Validate instead of belittle
Telling someone with anxiety to “just stop worrying” or “calm down, it’s not a big deal” is extremely invalidating and hurtful because you don’t know what the person is feeling till you are not in the same position. Instead, let the person know that you are there for them, that their feelings are valid, and that you care about them.
Listen when they share their experience
The world needs good listeners to balance. So, if someone is willing to talk with you, listen to what they want to share. It is both a very brave and vulnerable position to be in for someone with anxiety. Actively listening to someone can make a huge difference in that person’s life. They’ll know they have someone to rely on in the future!
Follow up and reassurance
Checking in after someone has spoken with you about their anxiety is always a good idea! It reassures them that you are open to having future conversations, but also that you are thinking of them and care about their wellbeing. Probably the person might be willing the same to feel that they aren’t a burden on you.
Reassuring someone experiencing anxiety can be a big relief to them. Reminding them (even when they aren’t experiencing anxiety) that you love them, that you are happy to be in their life, and that you are open and willing to talk if needed removes a huge weight off of someone who may be experiencing anxiety.
Unless they ask, don’t assume they need advice
Sometimes providing advice when someone experiencing anxiety doesn’t directly ask for it can make it seem like you are trying to move past what they are feeling. Advices does nothing in many cases because they can’t cease the panic generated internally. So, unless they directly ask for advice, actively listening and helping them let it all out is a better way to show you are there for them and care about what they have to say.
Encourage them to seek support
If you notice your loved one’s anxiety constantly taking over, try to encourage them to seek outside sources of support (which could be therapy, medication, etc.). Don’t make that major decision FOR them, but rather suggest it as a means of helping them heal. Following professional suggested precautions always help better than anyone else’s, hence preventing or handling little unconsciousness to panic attacks way in a proper manner.
Take some time to learn about what anxiety is, the different types, and signs of anxiety/panic attacks. Anxiety manifests in different ways in each person. Learning the main information about anxiety disorders can provide you with a better understanding of what makes it so complex. Getting knowledge of the sources, the boosters, preventions and so on is also necessary to get a hold of it in your daily environment.
Ask what you can do located
Still unsure of how to help someone? Just ask! It’s not rude or overbearing. In fact, this can further help the person experiencing anxiety feel safe in your presence. You’ll also know exactly what this person needs from you in the moment. Helping someone in any way possible also leads to a relax and healthy environment.