For your friends/family, and also for you. Or, tips for dealing with your anxious friend/family member.
My worries are not irrational. Maybe the thing I am worrying about is something that is very unlikely to hurt me, but my worry itself is real.
Don’t say “don’t worry about it” or “it’s nothing to worry about”. Because if I’m worrying, it is something to worry about. And then I’m just going to start feeling anxious because you obviously aren’t listening to what I’m saying.
What works for me is taking a break, and doing things slowly. Say I’m in the grocery store and the bright lights and loud words and things shouting ‘buy me buy me’ and the music is really bad and I don’t remember what’s on my shopping list. I should say to myself, and/or my friend seeing me in distress want to help should say to me, “Yeah, you’re right. This place is kind of intense. Well there’s not a time limit to this. Let’s find the magazine section and just chill out there for a while, and maybe get our bearings.”
You DON’T say, “The grocery store is nothing to worry about. Why can’t you buy food? It’s a simple task.”
Worrying is an actual thing that won’t go away. But you ask yourself, how can this thing I need to accomplish get done, taking worrying into account? Sometimes it’s, take a break, and then we can grocery shop calmly. Because not taking a break makes this task so much harder. Going out to eat is a huge anxiety for me. Instead of ignoring the anxiety and just going out to eat and hoping it’ll go fine, I made my parents sit down with me at home before we left, so we could talk about how to deal with the things I worry about, and why I like to go out to eat. My dad wasn’t real excited about taking more time, because we needed to eat before it got too late. But, if we didn’t take the time, I would have been miserable.
There’s that thing that they talk about with meditating, and also if you’re just trying to be present. If a thought comes into your head, acknowledge it, and then let it go. You’ve got to do the acknowledging part!! Otherwise it’ll keep coming back, because it wants to be listened to.