When a friend or loved one suffers from anxiety, it can be intimidating or frustrating trying to help them cope. Panic and anxiety attacks can leave the anxiety sufferer feeling any number of symptoms. You may feel helpless and unable to support them. Here are some tips on how to help your loved ones with anxiety.

Listen

Let your loved one know that you’re there to listen. Hold back judgment or unwanted advice, and simply be an ear. It will help them to know that they can speak openly and be repetitive with fears or thoughts. Let them know that they can call or text you any time to talk.

Don’t Bring It Up Too Often

It might seem counterintuitive to avoid the topic, but simply talking about anxiety may be triggering for some. Ask how they’re doing, discuss their anxiety if they wish, but let them bring it up.

Spend Time

Spending time with a close friend or loved one can be very beneficial for the anxiety sufferer. Exercise and outdoor activities are especially helpful; sunlight and exercise are well-documented mood boosters. If you’re both being entertained, are out having fun, or just hanging out talking over coffee, this meaningful distraction keeps their mind off of their anxiety and on the activity.

Be Patient

You may struggle to empathize with your friend or loved one, or you may have difficulty comprehending what it means to suffer with anxiety. Anxiety disorders are not just psychological, they’re also chemical. Your loved one may understand that it’s not logical for them to feel fear or anxiety about something, but you can’t expect them to control their anxiety with that same knowledge. It will take time and a concerted effort on their part, but anxiety is a treatable condition.

Recognize Accomplishments

Make an effort to express pride in your loved one when you notice improvements. Acknowledgment of positive change after they have put in some hard work will be both beneficial and encouraging to their recovery.


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    About the author(s)

    Karen is the founder and Clinical Director of Cohesive Therapy NYC. She earned a Masters in Social Work from New York University and has extensive training in Hypnosis, Anxiety, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Brainspotting, and DGBI. She is a member of the Institute of Certified Anxiety Treatment Professionals, The Rome Foundation, the National Association of Social Workers, The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, and the American Social of Clinical Hypnosis.

    About Cohesive Therapy NYC

    At Cohesive Therapy NYC, we believe that you have an immense amount of inner strength and resilience, even if it is yet to be discovered. Cohesive Therapy NYC is a private group psychotherapy practice in New York City that focuses on treating adults who struggle with Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Illness, and the adult impact of Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Cohesive Therapy NYC therapists see clients all throughout New York State (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Westchester, and statewide) using online therapy and are also available for in-person visits in their NYC offices, located at 59 East 54th Street, New York, NY 10022. We specialize in helping people who are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, chronic illness, and digestive and adult trauma related to childhood family dynamics. We all deserve a chance to be well and have support.