Most people want to help, but not everyone knows what to say to someone with anxiety or depression. John provides helpful tips to not be a jerk.
How to Help an Anxious Person Without Being a Jerk
Most people want to help, and they mean well, but sometimes it comes out wrong. John provides helpful tips for someone who wants to help an anxious person and for the anxious person to speak up and say what would be helpful.
If you are someone who is anxious a lot, you've probably have had someone in your life say things that made you feel dumb. Things like "Try to think more positive" or "Just do it and it will be fine" or better yet, "Just snap out of it".
These comments are not helpful. In fact, they can make things worse. Here are a few tips for both the helper and the anxious person.
For the Helper:
1. Don't offer advice. If you have never had true anxiety before you really don't understand what it's like.
2. Do say that you want to understand. It's okay to ask the person what it's like to live with anxiety and how bad it currently is.
3. Don't always try to offer a solution. Calming anxiety is not a quick fix, so stay away from offering a one-size-fits-all solution.
4. Don't pressure. Do not pressure someone to feel better on your terms.
For the Anxious Person:
1. Be open with trusted people. Don't keep your anxious thoughts to yourself. Learn to open up to someone you can trust.
2. Educate those who don't understand. The only way for someone to learn about what it's like to live with anxiety is to tell them. Don't assume everyone understands.
3. Help others who have anxiety. You are a pro at living with anxiety. You know all too well what it's like, so you, more than anyone, understands what it's like. Sometimes only saying that you know what it's like can make a big difference.
John Cordray is a National Certified Therapist and the host of The Mental Health Today Show.
You can reach John on Twitter and Facebook @JohnPCordray
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