety is that you offer them the right amount of support without overdoing it. One obstacle to this step is an anxious person may not always want to talk about what they feel all the time, so they may not tell you if you’re being helpful or not.

However, it is one of the best ways on how to help someone with anxiety because being sensitive to the plight of anxious people lets you behave in a way that makes them feel good and calmer.

Knowing what to avoid in dealing with people suffering from anxiety may be harder compared to other ways enumerated in this list, especially if you come from highly stigmatizing cultures.

3. Use effective anxiety tips

Use effective anxiety tips, such as providing validation and a network of practical and emotional help. Validating someone’s emotional experience means that you are expressing acceptance of where the other person is coming from.

On the other hand, a network of practical and emotional help can be established through social support. This support network includes the friends and family of the person experiencing anxiety.

Both are important in helping a person cope with the effects of anxiety in many areas of their life. Providing validation and practical and emotional support can also benefit someone with anxiety by helping them develop a secure sense of self and healthy coping skills for facing setbacks.

A potential obstacle to giving validation is when you do not agree with what the anxious person is saying. It is essential to note, however, that you do not necessarily have to agree with a person to validate that their experience is valid and that you understand why they feel the way they do.

In spite of that, validating someone’s feelings and offering them emotional support are still one of the best ways to offer help to someone who’s dealing with anxiety because these simple gestures can be a huge encouragement for anyone struggling.

Using such effective anxiety tips may also prove to be more difficult when you’re attempting to put them into practice, because they should come from an attempt to connect on a very deep level and should also be a natural part of the way you interact with someone experiencing anxiety.

4. Express concern

Express concern by asking how you can help a loved one who’s suffering from anxiety. Watching someone having an anxiety attack or witnessing other manifestations that they may be dealing with anxiety is never an easy sight.

Ask your loved one what you can do to help them deal with situations that trigger their anxiety, and how you can offer support during those difficult times. Doing this can give your loved one assurance that someone is going to be there to give them a safe space to let their anxiety subside.

Having someone that comes from a place of concern may benefit an individual struggling with anxiety by letting them know that there is a person who can offer support and listen without judgment.

A possible obstacle that could stop someone from expressing genuine concern for others is the urge to give advice, which could come out as emotionally invalidating for some people. After all, most individuals suffering from anxiety just want someone to listen to their problems, but may not want advice from people outside the situation.

Expressing concern, however, is one of the best ways to help a loved one with an anxiety disorder because it contributes positively to their wellbeing and gives them an increased sense of social connectedness.

Compared to other ways of helping someone with anxiety, expressing or showing your concern for your loved one may be easier to do because you know how to approach them from a place of love, worry, and respect.

5. Avoid pressuring them

Avoid pressuring your friend or family member with anxiety to do something they’re extremely anxious about. While we have stated the importance of not enabling their behaviors, it is also important to not force them into doing something they’re not comfortable with.

This step is critical because it sends a message to your loved one that you respect them enough to allow them to take their time with their own progress at their own pace.

Not putting pressure on someone with anxiety also benefits them in a way that builds their self-confidence and their belief in themselves because they know they don’t need to rush into something to feel good or accepted.

A potential obstacle that may prevent you from putting pressure on someone struggling with anxiety is when you have slipped into perfectionist habits. Many perfectionists don’t realize that there are better ways to do something without beating themselves up, and they may project these tendencies to other people.

Avoiding pressure on a loved one with anxiety is one of the most effective ways to help them through the condition because it instills in them a strong sense of confidence, which can help them think positively, ultimately promoting a healthier mental state.

Keeping yourself from putting pressure on someone struggling with anxiety, especially if they’re a friend or family member, should be easy once you understand that any kind of pressure can just make their anxiety worse.

6. Ask how you can help

Ask how you can help, and express your willingness to support them during tough times. Find out what you can do to ease their feelings when they are faced with situations that trigger their anxiety. You might be surprised that your loved one already has an answer ready.

Finding out how you can help is important because it takes the guesswork away, and it also shows that you care for them. This step can also benefit someone with anxiety because it helps them communicate how they want to be supported, allowing themselves to open up more about their feelings.

However, it is worth noting that revealing oneself does not always come easy for some people. This can become an obstacle that could stop you from offering your assistance to a loved one who has anxiety.

Knowing how you can help a friend or family member struggling with anxiety is one of the best ways to ease their burden because having someone to turn to can help them manage everyday challenges, especially during a crisis.

This step may also be easy to accomplish for most people because according to research by Xuan Zhao and Nicholas Epley recently published in Psychological Science, people in general want to help more than we give them credit for, and conducting acts of kindness often make them feel happier.

7. Encourage them to seek out help

a man with his head on table with card on hand saying help

Encourage them to seek out help, which can come in any shape or form, such as reaching out to loved ones, attending a support group, or even seeking psychological treatment.

This step is necessary because having enough social support can help in building resilience against anxiety and regulate its effects.

Encouraging your loved one to seek out help can also benefit them in another way, as having a personal support system can create a sense of belonging, which fosters a sense of security and ultimately leads to improved mental well-being.

A possible obstacle that can hinder you from encouraging a loved one to seek out help is their unwillingness. Some may be reluctant to reach out to other people because of difficulty speaking in front of a group, while others may struggle with pride and distrust.

However, encouraging someone to seek help is one of the best ways to help them overcome their anxiety because it provides a sense of security, which promotes better expression of mental and emotional needs.

Finally, encouraging a person to get help may be harder than other ways to help someone with anxiety because at the end of the day, it is a personal decision that the patient has to make, and pushing the idea may cause more problems in your relationship.

8. Encourage them to consult a therapist

Encourage them to consult a therapist once you notice that their anxiety problem is starting to affect their daily functioning. You can do this by assisting them in things like offering to go to a therapy appointment with them or helping them make a list of their concerns.

This stage in helping someone with anxiety is important because seeking help from a mental health professional allows your loved one to understand the underlying issues that may be contributing to their condition.

Another benefit of therapy to someone struggling with anxiety is the development of healthier habits to regain control over anxious situations, which is a skill learned with the help of a licensed professional.

Some factors that can make someone hesitant to consult a therapist are fear of judgment, a belief that their condition isn’t that bad, being afraid of what they might find out in therapy, or fear of diagnosis.

Despite those potential obstacles, however, seeing a therapist is one of the most effective ways in helping someone with anxiety because a licensed mental health professional can help them gain a better understanding of their own emotions.

Convincing someone you love to go to therapy may prove to be more difficult than other ways listed in this article about helping a person with anxiety, as it requires careful preparation to say the right thing and choose the right time to encourage a loved one.

9. Offer to assist them in scheduling a medical appointment

Offer to assist them in scheduling a medical appointment with a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorder. Seeking therapy services for a loved one may also entail sharing helpful information with the scheduler, such as the name, age, and address of your loved one and the symptoms he or she has been experiencing.

This step is crucial because it can be your loved one’s stepping stone to full recovery. It is also worth noting that you don’t have to make them commit to long-term treatment, but encourage them to attend a few sessions instead and ask them what they think about it.

Supporting someone’s effort to schedule an appointment with a therapist is beneficial to helping the patient feel that they can draw strength from a friend during life’s challenging moments.

A possible barrier to helping a loved one schedule their first therapy session is if they have a skewed perception of mental health treatment in general. If they do, they might not believe that therapy can be helpful for their situation.

Still, offering your support in scheduling an appointment with a therapist is one of the best ways to help them overcome anxiety, as simply being there can positively affect how they approach treatment.

Lastly, offering to assist a loved one in scheduling their therapy session may be easier compared to other things to help with anxiety mentioned in this post, as long as the patient has made up their mind about receiving professional treatment.

10. Adjust your support to their preferences and attachment style

Adjust your support to your loved one’s preferences and attachment style. After all, it is best to tailor your support to their mental and emotional needs. This way, you are allowing them to create boundaries while prioritizing their comfort.

Attachment styles examine relationships between a child and his or her caregiver and how they impact the child’s consequential development and attachment patterns, according to The Wave.

For instance, people with an avoidant attachment style – usually those who have suffered rejection in caregiving or relationships in the past – respond best to strong demonstrations of tangible practical support.

On the other hand, due to a fear of abandonment or of their feelings being too overwhelming for others, other individuals are more likely to want emotional support, especially those who are firmly connected or who have a “preoccupied” attachment style.

It is crucial to understand the preferences and attachment style of the person struggling with anxiety because it makes their treatment experiences better and also improves treatment outcomes.

This step can especially be beneficial for the patient because listening to him or her shows that you respect their self-knowledge and builds trust in the relationship.

A potential obstacle one can have difficulty with at this stage is lack of awareness about people’s attachment styles. This leads to a lack of understanding of someone’s strengths and weaknesses in a relationship.

Listening to your loved one’s preferences is one of the best forms of anxiety attack help you can offer because including them in the decision-making process during their recovery can increase participation and efforts to achieve long-term goals.

This step, however, may be harder compared to others because it requires knowledge of a person’s attachment styles and how to respond to their needs according to their attachment patterns.

11. Stop treating the person you love like a machine

man praising her wife with a flower

Stop treating the person you love like a machine and start recognizing that he or she is a human being capable of feeling complex emotions. Do not easily dismiss their feelings as something they can just move on from overnight, or dispel them with rationality.

Treating your loved one’s struggle as if it’s something that’s inaccurate or unacceptable is a damaging form of emotional abuse that can reduce their ability to manage their own emotions.

Avoiding this can benefit someone dealing with anxiety, as they won’t have to feel as if their subjective emotional experience is insignificant. Instead, not treating them like a machine can help them understand that their emotions matter and that they don’t have to worry about being judged.

A possible problem that one might encounter in doing this step is being unable to process another person’s emotions or not knowing how to respond to them because they might already be preoccupied with their own personal issues.

However, it is crucial to avoid invalidating emotions, for it is one of the best ways on how to cure anxiety because it helps people identify their emotions and affirm their sense of self.

This step, however, can be easier said than done because as humans, we are hardwired for negativity. This means that we react more strongly to negative things, so it may be harder for some people to focus on the positive side and accept others’ negative feelings.

12. Provide reassuring physical contact

Provide reassuring physical contact to your loved one. This can help ease his or her emotional distress. In fact, according to a study entitled, “Topography of social touching depends on emotional bonds between humans,” published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America in 2015, human touch is vital in expressing emotions and maintaining relationships.

Providing reassuring physical contact can therefore result in positive psychological and physiological effects. Additionally, for someone with anxiety, social touch can be beneficial as it can have a soothing effect and reduce feelings of anxiety.

One potential obstacle to doing this step is if the person who’s supposed to provide comfort is the one who’s uncomfortable with engaging in physical contact with others, or vice versa.

That said, it can be difficult for some people to engage in reassuring physical contact because there are boundaries needed to be established first, along with knowing how comfortable you and your loved one are with physical touch.

13. Look for ways to support and care for your loved one

Look for ways to support and care for your loved one, such as offering helpful tips and resources for anxiety, identifying things that can ease their anxiety, and introducing them to relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation.

Even if your loved one has already done some research on anxiety, it may still be helpful to share additional tips and resources on the topic, including articles, social media groups, and books that can shed some more light on anxiety.

Knowing other things that can decrease their anxiety can also help. For instance, discouraging the use of alcohol or drugs, limiting caffeine intake, increasing physical activity, and engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation have been shown to alleviate anxiety.

These additional ways to support and care for your loved one can benefit them, as these can serve as non-medication treatment options for anxiety. However, because this step requires someone who is willing enough to exert effort into looking for ways to fully support and care for a loved one with anxiety, a possible obstacle is the lack of understanding regarding mental health as a public health issue.

This can become a problem because if someone has inaccurate beliefs or perceptions towards mental health issues, they might not be willing to lend out a helping hand at all.

Getting out of your way to offer support to someone battling anxiety is one of the best ways to help them cope with it. Having someone you can trust and fall back on during difficult times can be highly encouraging.

Providing a supportive relationship to a loved one is easier compared to other ways listed in here on how to help anxiety, as long as you have the willingness and adequate compassion to go with it.

14. Tell your loved one that they deserve to be healthy

Tell your loved one that they deserve to be healthy, and constantly remind them that mental health is just as important as physical health. For instance, the About Mental Health page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that depression increases the risk for various physical conditions, such as diabetes and stroke.

Similarly, chronic conditions can also increase the likelihood of mental health problems. Thus, it is crucial to remind our loved ones that their physical and mental health are equally important parts of our general well-being.

Another benefit of this reminder to a loved one suffering from anxiety is that they also get to be reminded that they deserve better and that they’re worth it. A potential hindrance to telling someone that they deserve to be healthy is if you yourself already have too much to deal with that you can’t take on more responsibilities.

Being there for your loved one to remind them to stay healthy or take their medications is one of the most effective ways to help them cope with anxiety because it helps them take their mind off what triggers their anxiety.

Reminding a friend or family member to remain healthy may be easier for some people because it can just be done by checking in with your loved one regularly, asking how they’re doing, and staying in touch.

15. Assist your loved one with future planning

Assist your loved one with future planning and consider that their mental and emotional needs might also change in the future. If, for instance, you cannot care for your loved one anymore because of unexpected circumstances, you can also make a list of things that you do for him or her in order to make the transition of support easier.

Being involved with the future planning of your loved one is important because as the person who offered his or her support, you know enough about them and how they get through day-to-day life with their condition.

This can also benefit your loved one because it encourages them to think about a future where they’re possibly in a better situation. It also makes them look forward to new activities they’d like to engage in and new people they’d meet in the future.

Some possible obstacles that may limit your involvement in future planning for your loved one include having other new commitments, such as starting your own family, and your relationship with them breaking down.

Still, assisting in planning for future care is one of the best ways for a loved one with extreme anxiety to cope with their situation because it helps them identify long-term goals, which can increase their motivation to stick to their treatment.

This step can, however, prove to be more difficult than other ways listed in this article on how to help someone deal with anxiety because it can entail a detailed discussion of plans for future care, and other people who are coping with anxiety may also find it upsetting or overwhelming to talk about these possible changes.

What is an anxiety disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a form of mental health problem. Anxiety can cause difficulties in your daily life, such as at work or school or in your personal relationships, due to the strong feelings of unease and recurring intrusive concerns caused by the condition.

The causes of anxiety disorder include genetics, childhood or past trauma, underlying health issues, and certain medications that can cause anxiety as a side effect.

The most common symptoms of anxiety disorder are inability to relax, a feeling of impending doom, lightheadedness, increased heart rate, persistent worry, sweating, and avoidance of situations or events that trigger anxiety.

There are also factors that increase one’s likelihood of developing anxiety. The risk factors for anxiety disorder include environmental stresses, drug misuse or withdrawal, being female, low self-esteem, high emotional reactivity, and introverted tendencies.

How common is anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness, affecting almost 30% of people at some point in their lives, according to a page entitled, “What are Anxiety Disorders?” from the American Psychiatric Association.

Anxiety does not discriminate, and it can affect anyone, even children. In fact, the Children’s Mental Health page of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that approximately 5.8 million children aged 3 to 17 (9.4%) were diagnosed with anxiety in the years 2016 to 2019. This diagnosis is a result of not being able to outgrow their typical childhood fears and concerns.

Additionally, 40 million adults aged 18 and older in the U.S. (19.1% of the population) experience anxiety each year, according to Anxiety Disorders—Facts & Statistics from the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.

What are the coping tips for anxiety disorder?

The tips for coping with anxiety disorder mainly involve making lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms of anxiety. The most important coping tips for anxiety disorder are listed below.

  • Maintain a physically active lifestyle: Increased physical activity is one of the most effective ways to manage symptoms of anxiety. In fact, even small amounts of physical activity are enough to immediately reduce feelings of anxiety in adults and older adults, according to an article entitled, “Physical Activity is Good for the Mind and Body” published in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s website.
  • Get a better night’s sleep: Insufficient sleep can cause anxiety, especially when other factors are already present, such as recurring negative thoughts and panic-related avoidance behaviors. That said, engaging in healthier sleep habits is a natural way to prevent anxiety.
  • Cut back on or entirely eliminate caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine: Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine are all stimulants, which means they can trigger and increase anxiety levels. Avoiding or at least cutting down on all three of these can help reduce anxiety.
  • Eat a healthy diet: According to a study on the Mediterranean diet against stress-induced inflammatory activation in European adolescents published in MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute) in 2018, people who follow diets higher in complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables are less likely to experience anxiety than people who eat diets higher in processed, high-fat, and high-sugar meals.
  • Avoid recreational use of illegal drugs: One of the ways to help anxiety symptoms be reduced is avoiding recreational drugs. Some people with anxiety use illicit drugs in an attempt to self-medicate, but often end up with worse anxiety after the temporary effects of the drugs have worn off.

What should be avoided when speaking to someone with anxiety?

two man in a therapy session

When speaking to someone with anxiety, it is important to use words of acceptance and non-stigmatizing language. The things that should be avoided when speaking to someone with anxiety are listed below.

  • I get anxious sometimes, too: We all get anxious at some point in our lives. It is a normal response to some things in life that feel new to us. However, this rational anxiety doesn’t equate to the irrational fear that individuals with an anxiety disorder have, as it is often uncontrollable and affects the ability to do daily tasks. Telling someone who’s dealing with anxiety disorder that you sometimes get anxious too undermines their experiences.
  • Quit overthinking: The words “stop overthinking” are a perfect example of what not to say to someone with anxiety disorder because the condition does not work that way. Telling them to quit overthinking implies that they have some control over their thoughts and that they just choose not to. Saying this also gives them another thing to worry about instead of taking their mind off any triggers.
  • Snap out of it: Saying, “snap out of it” is discouraging for someone with anxiety and only puts pressure on them. It’s not possible for them to just “snap out of it” and it invalidates the emotional distress they’re experiencing.
  • You have nothing to be anxious about: Anxiety disorder is more than just being nervous and, just like many other mental health conditions, it does not always need a reason to be backed. Anxiety is not always situational, and biological factors may also play a role in the development of the condition.
  • Calm down: Telling an anxious person to calm down insinuates that their condition is a choice and that they are choosing to suffer from it. Furthermore, if anxiety disorder was controllable, they would control it. After all, no one would choose to live with anxiety so extreme it affects their quality of life.

How to treat anxiety disorder?

Treating anxiety disorder also involves the use of management strategies that help keep anxiety symptoms at bay. Here’s how to treat anxiety disorder:

  1. Look after your physical health: First, you can try exercising, which is one way of looking after your physical health, and one that can really be helpful for your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
  2. Try breathing exercises: Second, engage in breathing exercises, which is a great way on how to calm someone with anxiety. Breathing exercises take just a few minutes and can also be done anywhere. These techniques help you get calm, feel less anxious, and feel more positive emotions.
  3. Educate yourself about your disorder: Third, know the signs and symptoms of anxiety, the myths surrounding it, the causes, risk factors, and even where to get help. This can help you understand more about your condition and how it affects your daily functioning.
  4. Keep a journal: Fourth, keep a journal. Journaling is a widely used stress management tool, and it can also help lessen feelings of anxiety. Write about anything, such as your thoughts, feelings, what happens when your anxiety becomes noticeable, and what you think might have triggered it.
  5. Stick to your treatment plan: Fifth, be faithful to your treatment plan. Your own treatment plan is tailored to your mental health needs and unique situation. It is important to stick to it by taking medications as directed, keeping therapy appointments, and applying the skills you have learned in psychotherapy.

What are the treatments for anxiety disorder?

The treatments for anxiety disorder can be utilized if any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms have been ruled out. The treatments for anxiety disorder are listed below.

  • Psychotherapy: is a collaboration between therapists and patients who work together to identify emotional difficulties and develop healthier coping skills to deal with those concerns. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy which is considered a first-line treatment for anxiety disorder. According to an article entitled, “CBT for anxiety: How it Works & Examples” published in Choosing Therapy, CBT for anxiety treatment seeks to assist individuals in stopping and altering the anxious thoughts that fuel anxiety while also assisting in lowering avoidant actions.
  • Medications: The most widely prescribed medications for anxiety are benzodiazepines, which are used for the immediate relief of anxiety symptoms. However, benzodiazepines are only prescribed for a short period of time and are not recommended for long-term use, according to an article entitled, “Anxiety disorders” published on Mayo Clinic. Other medications used to treat anxiety disorder are antidepressants and beta-blockers.

What are the methods for reducing anxiety?

The methods for reducing anxiety are a number of things that can be used to alleviate anxiety symptoms. The methods for reducing anxiety are listed below.

  • Meditation: refers to a set of mental and physical techniques used to calm and clear the mind, as well as increase our state of awareness. When used in dealing with anxiety, mindfulness meditation can be as effective as a commonly prescribed antidepressant, according to a randomized clinical trial on mindfulness-based stress reduction vs. escitalopram for the treatment of adults with anxiety disorders published in 2022 in JAMA Psychiatry.
  • Socializing: Socializing not only keeps stress levels at bay, but it can also defeat anxiety. It triggers the production of a hormone that reduces anxiety levels and gives us more confidence in our ability to deal with life stressors.
  • Thought reframing: is the process of identifying unhelpful thoughts and replacing them with more helpful and positive ones. It is a technique used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
  • Deep breathing: helps lessen stress and anxiety by letting more air flow into your body, which can calm your nerves and create a relaxation response. Deep breathing involves taking slower, deeper breaths from your stomach to counter the rapid, shallow breathing you default to when you’re anxious.
  • Speaking with your healthcare provider: Speak with your healthcare provider about the feelings of anxiety you’ve been experiencing, as they can shed light on it by identifying first if it is being caused by another medical condition. If not, they can also refer you to a mental health professional who can help you clap back at unhelpful thoughts, so they don’t take over.

Is anxiety a serious mental illness?

Yes, anxiety is a serious mental illness that stems from unrealistic and intense feelings of worry and tension. For some people, anxiety can be debilitating because it interferes with their daily lives and ability to function.

For those with an anxiety disorder, feelings of anxiety do not just go away, and may lead them to fear and avoid places or situations that they know will trigger an anxiety attack. This cycle can go on until it prevents them from going about their daily lives.

An anxiety disorder is just as real and serious as other medical conditions. Knowing how to comfort someone with anxiety can help reduce some of the stigma that keeps them from getting help.