How To Help Someone With Anxiety
All of us worry and get scared from time to time. But those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people dont know how to best help someone with anxiety. People are often dismissive of people experiencing anxiety, says Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. With other medical illnesses, you may be able to see physical symptoms. But with anxiety, you dont necessarily see what the person is dealing with. So its important to be sensitive to what the person with anxiety is going through, even if it doesnt make sense to you. Its distressing to watch a loved one experience panic attacks and face anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
Start A Walking Program
Walking just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce your risk for major chronic diseases, including anxiety and depression. Read these tips to get started.
Use the following ideas to start your own walking program.
- Wear the pedometer for a few days and see how many steps you average.
- Set a daily goal and work up to it. A good goal is to increase your average daily steps gradually so that you get used to the increased distance. Recommendations vary on how fast to increase steps. Anywhere from 500-2,000 steps a week is reasonable.
- Record your daily steps in a log or notebook.
There are many ways to increase your daily steps:
- Choose a more distant parking place
- Take the stairs
- Walk over to a friend’s dorm room or a colleague’s office instead of using the phone or e-mail
- Walk the dog
- Walk with a friend each day
Find ways to walk even during the winter months or other inclement weather.
- Walking in the malls
- Local school track or fitness center
- 3-5min “walk breaks” during study time/work/etc
If you experience pain or discomfort, check with your primary care provider.
Remember, it takes about six months to “lock-in” a new behavior. Think of your walking program as a permanent change in your behavior. If you maintain your walking program for a minimum of six months, you are much more likely to maintain this change long-term.
Get Involved In Your Community
Find a way to volunteer or be active in your community.
Science shows that helping others may influence levels of oxytocin in the brains of volunteers, according to a study in Hormones and Behavior by Michael J. Poulin and E. Alison Holman. Oxytocin helps the body manage stress.
Helping others also allows people to focus on something other than their anxiety.
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First Talk To Someone You Trust
Reach out to someone you trust krero with a friend, a whnau member, a workmate, someone at church, an elder or a health professional. They can just listen and be there for you. They may also give you advice and information, as well as practical support.
People who have been through depression and anxiety themselves can be especially helpful. There may be support networks, often run by and for people with experience of depression and anxiety in your area.
Go to mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/in-crisis/support-groups/ to find out more.
“My father said only weak people seek help. But I knew I needed help. Now, how I stay well is by ringing friends and family.Gillian
Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
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You Often Avoid Practicing Basic Self
Often times, I like to refer to the mix of depression and anxiety as the beast. This is the voice in our head, the feelings in our body, which tells us to do the complete opposite of the positive actions we need to be doing for ourselves and our self-care. For example, if you need to get out of bed, brush your teeth, take a shower, get dressed for work, get your papers together and go, the beast of anxiety and depression is telling you to do the complete opposite every step of the way.
Here is where we must do everything opposite of what the beast wants. If it means simply rolling out of bed and onto the floor or making it to the couch, at least youre not letting it control every step of the way. These small behavioral shifts actually help us in feeling better. Katie Sandler, 33, an impact coach in Fort Lauderdale
Complementary And Alternative Treatments
Complementary and alternative treatments have developed outside the mainstream of modern western medicine or psychology and some people find them helpful. Most of them, such as homeopathy and many herbal remedies do not have a scientific evidence base. There is some evidence that acupuncture reduces anxiety and that St Johns wort is effective for depression. If you plan to try a complementary or alternative treatment, you might want to talk to your pharmacist, doctor or nurse first.
“Acupuncture really helped me recover from depression and anxiety. I felt better after the first treatment but after several treatments over three weeks I had gone from being severely depressed back to my baseline happiness.Anonymous
Tohunga and other Mori healers provide rongo Mori healing that offers:
- Mirimiri .
- Rkau rongo .
- Whitiwhiti krero .
“I had to first connect with the wairua, through karakia, waiata, and also regular visits to the awa. The main thing I had to do was krero, talk and unload.Jamie
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What To Do When Depression And Anxiety Mix
You’ve noticed some changes lately. Maybe you feel sad, hopeless, or donât get any joy out of activities that used to be fun. Sounds like depression, right?
Maybe that’s not all. Sometimes you’re worried, afraid, and just plain uneasy. Isn’t that a sign of anxiety?
Not so fast. Itâs normal to have ups and downs or to have things youâre concerned about. You might be going through a difficult time. Your doctor can help you figure out if itâs actually a condition and what would help.
If it turns out that you have both conditions, there are lots of ways to get help.
It Completely Sucks But There Is Hope
Anxiety and depression have a way of shrinking your world. The first steps to expanding your life again are accepting that it is OK to not feel OK. It will take work, but you will heal and, one day, you will reconnect with how much you matter. Matthew Emerzian, CEO and founder of Every Monday Matters, a not-for-profit organization that helps people with self-worth
Some interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Living With is a guide to navigating conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month, HuffPost Life will tackle very real issues people live with by offering different stories, advice and ways to connect with others who understand what its like. In May, were covering anxiety in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. Got an experience youd like to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Treatment Options For Patients With Anxiety
There are two primary treatments for individuals with anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves learning how to lower anxiety and face distressing situations.
- Medication management with antidepressants, which works well on its own but even better when coupled with CBT.
During therapy, continue to show your support by:
- Asking your loved one what you can do to help them.
- Asking if you can attend a therapy session to learn some skills to better support them.
- Making time for your own life and interests to sustain your energy.
- Encouraging your loved one to try another therapist if the first one isnt a good fit.
Stress Is Not Anxiety Or Depression
Stress is not the same as anxiety or depression but for some people, being stressed for a long time can lead to anxiety or depression, and it can affect a persons physical health, particularly cardiovascular health.
When we talk about being stressed, it usually means were upset or tense about something thats happening in our lives. Stress is a normal part of daily life. Its a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help people cope effectively with emergencies.
Some stress can be a good thing. It can help us get motivated to get things done, but health problems from stress happen when it is regular and doesnt let up.
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Learn As Much As You Can About Mental Health
Part of your process of working to help a friend with depression or anxiety should involve a commitment to learning about their struggles. So, if youve never had these types of problems before, read all about them. Don’t just research the symptoms covered above, but also natural remedies for anxiety, common anxiety triggers, medical treatments, therapeutic approaches, and so on.
Once you deepen your understanding in this way, youll be much more likely to know what your loved one needs and to be able to offer it to them.
Learning about mental health can also stop you from making lots of mistaken assumptions that can inadvertently cause harm.
For example, you might just assume that if you see your friend looking happy and vibrant, this means their depression is in the past. However, if youve researched depression, youll know that one good day doesnt indicate a cure, and assuming it does can set the person back.
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
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You Get Exhausted Physically And Mentally
The first blade is the hardships of dealing with depression and anxiety, such as how depression can make you feel so physically and mentally tired and frustrated, but the anxiety will keep you up all night worrying about every little thing and wondering will the depression ever end.
The second blade of the sword is having depression and anxiety as a minority. Being a black woman with mental health issues adds more stress because in the black community, were always being told we need to be strong and never talk about our mental health. I grew up with a what happens in this house stays in this house mentality, as have many other black people with mental health issues. This to me has always been exhausting, because mental health issues in my community have always been so hushed. Jasmin Christal Pierre, 25, creator and CEO ofThe Safe Place in New Orleans
Other Sites That Can Help
www.atareira.org.nz – Support, education and information for family and whnau.Carers New Zealand – Information and support for people in caregiver roles.Mental Health Foundation – Information about mental health covering a range of topics.Small Steps – A range of simple tools you can use to manage your stress, anxiety and low mood.
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See Our Other ‘how To’ Guides
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.
Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.
It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.
Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.
Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.
Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.
Te Taha Tinana Look After Your Physical Wellbeing
There are lots of ways you can look after your physical wellbeing:
- Go to a park, the beach or the bush to absorb the peacefulness and fresh air.
- Do something physical, like going for a walk, a run or a swim.
- Get your hands dirty in the garden.
- Get regular sleep.
- Cut back on alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Eat healthy meals.
“I cant wait to go have some exercise to know how good Ill feel afterwards.Vesna
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Signs And Symptoms Of Teen Depression
It can be hard to put into words exactly how depression feelsand we dont all experience it the same way. For some teens, depression is characterized by feelings of bleakness and despair. For others, its a persistent anger or agitation, or simply an overwhelming sense of emptiness. However depression affects you, though, there are some common symptoms that you may experience:
- You constantly feel irritable, sad, or angry.
- Nothing seems fun anymoreeven the activities you used to loveand you just dont see the point of forcing yourself to do them.
- You feel bad about yourselfworthless, guilty, or just wrong in some way.
- You sleep too much or not enough.
- Youve turned to alcohol or drugs to try to change the way you feel.
- You have frequent, unexplained headaches or other physical pains or problems.
- Anything and everything makes you cry.
- Youre extremely sensitive to criticism.
- Youve gained or lost weight without consciously trying to.
- Youre having trouble concentrating, thinking straight, or remembering things. Your grades may be plummeting because of it.
- You feel helpless and hopeless.
- Youre thinking about death or suicide.
If Youre Up For Exercise Consider A Walk Around The Block
On days when you feel as if you cant get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing youd want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can be powerful depression fighters.
If youre able to, take a walk around the block. Start with a five-minute walk and work your way up from there.
Sleep disturbances are common with depression. You may not sleep well, or you may sleep too much. Both can make depression symptoms worse.
Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Try to get into a healthy sleeping routine.
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You Never Know How Your Anxiety Or Depression Is Going To Show Up
You want to stay in bed for hours but you also want to get up first thing in the morning and overwork out of an overwhelming fear that youll miss out on a project or deadline. You care tremendously what everyone else thinks, and another part of you couldnt care less. Some days you even have anxiety attacks when youre out at social events, and others you cant find the energy to socialize. It often feels like your brain is at odds with itself. You oscillate from feeling down to feeling a lot of tension, and this can manifest in different ways. Beverly Friedmann, 30, a content manager in Brooklyn
What Is It Like To Have High
People living with high-functioning anxiety and depression usually do not fit the stereotype of either disorder. In fact, many appear to be overachievers. The anxiety can serve as an energizer, driving the person towards achieving his or her goals. Its later, when in private, that the symptoms of depression tend to emerge. Feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism, fatigue, helplessness or guilt, moodiness, and a desire to avoid interaction with others become intensified. Because the stereotypical image of depression or anxiety doesnt match up with what people living with high-functioning anxiety and depression look like, it is hard to spot, even for sufferers to recognize in themselves. However, the symptoms of high-functioning anxiety and depression are the same as for non-high functioning anxiety and depression. The main difference is the ability to suppress or diminish the appearance of disruptions in life activities.
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