4 Ways to Support Someone Struggling With Anxiety


From the outside looking in, anxiety may be confusing and hard to understand. What might be especially hard is knowing how to comfort someone who is dealing with anxiety. You may feel like if you say the wrong thing, you’ll set me off and make everything worse — but please don’t let that stop you from comforting the ones you love. Any effort is truly appreciated. Even if I don’t show it in that moment, it really does mean the world to me that you’ve acknowledged I am struggling and you are trying to help. Admittedly, knowing what to say or do isn’t always easy. Here are a few ideas to keep in your back pocket if you ever need to help a loved one through their anxiety.

1. Distract me

When I’m feeling anxious, sometimes all I need is a change of subject or scenery. Just simply going on a walk produces endorphins that can help ease my anxiety. Suggest getting out of the house to get a breath of fresh air so I can refocus my thoughts. Change the subject by talking about something positive, something I can get excited about and let me slowly unwind from my anxiety.



2. Don’t say anything

Sometimes you don’t even need to say anything, just be physically present. Snuggle up beside me, give me a hug or just hold me. That physical reassurance that you are here and you love me means everything. It will help me slow down my breathing and remember everything is OK.

3. Talk about it

It’s not that I don’t want to talk about my anxiety, I just think you don’t want to hear about it. If you open up the conversation, it will help me work through my feelings. By talking through these emotions, you can help me work through my anxiety and rationalize my anxious thoughts.

4. Reassure me

When I’m panicking, I often forget the things I fear aren’t actually happening in real life. I have a tendency to get stuck inside my own head and get completely lost in my anxious thoughts. To help pull me out, just gently reassure me everything is OK and remind me the things I fear aren’t actually coming true.

The best thing you can do for your loved one is love them through anxiety. Be there however they need you and just be patient as they work through it. There’s no rule book on coping with anxiety — most of us are learning how to deal with ourselves just like you are.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via alexandralarina.


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Anxiety

girl standing against a brick wall, looking scared and depressed

3 Reasons I Was Scared to Tell People I Take Medication for Anxiety and Depression

Editor’s note: Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication. “I’m on medication for my anxiety and depression.” This is something I’ve never shared with anyone. For years, those who needed to know were sworn to secrecy and others were simply left in the dark. When I did decide I needed to tell [...]
young woman listening to music or meditation on pier at sunset looking relaxed

6 Things I Do Every Day to Lower My Anxiety

Feeling anxious is no one’s cup of tea. These are the six most important things I do each day to counteract my anxiety. 1. Slow Mornings I have an amazing, talented, beautiful friend who during our last visit told me about slow mornings. How did I not know about this? For those of us who work [...]
creative vector of fashion women portrait, fashion beauty

10 Quotes That Help Me Through My Anxiety

1. “Remember the time you thought you could never survive?  You did, and you can do it again.” I love this quote. It helps me think of all the times I conquered my anxiety, and how I can conquer it again. 2. “You are a warrior.” Something that helps me with my anxiety is by telling [...]
woman geometric

How Creating Art Helps Me Cope With Anxiety and Depression

My name is Rivka Korf and I am a female artist living in Miami with a husband and 2-year-old daughter. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember. I paint when I am anxious and it’s really therapeutic for me and a release for my emotions. My paintings are surrealistic and expressionistic by [...]