Anxiety has become a very common word in today's society.
The chances are most people have experienced anxiety at least once in their life. Anxiety can be described as similar to that feeling of nerves before a job interview or important meeting; a fear of the unknown and it is a very normal emotion to feel.
Recent studies have found that there are a lot of cases now where people are suffering with the stress of anxiety in day to day life. According to Champion Health, approximately 8 million people in the UK suffer with anxiety. Anxiety can disrupt everyday routines and even the thought of a trip to the supermarket can spark a panic attack. Some anxiety attacks can resemble a heart attack in extreme cases.
In some instances, someone might not appear to be suffering but inside their mind goes into the fight or flight mode of survival. Their heart is rapidly beating, their breathing might have quickened and their mind cannot focus on a single thought. It can be extremely overwhelming living with anxiety and an attack can be triggered at any time.
If you want to reach out to someone with anxiety, here some ideas of what you say in a card:
- Next time you head out let me know and I will come with you (or Facetime/ phone you if they live far away). - Offer a helping hand in tasks they find daunting.
- Your anxiety doesn't define you, but I totally understand it is a part of you (for now). I will always be patient with you and listen whenever you're feeling anxious, please just let me know and we will get through it together. - Remind them they are so much more than a person suffering with mental health and it's ok and you will be there for them.
- Your fears, worries and triggers are valid. If you experience an anxiety attack remember the 3,3,3 rule: name 3 things you see, 3 things you can hear and move three body parts arm, foot, thumb for example. - Something practical in a card might be really useful advice for when they are having an anxiety attack.
- You are loved, if I'm ever not around and you need help just remember to take deep breathes and go to that place/ watch that show/ listen to that music that calms you. - Many people who have anxiety triggers also have those things in life that calm them, for some it's relaxing and watching a familiar tv show such as 'Friends', listening to their favourite music or going for a walk/ run to a location they feel at ease.
- Give them compliments and lots of positive reenforcement. If they've done something well let them know, you'll see their confidence grow!
- Let them know you're always there for them and enclose a photo of someone or a pet you know they will love, this will help them feel relaxed.
- Make a list of things the person is good at. Maybe they're a great cook, are really thoughtful, have great fashion sense or are really funny. Recall a great memory you have of them.
You can find further advice on mental health from professional bodies such as Mind Cornwall.
Disclaimer: Please note this blog is just a guideline for ideas and not written by a doctor if you know someone who needs urgent assistance please contact a medical professional.