Managing anxiety

How To Help a Friend With Anxiety

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 25, 2017
How To Help a Friend With Anxiety

We have all, at some time in life, suffered from anxiety - this feeling is caused by our nervous system and the body uses it to warn us that something is amiss and help us prepare to react. Therefore, when we are afraid to walk down a dark street or are nervous before an important presentation, we feel anxious.

However, when the brain is constantly on alert without reason, the person in question suffers from anxiety or has generalised anxiety disorder. Usually, both conditions must be treated by a specialist; however, people with anxiety need help from those around them. It is hard to know how to act around a person with anxiety. You want to help but are not sure whether if your acts are going to help that person or not. If you want to know how to help a person with anxiety, read this OneHowTo article carefully to find all out all you need to know.

You may also be interested in: How to Treat Anxiety with Ear Acupuncture

Steps to follow:


People with anxiety often feel overwhelmed by their symptoms and may even experience anxiety about having it, which sometimes leads them to fall into despair and panic. Thus, to help a person with anxiety, the first thing you should do is to understand that anxiety is involuntary, is very difficult to control and the appearance of this condition rarely depends on the person.

It is important to read and learn more about anxiety, how it works and the different types there are. If you're informed about the particular type of anxiety your friend is suffering, you'll be more able to help him or her get over it.

To better understand symptoms of anxiety , remember that it is a mechanical reaction in the brain which may have been triggered by a crisis. Providing support and letting the person know that everything will be OK is a must. People with anxiety feel misunderstood and often embarrassed, which is why it is so important to be there for them and let them know you understand how they feel.

How To Help a Friend With Anxiety - Step 1

You must motivate them; try to prevent the anxiety from taking over and causing their mood to plummet. Let them know that, no matter what the situation, it is not the end of the world. Look for a list of famous personalities who have suffered from anxiety and who now lead a life normally. Encouraging them to think positively is also important. Let them know that there are worse situations to be in and bring them down to earth.

At first they might be unwilling to speak with you. Offer them your help continuously, without being too intrusive. Tell them you want to help them because you care.


There is a question that can help a person with anxiety: 'Is your fear justified?. Most of the time the answer is no, because fear is not justified but created by the brain that constantly sends alert messages. Understanding that everything is in the mind and that these symptoms are simply a bad move by the body is necessary to lower levels of distress and to think reasonably.

To make them understand their fear is not justified, show them a different perspective. You need to let them know there are different alternatives and that you don't agree with what they're saying. You need to be careful, though. What you want to do is reassure them, not dismissing their worries. They don't want to feel stupid, as if they were worrying for stupid things.

How To Help a Friend With Anxiety - Step 3

Another way to help is to teach them to breathe properly. Inhaling through the nose and slowly exhaling through the mouth causes the brain to automatically slow down the amygdala which causes anxiety. This then causes anxiety to subside and return a sense of calm. For this to work, they'll need to breath with the diaphragm for over 15 minutes.

How To Help a Friend With Anxiety - Step 4

Meditation is an excellent way to foster calm, reduce stress and calm nerves. Ideally, the anxious individual should engage in meditation on a daily basis for 20 minutes. This does not mean one has to go to a temple or sit cross-legged and repeat mantras: just sitting in a comfortable position. One should start breathing slowly through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, concentrating as much as possible on the rhythm of the airflow and forcing all thoughts from your mind. It works! Discover the benefits of meditation for health in this article.


You can also help a person with anxiety by motivating them to exercise. Exercise has the power to dispel anxiety symptoms in an almost magical way, to the point that, after 30 minutes of training, anxiety disappears for the rest of the day. The effect of exercise on the production of serotonin (wellbeing hormone) allows the person to stay in good spirits for longer and to decrease the brain alert levels.

How To Help a Friend With Anxiety - Step 6

If you want to help a person with anxiety during a crisis, the first thing to do is to tell them to begin breathing in slowly through their nose and exhaling through the mouth. They should do this in the fresh air, with a glass of water. Sit nest to them until their panicked breathing subsides along with their alertness, nervousness and hyperactivity. If the person is medicated, ask when they last took their pills and, if necessary, give them the medicine prescribed by their doctor.

We recommend reading the following articles on anxiety:

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Help a Friend With Anxiety, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.


  • Celebrate with them whenever they take a step forward on their anxiety. Whenever they overcome any problem go and make something fun with them.
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How To Help a Friend With Anxiety