10 Do’s and Dont’s while supporting a loved one in anxiety
In the earlier post, we mentioned that it’s important to talk with friends and family about anxiety. It helps in reducing the stress. By doing this you can calm yourself. Support from family and friends is important to the recovery process, but it is not the cure. Getting better takes hard work, mostly from the person with the disorder, and patience from everyone involved.
Here is a list of 10 Do’s and Don’ts that you can follow to help your loved one in recovering from anxiety.
- Educate yourself about anxiety disorders, then only you will be able to understand what your loved one is going through.
- You may feel resentful, helpless, frustrated or afraid, but it’s okay to feel like that. You have taken on a difficult task.
- Be patient in the recovery process. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
- Your loved one should know that they can talk to you about it openly, without any fear of judgment.
- Ask them to call you anytime they want.
- Be supportive. Ask them what they need from you. When they are anxious, do they need a hug/space/talk or quiet? You can’t assume what they need; they are the expert.
- Be proud of them when they are improving. Give praise for every achievement, no matter how small. Sitting in a restaurant for 15 minutes may be a big step for someone who has avoided eating in public.
- Observe how they calm themselves when they are anxious.
- Note down every achievement. This will help in motivating them, when they are upset.
- Understand their fear. We all have fear of something in life. The more you understand their fear, the more helpful you will be to your loved one.
- Don’t get frustrated. You have taken up a difficult task, but it’s not an impossible one. So just hang on.
- Don’t blame them or yourself for their problems.
- Don’t panic when you see them anxious.
- Don’t bring the topic of anxiety very often. Sometimes thinking about panic attacks lead to one.
- Don’t say ‘get a grip’, ‘think positive’, ‘relax’. Never minimize their fear.
- DON’T pressure them to take bigger steps than for what they are ready. Every little step builds self-confidence.
- Don’t force them into doing things.
- Don’t be overprotective. They don’t need a parent, but need to build self-confidence by facing their fears.
- Don’t encourage avoidance. If they panic and leave a situation, allow them time to calm themselves and then suggest gradually returning to the situation.
- Don’t quit. Persevere. There is effective treatment for anxiety, but time and patience are needed.
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