3 Tips, How to support someone with Anxiety
Anxiety or panic attacks can be a frightening experience for someone whos having them, but it can also a scary for those who support them as well.
Imagine you are out shopping with a friend, perhaps you've just treated yourself to something new, and now the coffee shop and a big slice of cake is calling, when all of a sudden your friend has complained of dizziness and seems to be swaying, perhaps they are also breathing rapidly. Sounds frightening, doesn't it!
For anyone who has experienced anxiety or supported someone who has, this scenario may seem all too familiar!
It can be really difficult to know what to do in this situation, how can we offer the right support that would be helpful?
Understanding whats happening
Watching someone you love suffering the effects of an anxiety attack can be frightening, if we can understand what happens to our bodies during this time, it becomes less worrying. Just by understanding that this is a natural reaction can help you support someone more positively.
Take a look here at one of my previous blogs to learn more about flight/fight and the effects on the body.
Allow them to choose
Ask them what they need, very often what we think people need and what they actually need can be very different, they may want to sit somewhere where they can feel the wind on their face or go to a quieter area away from people for a while, but allow them to chose.
Offer helpful techniques
Breathing techniques can really help to calm the nervous system, counting four by four breathing can be useful for slowing things down, and counting four seconds for each breath in and out can also help calm the mind from all unwanted chatter that happens as well.
Once someone has confided in you that they are experiencing panic or anxiety attacks it can be useful to talk together through a plan about what may be helpful if one were to happen whilst you are together, this way you can be sure the support you offer is wanted and useful, but also needs do change so check in with each other regularly and see if anything needs to be adapted.
Also, don't forget to look after yourself as well, very often we put so much into supporting others we forget ourselves, encourage them to seek help from a GP, counsellor or support group, Having other avenues of support will help both of you.
For further support take a look at my blog about apps that can help.