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According to data released by the World Health Organisation, 38 million Indians suffer from anxiety. This means there’s a fair chance you do know someone who experiences anxiety regularly. Feeling worried about things that are happening around you is quite normal, but for someone who has severe anxiety issues, it is having to navigate life in the flight-or-fight mode. To many, it may seem like an anxious person’s fears are unreasonable, but to them, it is something that truly takes over their life.
In such a situation, it is important to understand how you can take active steps to help a loved one who’s suffering. In this regard, we spoke to renowned clinical psychologist Kamna Chhibber, Head of Mental Health with the Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare in New Delhi, to get her insights on how you can help a loved one with anxiety.
Here are the three key things Kamna recommends:
At the end of the day, we all simply want to be heard. This is even more true for people who are anxious, because they tend to overthink. According to Kamna, “People who have anxiety can get stuck in their own loop of thought. So, you have to ask them to actively share with you what’s on their mind. This will help them feel less burdened mentally. Sharing their thoughts can also help them reframe their thoughts, and remind them of your support.”
There are times when one can feel hesitant about reaching out to a mental health professional. If you feel like a loved one who is suffering from anxiety needs to reach out to an expert for effective help, encourage them to do so. Kamna says, “You can remind them to fix an appointment with a medical expert. Motivating them to do so will encourage them to get the help they need, in order to combat the situation.”
When one is struggling with anxiety, they feel so low that they start neglecting their daily routine. However, sticking to a routine can be extremely helpful in dealing with feelings of anxiety. Kamna says, “Ask them to exercise and have meals on time. They may need reminders to keep a consistent routine, but don’t lose your cool around them. In such a situation, patience from your end will be helpful.”
So, if someone close to you is dealing with anxiety issues, you can reassure them of your support.