7 Things You Need To Know – Struggling With Anxiety

7 Things You Need To Know If You Or Someone You Love Is Struggling With Anxiety

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

  • A Hard Dose Of Reality Could Make The Anxiety Worse.  Telling someone with anxiety problems to “calm down” or “relax” does not help.  This advice is not easy to do when someone is suffering from anxiety problems.  People with anxiety issues are not choosing to have these problems, so using tough love does not help either.  Do not tell the anxious person to “suck it up” or just face the thing that is making them anxious.  This tends to heighten their anxiety level and thus makes the symptoms worse.
  • Do Not Ridicule Someone With Anxiety In An Effort To Force Them Out Of The Anxiety. Most anxious thoughts are distorted to some degree and the anxious person knows it.  It does not help if you tell them that they are “being crazy”.  And you do not have to keep pointing their distorted thoughts out to them.  So do not make fun of them or tell them their thought processes are stupid.  Instead, maintain a calm demeanor in how you let them know that the distorted thoughts are not real.
  • Give Reassurance To A Point. Usually a sincere dose of reassurance is quite soothing to someone who is anxious.  Reassurance should be similar to how you would reassure a child during a storm and the child is afraid.  You would tell the child, “Everything is going to be okay.”  When the child comes back with “How do you know?”  You calmly respond, “Everything is going to be okay.”  and the child goes back to playing.

If the need for reassurance is too exhausting, then offer to go with the anxious person to therapy.  This will get the anxious person professional help and will help you step back from possibly getting dragged down by your efforts to provide help and reassurance.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ~ Steven Hayes

  • Anxiety Problems Are Fixable.  When you are struggling with anxiety, it can feel quite overwhelming and the ability to get better may seem hopeless.  The good news is that with the right help, anxiety problems can be resolved.  Do not give up hope.  Even if you feel like you have tried everything, your problems are fixable.  The secret is to keep reading, researching, trying new therapists, going to different medical specialists.  The trick is to not give up and unfortunately learn to live with the anxiety problems.  You and your family will adapt to the limitations created by the anxiety if you do not get help and each of you will be negatively impacted.
  • Talking Out The Anxiety Can Help. A friend or family member who has a supportive ear and a patient personality can make a huge difference.  Just be careful not to exhaust them as mentioned above.  A good rule of thumb is to try and have at least three people that you can talk to about your anxiety.  I suggest that one of them be a therapist who is trained in treating anxiety issues.  The therapist is not only a supportive ear but also a trained ear and can pick up on things that a friend or loved one may have missed.  The therapist can teach skills that will stop the anxiety from ruling your life.

“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.” ~ Dan Millman

  • Talking Out The Anxiety Can Make It Worse. On the flip side, by over talking about your anxieties, it can make them bigger and more overwhelming.  The fears will become more vivid and real.  This is how the support person usually gets exhausted in their efforts to help because no matter what is said or suggested, it is never enough.  The problems just keep getting bigger and bigger.  This usually leads to the anxious person becoming a recluse who is afraid to leave their house in an effort to prevent any of their fears from coming true.
  • Medication May Be Needed Whether You Like It Or Not. A lot of people balk at the suggestion of medication but are quick to say they wish they had not waited so long once they tried it.  A skilled medical professional can prescribe medication that can quickly curb the symptoms that have been controlling your life and the lives of your family members who love you and watched you lose the life you once had.  If you are terribly afraid of medications for whatever reason, I usually suggest to people that they at least try the proper medication for a thirty day period and just see if it works.  The results are usually fast and very encouraging.
  • Get Plenty Of Sleep And Avoid Caffeine Products. If you are experiencing anxiety, you need to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.  If you do not get the proper amount of sleep; do not try to make up for the loss of sleep with the use of caffeine products and energy drinks in order keep yourself going.  These supplements can quickly exacerbate anxiety symptoms and thus create a vicious cycle in which you will get trapped in a feeling of hopelessness.
  • Use Exercise As A Stress Reliever. Exercise is very powerful in overcoming anxiety.  Regular exercise will help release anxiety and at the same time will help you sleep better at night.

Struggling with Anxiety

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”  ~ Deepak Chopra

Mark Webb is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice at South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center in Valdosta. He is the author of How To Be A Great Partner. Mark has been in the field of helping individuals and couples since 1986. He has a vast amount of experience and he can have a very positive impact on your life and your relationship. If you are looking for individual or marriage counseling, please call his office in Valdosta, Georgia and his staff will help you set up an appointment.
South Georgia Psychiatric and Counseling Center
2704 N. Oak St. Blg B-3
Valdosta, Georgia 31602

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