6 Things That Help When Anxiety Makes Me Overwhelmed


I know a list like this is going to be different for just about every person who makes one. But that doesn’t mean what works for me won’t resonate with anyone else. In fact, I have connected with so many bits and pieces of posts from other people that I was inspired enough to want to write my own. So whether one person connects with one thing I wrote or no one does, it’s out there working to help break the stigma around anxiety and every other mental illness.

Here’s my list of things that help me when I get overwhelmed:

1. Reassurance.

I doubt myself. The simple act of someone telling me it’s going to be OK goes a long way. Also, sometimes it’s my physical health that’s scaring me and again and hearing it’ll be OK makes a big difference.

2. Being held.

My greatest love language is physical touch. In other words, I love hugs. And sometimes I just need someone to wrap their arms around me and not let go until I pull away. It makes me feel safe and calms my mind down. Also, science has proven it helps, so … science. Yep.

3. Understanding and patience.

Sometimes all I need is to know you’re in this for the long haul and aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I know my fears are irrational and what feels like a crisis to me may seem trivial to you, but please understand I’m not in control of my mind and I care so deeply about you, even if I can’t show it.

4. Honesty.

Tell me the truth. If I am being unreasonable, expecting too much, not seeing the whole picture or not getting social cues, just tell me. It makes things worse when I know you’re lying to protect my feelings.

5. Presence.

Most times I do want to talk, but not always. Sometimes I don’t need or want to talk, but if you just put on some music or a movie and sit with me, the act of you simply being there is helping.

6. Questions.

If you don’t know how to help, ask me! I want you to speak up and feel comfortable enough to ask me anything. I’m very gentle and I promise I wont bite. In some cases, this is the best thing you can do. Just be prepared for me to say I don’t know, because I might not have an answer for you and that’s OK!

Anxiety looks different for everyone who has it. When my mind gets racing, I often wish my friends or loved ones just know what I need or how to help. And although I never expect that, this was the list I put together for myself to have when someone asks me “What can I do to help?” Before I wrote this, I never knew what to say. It’s not perfect by any means and it’s not a solution or cure, but my hope is that this resonates with someone in one way or another.

Peace, love and blessings.

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Thinkstock photo via kotoffei.

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