Find a sympathetic ear
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. 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.
Look for the active listeners in your life
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. Mallow says that crisis counselors sometimes demonstrate active listening simply by repeating back is being expressed. Find out 14 things only people with anxiety understand.