Chronic anxiety is an intense, persistent and excessive problem that can be extremely damaging to a person’s daily life. Living with anxiety is a constant struggle, and part of that struggle often feels misunderstood. If you don’t suffer from anxiety, it can be difficult to know what to do or how to help when you see people with anxiety who are struggling.

10 things people with anxiety want from others

Here are ten things people with anxiety want you to know and do:

1. Try to understand them

It is important to understand that things that are easy or come naturally for you can be difficult for a person with anxiety . Talking on the phone, meeting someone new, or being in a crowded place can feel very overwhelming, causing stress and fear. Instead of getting upset or angry, try to understand what’s going on and be there to support her.

2. Comfort them

Panic attacks can often crop up in anxiety sufferers, and it can be scary. If your friend or loved one experiences a panic attack, you are there for them. Hug them or try your best to calm them down and remind them to take a deep breath. Stay with them and talk to them, then make sure they’re okay after it happens. Take them to a quieter place when it’s over and do what you can to help.

3. Learn to calm them down

People with chronic anxiety often need a distraction from their exhausted mind . Constant stress and overthinking wear them down, so talking about memories is a good way to calm them down. Guiding your mind to a happier, calmer place can lessen your anxiety and allow you to focus on something more positive.

4. Pay attention

If you spend a lot of time with someone who suffers from anxiety, you will begin to notice what triggers their panic attacks. Be aware of what is happening around you and keep an eye on your friend or loved one. If you notice irregular breathing, shaky hands or legs, flushed face, or nervous demeanor, do everything you can to prevent or calm the anxiety of an impending attack by holding your hands.

5. Be true to your plans

People with anxiety are usually the planners . They like to have a set schedule. If you have plans, stick to them. People with anxiety don’t like surprises, so give them as much information as possible about your plans so they can prepare.

6. Help them find activities to ease their anxiety

If you’re making plans with a friend who suffers from anxiety, a noisy, crowded bar, club, or party might not be ideal. Try to calmly plan something else like crafts, painting, yoga or going on a nature walk.

7. Don’t criticize your anxiety

Do not tell someone with anxiety that they are overreacting , or that it is all in their head, that will only make the situation worse. If you don’t understand what’s going on, ask gentle questions. Accept that you have anxiety, and try to learn as much as possible so that you are able to help out when needed.

8. Invite them to relax

Just being there for someone who has anxiety can be enough to help them relax. No need to plan a special day. Just making tea on the lawn, looking at the clouds, is enough to free them from a busy environment and allow them to breathe and relax.

9. Give you a checkup

If you don’t live with them, give them a call or a short stop at their house regularly to show that you are aware. Living with anxiety can often feel lonely and confused, so make sure that person knows that you are there for them.

10. Don’t make them feel abnormal

Don’t make someone feel weird because of their anxiety. They may not understand better, but you should always make them feel loved despite their struggles. They deserve love, affection, and compassion like everyone else. If your friend or loved one suffers from anxiety, show them that you care and that you will always be there to help. In reality, they are much stronger than they appear.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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