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Mental Health

How to support someone living with anxiety

In today’s fast-paced world, everyone feels worried or stressed at times. Maybe it’s nerves before a big job interview or worries about money. These feelings are common for most of us. However, for many people, this worry doesn’t just come and go. It’s like a constant rain cloud overhead, making their days tough even when everything else seems fine. This persistent worry is what we call anxiety.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is more than just feeling worried. It’s a deep feeling that can feel never-ending for some people. It’s normal to feel anxious now and then, but when it’s so intense that it gets in the way of daily life, it’s considered an anxiety disorder.

People with anxiety can have a lot of different symptoms. Some might always feel really worried, while others get easily upset or have a hard time focusing. Some might feel restless and have trouble sleeping. Their bodies might feel tense, always on edge waiting for the next stressful thing to happen. Some people’s worries focus on specific things, or they might have strong, scary reactions like panic attacks. Anxiety can even cause physical problems like stomach aches. And, to deal with these feelings, some people might turn to things like alcohol or drugs to try and feel better, even if it’s just for a little while.

Symptoms Of Anxiety

Physical Symptoms:

  • Rapid heartbeat: An increased heart rate is common during anxious moments.
  • Shortness of breath: Some people may feel like they can’t catch their breath.
  • Trembling or shaking: This can be noticeable in the hands or legs.
  • Dry mouth: Feeling like your mouth is constantly dry.
  • Sweating: Increased sweating even if it’s not particularly warm.
  • Stomach upset or nausea: A “nervous stomach” or feeling like you might be sick.
  • Headache: Tension or migraine headaches can be triggered by anxiety.
  • Muscle tension or pain: This is especially common in the neck, shoulders, and back.
  • Dizziness or feeling faint: A lightheaded feeling or feeling like you might pass out.
  • Fatigue: Feeling constantly tired, despite getting enough sleep.

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Restlessness: Feeling like you can’t sit still or relax.
  • Feeling constantly “on edge” or nervous.
  • Irritability: Getting annoyed or frustrated easily.
  • Feelings of impending doom: Thinking that something terrible is going to happen, even if there’s no reason to believe so.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Finding it hard to focus on tasks.
  • Excessive worry: Often about things that might go wrong or other concerns.
  • Fearfulness: An overwhelming sense of fear that isn’t justified by the situation.
  • Avoidance: Going out of your way to avoid situations or things that trigger your anxiety.
  • Sleep disturbances: This can include difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restless, unsatisfying sleep.

Helping with a Heart: Being There for Someone with Anxiety

It’s not always easy to get how someone feels, especially if they’re dealing with anxiety. But you don’t always need to fully understand to be a good friend. Sometimes, just being there and listening can make a huge difference.

Instead of trying to fix things, just showing you care is important. Saying things like, “I see you’re scared” or “I believe you can get through this” can really help. But be careful not to brush off their feelings with comments like “Don’t worry too much” or “Everything will be alright soon.” These might sound nice, but they can make someone feel like their worries aren’t taken seriously.

A simple way to help is by doing something together, like watching a movie or taking a walk. When someone’s feeling anxious, having a distraction can give them a break from those intense feelings. And just spending time with them, even if you’re not talking, lets them know they’re not alone.

Lastly, learning more about anxiety can help you be even more supportive. It’s not about giving advice but understanding more about what they’re going through can help you be a better friend.

Making a Safe Space for Comfort

Helping someone with anxiety often starts with making them feel secure and heard. Both their physical place and how they feel emotionally are important for getting better.

First, try to make their space peaceful and avoid things that make their anxiety worse. You don’t have to change everything, but small things can help. Using softer lights instead of bright ones, or playing calm music can make them feel more relaxed. It’s also good to remind them about ways to stay present and calm, like focusing on their breathing or noticing things around them.

Talking is important too. It’s good to listen, but they should also feel okay to talk about what they’re feeling. Having honest talks without judging or giving too much advice can really help. Sometimes, just talking about worries can make things clearer and give them some relief.

Knowing What Causes Anxiety and Planning Ahead

It’s helpful to know what makes someone with anxiety feel more stressed. These things can be different situations, people, places, or even small remarks. Even if you can’t always avoid these stress points, knowing about them can help both the person and those around them manage the anxiety better.

For example, if being in busy places makes someone anxious, you can go out when it’s quieter or pick places that aren’t crowded. And if talking about certain things makes them uncomfortable, you can be careful with those topics or skip them altogether.

Getting Expert Advice

Support from friends and family is great, but sometimes, it’s important to get help from experts. Knowing when someone should see a therapist or counselor and encouraging them to go can really help them get better.

Counselors and therapists know how to give people tools and strategies to handle their anxiety. They create a place where people can talk openly about their feelings. Some might also take medicine, but only if a doctor thinks it’s a good idea.


Supporting someone with anxiety means there will be good days and tough days. Healing doesn’t always follow a straight path; there can be challenges and low points. But every effort you make, every kind of word you say, and just being there for them can make a huge difference. When you support someone like this, you’re showing them you understand and care, and you’re helping them head towards better days. This kind of help and understanding strengthens trust and hope between people. Every time you listen or help, it shows the strength and kindness people can offer to each other, both for the one facing anxiety and for the one always there for support.