‘Everything will be fine’.
When someone is spiralling, it is not the time to pull out a bumper sticker philosophy. For an anxious person getting though the next five minutes seems like a really difficult task so everything is so not fine. Acknowledge their discomfort and ask what you can do to help. Telling someone to stop stressing or stop worrying has proven to make people more anxious according to Srini Pillay, a psychiatrist, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
‘What do you have to be anxious about?’
Often, those with anxiety cannot explain why they are anxious and everybody shows it in a different way. NHS psychotherapist Dr Mark Salter says: “More than 90% of emotion goes on way below our conscious awareness”. Turn the question on its head and maybe point out all the positive things they have in their life, by saying soothing things it will calm them down and even could make them see things differently.
‘But think about everything I have going on’.
Whether we like it or not, everybody is self-indulgent and loves to talk about their own problems. When someone is suffering from anxiety, the worst thing you can do is not be there and turn it around to be all about you. If you are having an argument or even just bickering, put it to one side to let your loved one know that you are there for them, unconditionally. Reassure them that they can rely on you, especially in their anxious times.
‘Everyone gets anxious though’.
If someone suffers from anxiety, they are trying to work through a mental minefield on a daily basis. Some are more prone to anxiety than others and as easy as it is to conclude that everyone can feel nervous or anxious, actually having it is a totally different feeling. You can feel nauseous, constipated and faint – ask them to write down whatever is making them anxious and then say you will work through it together.
Author: Scarlett Victoria Clark
Scarlett Victoria Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Scriptoeris and a multi-lingual journalist. She has also written for Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar, when not writing she enjoys travelling and shopping for (more) heels.