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How to Support a Friend or Loved One When Their Anxiety and Stress is Triggered

Dealing with anxiety and stress is natural. Everyone, at some point or another, experiences the effects of stress and they may even experience stressful moments plenty of times throughout their lives. Some people deal with higher levels of anxiety than others which is why it is so important to openly speak about these situations with someone you trust, such as a friend or a loved one. Counterbalancing the symptoms of stress and anxiety is proven to work, especially when you have moral support from someone who wants to help you. If you want to stay prepared when it comes to helping your loved one get through stressful times, we’ve outlined some tips that are guaranteed to help. It may be difficult to physically be there for your friends and loved ones when anxiety takes hold, but you can use your phone or computer to text or video chat with friends. You can easily use the following tips in person or over the phone. What matters most is to simply be there for your friends and loved ones.

Bring Them Back to the Physical World 

Thinking your way out of stress or anxious moments is not as easy as it sounds. Anxiety and stress accumulate when an individual feels that there is no way out of the overwhelming feelings they are experiencing. By helping your loved one or friend reconnect to the physical, it helps them to know that they are okay and there is nothing to worry about. You can help them by having them close their eyes and notice what they are feeling in their bodies or have them touch surfaces or the ground with their bare feet and hands.

Practice Some Breathing Exercises with Them 

If you’re not breathing properly, it can be harder to manage high levels of anxiety and stress. The more oxygen that your brain receives, the calmer you become. You can feel alleviation immediately within the muscles, releasing tension induced by anxiety and stress. If your loved one begins to lose touch with their breathing, grab their hands, and have them mimic your breathing. Deep breaths and long exhales are the key. 

Help Them Identify Their Triggers 

Anxiety and stress can continue for long periods of time if an individual cannot find the root of their triggers. By having a second pair of eyes, it can be helpful for your loved one to spot what is causing their stress. Observe your loved one. Notice the places and settings where they feel the most comfortable and where they feel the most anxious. This can help point out triggers that they may not be able to catch right away. 

Give Them Your Full Attention

In order to completely understand what causes stress and anxiety, you have to give your loved one your undivided attention. Simply just providing your presence and your attention can make a huge difference for someone who is dealing with anxiety and stress. Having this support system is proven to help individuals, especially when it comes from someone they are close to. Talking about situations in a comfortable and open manner helps to find solutions. 

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 you’ve been using phrases such as these, it’s time to break that habit. You can tell your loved one that they’re 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. 

Help Them Speak to Their Inner Selves 

A little soul searching can go a long way. By connecting with their inner selves, they can help reassure the part of themselves that feels overwhelmed and scared right now. Being triggered is natural, but it is important for an individual to know that there is a way to alleviate themselves of these negative sensations if and when they happen. 

Emphasize the Silver Lining in Everything 

It’s natural for human beings to look more towards the negative than the positive. This is what causes us to stay stuck in modes of anxiety and stress. When you help your loved one look at more of the positives and the negatives, they begin to shift their way of thinking which can ultimately alleviate their stress. You can help your loved one practice this exercise by having them list everything they are grateful for and what motivates them to get through the rough patches in life. 

Latinx Talk Therapy: We Want to Make a Difference 

The professionals at Latinx Talk Therapy are dedicated to helping you work around your stress and anxiety to ultimately overcome these hardships. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you manifest a positive change in your life!

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