“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that the better for us all.”
What is anxiety?
“I am anxious” is a phrase that commonly pops up in conversations among people. It occurs in a wide variety of scenarios from talking to a stranger to taking a test. We could even go as far as to say that it is a ‘normal’ phenomenon experienced by almost anybody.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what's to come. It is when someone feels afraid, tense or worried about things that could happen in the future or things that could happen to them or to their loved one's. Anxiety manifests in one’s thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. A healthy amount of anxiety is actually helpful, it helps us stay alert and protected. It becomes maladaptive when it starts interfering with daily life functioning. Anxiety is extremely common among people in today’s world, but very few actually seek help and go to therapy. Anxiety is manageable and treatable and one need not suffer in silence.
We understand that it is hard to see someone you love and care about experience anxiety. Your support and encouragement can be crucial to your loved one’s recovery. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your loved one gets the support and resources they need to recover.
Learn and recognise the symptoms of anxiety:
Shortness of breath
Getting easily fatigued
Tightness of your chest
Other parts of your body aching.
Catastrophising; believing that the worst is going to happen.
Overgeneralizing; making assumptions about something based on a single occurrence or event.
All-or-nothing thinking; Black and White thinking.
Meta worry; worrying about worry.
Total or complete avoidance of event or object that gives rise to anxiety.
Lack of assertiveness
Second-guessing every decision
Irritability and frustration in feared situations
Planning and organising every step to prevent things from going out of their control.
Remember, these symptoms can vary from person to person.
Anxiety is broadly categorised into 3 different types:
GAD (Generalized anxiety disorder) is characterized by excessive worry, thoughts, emotions, and actions. People who have GAD worry about everyday activities such as work, money, family, and health, hence the name.
Panic Disorder: This is seen in people who have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear, anxiety, or discomfort.
Social Phobia: Is characterized by an intense fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation. They avoid these types of situations altogether to protect themselves from facing such anxiety.
Specific Phobia: Involve persistent, unrealistic, intense anxiety about and fear of specific situations, circumstances, or objects. Fear of heights, enclosed spaces, animals, birds etc. will come under this section.
How you can help:
Once you have been able to identify and recognise the signs and symptoms of anxiety, the next step would be to actually support and help your loved one, here is how you can care for someone with anxiety:
a) Knowledge is power:
Researching and learning more about anxiety and its symptoms is the very first step that you can take. Familiarity with the symptoms can help in their identification. This familiarity will also help in the long run as anxiety manifests in different ways in a person as was mentioned before. In addition to finding out more about the symptoms of anxiety, try to also gain more
understanding on the treatment types and techniques that are available. Learning some of the techniques can go a long way in helping a person having an anxiety episode.
b) Validate and Accept:
Accepting somebody as they are will make it easier for them to talk to you about their difficulties. When they do tell you about their difficulties, do not invalidate their feelings and concerns. However small their difficulty might seem to you; it is frustrating and confusing to them. Instead support them and listen to their concerns.
c) Ask and then plan:
Everybody is unique and have their own preferences and quirks. Therefore, it is always a good idea to ask another person what they want without making assumptions. Ask them how you can help them and tailor your support accordingly. Once you know what they need, you can together make a plan for the things that they can do when their anxiety level rises.
d) Deep breaths help:
Deep breathing or abdominal breathing is an effective strategy to regulate anxiety. It involves breathing in deeply through your nose such that your stomach and abdominal muscles are engaged and then breathing out through your mouth. Teaching this technique to an anxious person and doing it along with them can help in reduction of anxiety.
e) The 5-4-3-2-1 technique:
A person having an anxiety attack usually feels like their thoughts are racing in their head and the best way to orient themselves to the present is through their body. Ask the person to take a couple of deep breaths and then help them become aware of their environment through the following suggestions:
• Look for 5 things that you can see around you
• Become aware of 4 things that you can touch
• Become aware of 3 things you can hear around you. Ask them to just
hear the sounds without judging them
• Notice 2 things you can smell
• Become aware of 1 thing you can taste.
mental health support
f) Challenging absolutes:
An anxious person always tends to think in black and white with no shades of grey in between. Their mind tends to think about the worst possible scenario that could happen and these further fuels their anxiety. If an anxious person does start talking about all the things that could go wrong, you could subtly challenge that thinking by asking them the following questions: I need help
• What’s the worst that could happen?
• How likely is it that something could happen?
• What is the best thing that could happen?
I need therapy
g) Empty reassurances never work:
Try to be realistic when helping them and do not overly rely on just reassuring them that their worries will not come to life. Instead try to emphasize their coping ability and let them know that they have the inner strength to deal with any difficulty.
Contact us today for online counselling and therapy sessions and take the first step towards improving your mental health
h) Help pick an activity:
An active body does wonders to the mind. Doing yoga, jogging or even just walking can help a person feel better about themselves and will help to slow down the hectic pace of their mind.
Whether you are looking for the best therapist or best psychologist in Dubai, or just need online help and support, our online therapy services are here for you.
i) Set limitations on yourself:
Always remember that your mental health is just as important and so, set limits on your time and space because if you are not in the right frame of mind, it can do the other person more harm than good.
Our therapists strive to provide you with the best therapy possible to help you achieve optimal mental health.
j) Sharing the right resources:
Compiling a list of reliable and credible resources on anxiety and sharing it with them can also help the other person in acquiring the right kind of information they need to deal with their anxiety.
Our cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in Dubai is one of the most effective treatments for anxiety and depression.
Above all, the best thing that you can do is to be supportive through it all. It is just as important to understand that sometimes the best thing that you can do is to encourage them to seek professional help. Our Psychologists have also prepared a guide for you on how to take care of someone with depression, which will to aim to education and prepare you to a better support to your loved one.
We also offer online counselling platform services, including online psychologist sessions and therapy for panic attacks, trauma therapy, and therapy for complex trauma.
We would always love to know your subjective experience. Have you ever had to care for someone with Anxiety and in the plethora of ways that had an effect on you and your loved one? Do let us know in the comments below. It could also help other clients navigate through this process better from first-hand experience.
Our experienced online psychologists in Dubai provide therapy for depression and anxiety, along with anxiety counselling and depression counselling.
If you have any other queries please put them down in the comments section and we will try our best to answer them and help you out.
Kaizen Wellbeing is an online therapy platform in Dubai, UAE that caters to South Asian community. There is a dearth of good therapy establishments that accommodate the mental health needs of the brown community. We aim to bridge that gap by providing you quality and affordable care by qualified and warm therapists. Reach out to us and book your first session towards understanding yourself and other’s better.
At Kaizen Therapy, we understand that seeking affordable psychotherapy and counselling can be challenging, which is why we offer online therapist services that are easily accessible to everyone.