5 Ways to Help Family Members With Anxiety
Anxiety is a complex disorder that can be difficult to manage under the best of circumstances. For family members who don’t have anxiety themselves, supporting an anxious person in their life can be even more challenging. The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to help your loved one with anxiety feel better and live a happier life:
Educate Yourself About Anxiety
There is a lot that we don’t know about anxiety and how it works. Understanding the basic facts can go a long way towards better supporting your loved one with anxiety. Anxious people often experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and stomach upset. Anxiety disorders occur in real-time–that is, they are not “in someone’s head.” They cause changes to brain structure over time, which makes them very difficult to manage without treatment. Once you understand the basics of anxiety, it will be easier to recognize when your family member is having a hard time and how best to help them.
Be Mindful of your Expectations
Anxiety can be a complicated disorder for the people who have it and also those around them. It is essential to accept that sometimes anxiety will get in the way, even when you’re doing everything right. This doesn’t mean there isn’t hope if things go wrong from time to time. But family members need to understand they are not responsible for their loved one’s difficulties managing their anxiety. Your goal should be to help support your loved one while promoting healthy coping habits. Rather than focusing on how hard you think they “should” try or what others might expect of them (which may feel like unattainable standards). Perhaps you must learn about your limits and how much support you can provide.
Ask your loved one how they would like you to Help
It is a good idea for family members of an anxious person to ask what kind of support their loved one needs. For example, some may want someone by their side during public speaking. At the same time, others might prefer time alone in the bathroom before going on stage. The more specific and concrete you can be when offering help, the better off everyone will be! It’s no use asking if you can do anything if nothing seems helpful in reality—you won’t know until you ask. Anxiety doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach. Thus, each individual must receive personalized attention from those around them.
Get Rid of your Judgments and Find your Own Support
Very different factors can cause anxiety in different people. For some, it may be genetic, while others suffer through traumatic experiences. There isn’t always an apparent root cause that makes sense to everyone (even those with anxiety). The important thing is that whatever their experience has been, they are still struggling and deserve support from those around them. Give your family member the benefit of the doubt, even if what they’re dealing with makes little sense to you at first glance.
It’s difficult to watch a loved one struggle with anxiety, and it can exhaust those who are trying their best to help. It’s crucial that you don’t let yourself become overwhelmed because this will impact the type of support you can provide for others. Make sure there is at least one person in your life whom you feel comfortable venting to about what’s going on without fear of judgment. Or being told how they think things should be handled. Your family member might want no one else knowing what issues they’re dealing with. So if someone close already knows, consider seeing a therapist together. This way, everyone involved has open dialogue around complex topics while still maintaining privacy where necessary.
Use Alternative Medicine
Besides seeking support from your family member dealing with anxiety, you can also research coping mechanisms yourself. Online communities and forums are an excellent resource for those struggling to find ways of staying afloat amid mental illness. CBD edibles have been shown repeatedly as beneficial for mitigating symptoms related to both physical and emotional pain. They’re not addictive or likely to cause long-term side effects, so there isn’t much risk involved, even if it doesn’t work out quite as you expected. You can also use CBD oil for anxiety or buy high-quality CBD edibles online to see if your family responds well.
There are so many ways you can support a loved one with anxiety. All it takes is making the time to understand what they might go through. Their wellbeing should always come first. When you’re in tune with their needs and desires, there’s nothing at all wrong about wanting to help them feel better. The important thing is practicing empathy above everything else. Mental illness isn’t manageable for anyone involved, but compassionate people won’t give up on their loved ones because it’s hard.