Find a sympathetic ear
Uber Images/Shutterstock Your feelings can be undermined by the belief that you shouldn’t feel anxious, that your feelings aren’t valid—and this can be reinforced by well-meaning family members and friends. Their intentions may be good, but that sentiment is useless during an anxious spell; you can end up feeling guilty on top of anxious. (You can train yourself and others to be a better listener with this advice.) A little acknowledgment goes a long way, says Kate Mallow, manager of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline. Mallow says the phrase she uses is: “It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.” This validates your experience and justifies what you’re going through. Choose someone in your life you can trust, or try uttering affirmations to yourself—it really works.
Look for the active listeners in your life
Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock We’ve all been in the conversation with the person looking over your shoulder, eyes glassed over, looking to interject his or her next opinion. If you’re gripped by anxiety, you need someone who is really listening, and can prove it by asking thoughtful questions or is able to summarize your concerns. (Here are nine things all good listeners do during daily conversations.) Mallow says that crisis counselors sometimes demonstrate active listening simply by repeating back is being expressed.