While anxiety has the biggest effect on the person experiencing it, it’s important to understand the impact it has on their loved ones. That’s because it not only affects a person’s daily functioning but their close relationships as well. Over 8 million people in the UK experience an anxiety disorder, creating the need for awareness on how people can support partners with anxiety. With the right nurturing and support, partners can ensure a healthy, fulfilling, and stable relationship. Here’s how you can support your partner if they suffer from anxiety. If you are already at the point of needing help, you can contact a specialist anxiety therapist here with us at Evolve.
Ask About How They Experience Anxiety
These days, it’s easy to do your research on just about anything. However, mental health is more complicated than looking up recipes or DIY projects. That’s because there can be variations in inexperience based on individual differences. That’s why it’s important to begin the conversation by asking your partner about how they experience anxiety. Particularly, you want to know what they experience anxiety about and how it affects their life. Knowing these aspects of their experience can help you be more mindful and provide support accordingly.
Knowing the Telltale Signs of Anxiety
While anxiety is characterised by persistent and excessive worry, emotions can manifest in different ways.
Some of the physical symptoms include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Upset stomach
If your partner is dealing with social anxiety, they may feel self-conscious in situations that require interacting with many people. This can prevent them from asking for help when they need, it and avoid social situations like employee dinners. With time, concerns about criticism and judgment have physical effects on their health, and they may look for excuses to stay at home.
Try Helpful Coping Strategies
together when trying to help your partner manage anxiety, mental health professionals recommend activities that act as a distraction or ground them in their surroundings. This can include listening to music together, going out for a walk, or cuddling your pets. Another suggestion is to learn co-regulation exercises that you can practice together with your partner. For instance, laying down, deep breathing, or holding hands. These are effective ways to bring them back to the present.
Being Patient with Them – & Support Partner With Anxiety
Often, people may feel frustrated with their partners due to their anxious tendencies and thoughts. Telling people with anxiety to stop worrying about something will not work, because most cases, they already have the insight to understand that their fear is irrational. Instead, it’s best to be patient. Recognising when your partner may be acting out of anxiety can help you decode feelings and behaviors without taking things personally.
Communicate With Them
Open communication is an essential part of fulfilling relationships, and this also applies when one suffers from anxiety. On the other hand, assumptions can negatively affect trust between partners. Psychotherapists recommend asking them how you can support partner with Anxiety. Do they want your advice on how they can cope with certain situations? Or do they just want someone to listen to them?
Set Some Boundaries & Support Partners with Anxiety
While supporting your partner in helping them deal with anxiety should be a major priority, you still have to set some boundaries. These will set limits on what you can and can’t do for them, which is part of looking after your emotional and physical needs in a relationship.
Some examples of boundaries include:
- If they don’t feel like going out, you can agree to only watch a movie and have dinner at home instead of watching a movie and eating out.
- When you can talk to them on the phone if they’re having a hard time, and when you can visit them.
Understand Your Own Needs
Besides looking after your partner’s needs, you must do the same for your own. First, this involves acknowledging that your relationship can be stressful at times. Then, you should identify which of your needs you sacrifice in trying to accommodate your partner. This helps build insight so that you know when you need a break. In the long run, this self-awareness reduces feelings of resentment, which is pivotal in being a compassionate partner. Often people come to anxiety therapy with us as the partner, supporting someone so they can be more supportive and see how it is affecting them.
Be a Supportive Part of Their Treatment Journey
If your partner’s anxiety is preventing them from being productive and leading a fulfilled life, you should encourage them to seek treatment. You can make some recommendations, but it’s important that they take the first step, which involves making the call and setting an appointment.