Dont Say: Have You Tried Meditation/yoga/
Meditation and yoga and deep breathing and all of the other anti-anxiety trends that have taken pop culture by storm might be helpful for some people, maybe even your ultra-anxious friend. But they might not. Extreme anxiety can feel consuming, which means that small things like taking a few deep breaths might not be enough to counter panic in the moment. Everyone with anxiety has different relaxation techniques that work for themand some people need to do something active, like go for a run, instead of sitting and breathing. Dont offer unsolicited advice unless youve been trained to treat people with anxiety disorders or you have one yourself.
Clinical Signs Of Dog Anxiety And Fear
The clinical signs will vary depending on the severity of the fear or anxiety that the dog is suffering from. Here are some of the most common clinical signs:
Mild fears: signs may include trembling, tail-tucking, hiding, reduced activity and passive escape behaviors
Panic: signs may include panting, pacing, active escape behavior and increased out-of-context, potentially injurious motor activity
Sympathetic autonomic nervous system activity, including diarrhea
Lesions secondary to licking and biting their own body
Tail-chasing and circling
Match Your Support To Their Preferences And Attachment Style
Its best to ask someone what type of support they prefer rather than guess! However, we know from research that people who have an avoidant attachment style are likely to respond best to strong displays of concrete practical support. That could include helping the anxious person break tasks down into manageable steps, or talking through specific options for how to deal with a difficult situation, like how to respond to an angry email, but still acknowledging their autonomy and independence while doing so.
Other people are more likely to prefer emotional support, especially those who are securely attached, or who have a preoccupied attachment style due to a fear of being abandoned or of their emotions being overwhelming to others. Folks like this respond well to statements emphasizing that theyre part of a tight teamfor example, their supporter saying, This is tough but we love each other and well get through it together.
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Can I Really Help Someone With Anxiety
The answer is YES and no. If you follow these eight tips, you can be an incredible help to someone who is struggling with anxiety, however, do not take on the responsibility of fixing them. Remember that it takes time and patience, but the reward of helping someone overcome their anxiety is priceless.
However, encouraging or motivating them to get help with their anxiety can be worth a ton.
Provide Safe And Comforting Physical Touch
Im a big advocate for skin-to-skin contact. We live in a culture thats starved for physical affection. We all crave it, and we all need it. A warm hug, a cuddle session on the couch, or holding hands tells your loved one, When youre with me, youre safe.
Skin-to-skin contact isnt just for newborns, and it often isnt sexual. Offering safe and affectionate physical touch is a powerful way to calm anxiety. Skin-to-skin contact reduces heart rate, which is one of the physical manifestations of anxiety. Physical touch also has the power to erase feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
Of course, physical touch will look different depending on the person youre comforting. It could be holding hands with your spouse and looking them in the eye. It could be a tight, 60-second hug with a friend .
It should go without saying, but before you touch anyone struggling with anxiety, even your spouse, ask their permission. Since anxiety is an alarm signaling a lack of control, reaching out to touch someone without their permission could make them feel like theyre not in control of their own bodies. In an effort to help, you may make things worse. Gently extend your hand as an offer for them to take your hand. Kindly ask, Will you walk with me for a moment? Or you might ask, Do you mind if I put my hands on your shoulders? or Can I hug you? If someone isnt interested in your touch, dont take it personally. Respect their independence and move on to the next step.
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Do Let Them Know Youre Here For Them
When learning how to help someone with anxiety, you may want to explain to the person that youve noticed that they seem more anxious lately and that you want to help.
This will typically come as a welcome relief to the person, as they realise that they dont have to carry the burden of their anxiety alone. Having this conversation gives the person a chance to see that they have people who care about them, who want to listen and who want them to feel better. Someone suffering from anxiety could also tell you ways you can help manage their anxiety symptoms.
Tip : Interrupt The Worry Cycle
If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat. You may feel like youre spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety. But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
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Do Keep Lines Of Communication Open
When it comes to helping someone with anxiety, it is important to keep an open line of communication with them.
If you are able to, see the person regularly as this will help with managing anxiety. Spend one-on-one time with them so that they have opportunities to talk about anything they feel anxious about. You can also keep in touch over the phone, video or phone calling them once a week, or sending a text every few days just to see how their week is going.
Focus On The Things You Can Control
Were in a time of massive upheaval. There are so many things outside of our control, including how long the pandemic lasts, how other people behave, and whats going to happen in our communities. Thats a tough thing to accept, and so many of us respond by endlessly searching the Internet for answers and thinking over all the different scenarios that might happen. But as long as were focusing on questions with unknowable answers and circumstances outside of our personal control, this strategy will get us nowhereaside from feeling drained, anxious, and overwhelmed.
When you feel yourself getting caught up in fear of what might happen, try to shift your focus to things you can control. For example, you cant control how severe the coronavirus outbreak is in your city or town, but you can take steps to reduce your own personal risk , such as:
- washing your hands frequently with soap and water or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- avoiding touching your face .
- staying home as much as possible, even if you dont feel sick.
- avoiding crowds and gatherings of 10 or more people.
- avoiding all non-essential shopping and travel.
- keeping 6 feet of distance between yourself and others when out.
- getting plenty of sleep, which helps support your immune system.
- following all recommendations from health authorities.
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How Does Psychological Stress Affect People Who Have Cancer
People who have cancer may find the physical, emotional, and social effects of the disease to be stressful. Those who attempt to manage their stress with risky behaviors such as smoking or drinking alcohol or who become more sedentary may have a poorer quality of life after cancer treatment. In contrast, people who are able to use effective coping strategies to deal with stress, such as relaxation and stress management techniques, have been shown to have lower levels of depression, anxiety, and symptoms related to the cancer and its treatment. However, there is no evidence that successful management of psychological stress improves cancer survival.
Evidence from experimental studies does suggest that psychological stress can affect a tumors ability to grow and spread. For example, some studies have shown that when mice bearing human tumors were kept confined or isolated from other miceconditions that increase stresstheir tumors were more likely to grow and spread . In one set of experiments, tumors transplanted into the mammary fat pads of mice had much higher rates of spread to the lungs and lymph nodes if the mice were chronically stressed than if the mice were not stressed. Studies in mice and in human cancer cells grown in the laboratory have found that the stress hormone norepinephrine, part of the bodys fight-or-flight response system, may promote angiogenesis and metastasis.
Avoid Judgment And Blame
If someone you love is depressed and no longer able to do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you may feel like they are lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed isn’t lazythey’re ill. Everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming, if not impossible, to someone who is depressed.
If your loved one’s responsibilities around the house are piling up, you may not be able to take them on yourself.
In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it’s OK if you need to ask for help.
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Tips For Men Coping With Anxiety And Depression
There are lots of things you can do to look after your health and wellbeing, so find an approach that best suits you. For example, try to stay active and make plans for the day they dont have to be grand plans, just small things like going for a run or talking to a mate.
Try to include activities or hobbies that you specifically enjoy. At first, you may not enjoy them as much as you did before, but if you keep active and persist, the enjoyment should eventually return.
Its important to look after your body by staying physically active, eating healthily and getting plenty of sleep. Try not to drink alcohol or take other drugs to block out how youre feeling and what is happening. This is not a positive long-term solution and can make the anxiety or depression worse.
The important thing is to find the right options and the right health professionals that suit you.
Do A Fun Or Relaxing Activity Together
When spending time with someone who has anxiety, consider doing a relaxing or fun activity with them. Recently, my cousin came over feeling anxious about a breakup and the instability it caused. We spent the afternoon with Halloween candy across the table while filling loot bags while talking about her concerns, frustrations, and fears. After a couple of hours of packing bags, she felt relaxed and said she ended up having a lot of fun.
The lesson in this story is that doing an act of kindness for someone else can help someone with anxiety. The impact of helping others is positive, so it allows them to put out good into the world. However, its also a way to break the ice and give them permission to be more honest. Without the honesty that comes from a place of calm, you can never inch closer to helping them solve their problems.
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Move More Eat Well Sleeeeep
Its pretty well-known that exercise lowers stress, reduces anxiety and improves mood. And the good news is: you dont need to run a marathon to get the benefits. It takes just 30 minutes of exercise a day to make a difference. Weve got some tips on how to exercise when you’re not motivated.
Diet and sleep are also really important for your wellbeing. A healthy diet will make you feel healthier and stronger and better able to handle stress, while enough sleep positively affects your mood and stress levels.
Simple Ways To Relieve Stress And Anxiety
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Stress and anxiety are common experiences for most people. In fact, 70% of adults in the United States say they feel stress or anxiety daily.
Here are 16 simple ways to relieve stress and anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to combat stress.
It might seem contradictory, but putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress.
The benefits are strongest when you exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience anxiety than those who dont exercise .
There are a few reasons behind this:
- Stress hormones: Exercise lowers your bodys stress hormones such as cortisol in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Sleep: Exercise can also improve your sleep quality, which can be negatively affected by stress and anxiety.
- Confidence: When you exercise regularly, you may feel more competent and confident in your body, which in turn promotes mental wellbeing.
- Try to find an exercise routine or activity you enjoy, such as walking, dancing, rock climbing or yoga.
Activities such as walking or jogging that involve repetitive movements of large muscle groups can be particularly stress relieving.
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Offer Reassurance Physically And Emotionally
Saying things such as relax or calm down is a form of invalidating what your loved one might be experiencing. So if youve been using phrases such as these, its time to break that habit. You can tell your loved one that theyre in a safe place and that they are not in danger. You may also want to offer physical affection, such as a hug or holding hands, as that could help them feel better. Embracing someone who is calm can help them slow their breathing and release stress.
Instead Say: Im Always Here For You
You dont have to understand what your friend is going through to be there for them. Showing you care will help if your friend is self-conscious about their anxiety or has a hard time opening up about it. Listen without judgment to what they have to say and what their experiences are like. Being there for someone even when you cant relate is a powerful way of showing support.
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Coping With Stress And Anxiety
Coping strategies and personal assessment tools to help you manage your stress and anxiety as we adapt the next normal.
- Mental Health and the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Coping with stress and anxiety
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to loosen in Canada and around the world, many are grappling to adjust to new norms for return to work and day-to-day life. At the same time, communities are coping with tremendous loss, grief, and trauma, while facing an uncertain future. to explore our section on grief, loss and healing.
Its normal to feel concerned about whats next and its important to continue using the strategies and tools youve relied on to support yourself and your family in this challenging time.
Here are some ideas that might be helpful. Some might apply to you and some might not or they may need to be adapted to suit you personally, your personality, where and with whom you live, or your culture. Please be creative and experiment with these ideas and strategies.
COVID-19 is a new virus and we are still learning about it. The uncertainty about the virus and the changes that are unfolding can make most people feel a bit anxious. This is normal, and it actually can help motivate us to take action to protect ourselves and others, and to learn more about the pandemic.
Stay informed by checking information provided by experts and credible sources. A lot of information is disseminated about COVID-19 every day, but not all of it is accurate. Some reliable sources include:
Understand What Anxiety Feels Like
This is probably one of my favorite ways to teach people how to help someone with anxiety. Although if you have never experienced anxiety, it is hard to imagine what another person is going through.
Most people have experienced anxiety at some point in their lives and an anxiety attack maybe once or twice. However, people who struggle with anxiety disorders such as PTSD , OCD , GAD , or another anxiety disorder live with this on a daily or weekly basis.
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