What to say to someone having an anxiety attack?

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This article will discuss what you can say to someone having an anxiety attack to make them feel better. It will also explain what an anxiety attack is, how it can happen, and what it can feel like for the person going through it.

What to say to someone having an anxiety attack?

Having an anxiety attack can be a brutal experience. People can feel crushed, and some even feel like they are dying. That is why you should be careful about what you say to them. So here are some things you can say to someone having an anxiety attack.

Validate their feelings

The person that has an anxiety attack can be extremely ashamed of the way they are feeling and acting. So letting them know that you are not judging them, and even though this may not make sense to you, you can imagine how difficult this moment is to them, will help them open up about their feelings, and how anxiety has been affecting them.

Ask what you can do to help 

When someone is going through an anxiety attack they may need some help grounding themselves. This works differently for each person. Some people may feel that being embraced will help, while others can feel that encouraging them to stretch is what will help them feel better.

So if someone close to you is having an anxiety attack, the first thing you should do is remain calm, and then you can ask them what form of grounding works for them, so you can keep helping them in the best way possible, and not just saying or doing things that can ultimately make them even more anxious.

Let them know they are not alone and that they are safe

Knowing that you are not alone when you feel like the world is crumbling around you can be one of the most reassuring feelings. Let them know you are there, by their side in whatever they need. And that even though they are in pain at the moment, they are in a safe space.

Let them know that in this space they can manifest all their emotions, and act in a way that will give them some sense of comfort, control, and relief. Feeling like you won’t be ganged up on once the anxiety attack is over is something that will surely take a load off of their shoulders.

When a person is having an anxiety attack, they can commonly fear what people’s reaction will be when it is over, and this can make it all even worse.

Ask them if they want some help taking their mind off of it 

Depending on the intensity of the anxiety attack, the person can feel like they can focus on other things. And that can be a helpful strategy to them for moving past the anxiety attack.

Try to understand what form of an anxiety attack the person close to you is having. If it is one they just need to try and calm themselves down, or if it is one in which they feel like a distraction will help. Offer them that possibility, and ask them what are the things that can be a good distraction at the moment.

It can be that they have, for example, a good comforting show that they can watch as they are having an anxiety attack, but will feel like it slowly soothes them. If that is the case, sitting by their side while watching the show will show your support to them.

Remind them that this won’t go on forever

When a person is going through an anxiety attack, they can lose track of everything. Five minutes of going through the anxiety attack can feel like hours. The suffering is so intense, that it can lead the person to feel desperate, and their life will always be like this.

So if you are close to someone having an anxiety attack, make sure to be supportive, stick by their side, and tell them, in a caring manner, that this won’t go on forever. Help them remember that they have been through this before, and have already found a way out. 

So, even though they are in soul-crushing pain right now, keeping in mind that this is momentary may make it a little easier for them. But be careful to not sound like you are invalidating how they feel as if an anxiety attack was a common occurrence.

What is an anxiety attack? 

An anxiety attack, which can also be called a panic attack, is a sudden reaction a person can have to something that triggered them. In an anxiety attack, the person will feel a sense of overwhelming fear, or dread. 

An anxiety attack can lead the person to have shortness of breath, start to shake, and feel dizzy. It can also make the person feel nausea like they have lost control, and faint, along with stomach cramps. It will also give the person heart palpitation, and some people may feel it so intense that they can feel like they are about to die.

Although sometimes they can last only a few minutes, there are some moments in which the person’s anxiety attack can go on for hours. And one attack can connect to the other putting them in prolonged suffering.

How does an anxiety attack make the person feel? 

When a person is having an anxiety attack, it will often come out of the blue. They may be anxious and struggle with a type of anxiety disorder. But at some moment something will trigger them, and they can begin to experience the symptoms of the anxiety attack.

People that suffer from them may often have trouble asking for help since they can be embarrassed, or feel like they are overreacting to something. That is why being supportive when they are having an anxiety attack is so important.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What to say to someone having an anxiety attack? 

How can I calm down?

If you are feeling anxious, and you need a way to calm yourself down, know that the first thing you need to do is breathe. Having deep breaths will ultimately give you a chance to focus more on your breathing, and your body than on what is making you anxious.

Another way to quickly calm yourself is by naming your feelings. Talking about your emotions, and giving them a name is a powerful tool for you to make yourself less anxious. When you say the name of your emotions, they will become more bearable, and you will feel like dealing with them is easier.

Exercising, especially running, can be a great way for you to cope with anxiety. Sometimes even a 5 minute run around the block will go a long way. That is because if you are anxious, and you go for a run, you may trick your mind into thinking you are doing something to deal with the situation it fears.

Distracting yourself can also be a powerful way to calm yourself. You can focus on other things, or go watch a tv show to take your mind off of it. Being exposed to things that will make you laugh is also a good way for you to distract your thoughts and feel good.

And finally, you can take a cold shower. This will cause your body to think it is swimming, and it may immediately cause your heart rate to go down, and you to feel calmer. 

How to help a friend having a panic attack while on the phone?

If you are not close to them, and your friend is having a panic attack as you are on the phone with them, the first thing you can do is accept the silence. Sometimes the person just needs you to be there, and it is okay to not say a word.

Helping them breathe is also a good thing to do. You can start to breathe deeply and encourage them to do the same. Let them know you are there, and that you are not hanging up. Be encouraging and let them know how much you care for them.

When you are telling them something, say their name. This will often make them feel heard and validated in what they are saying. Breaking the ice with a joke can help sometimes, but be sure to not sound uncaring. 

How can I support my partner that has anxiety?

If you have a partner that has anxiety, there are some ways you can support them. The first thing is to never try to fix them. Know you are not their therapist, but you can be supportive and understanding. Don’t pressure them into getting better.

Don’t try to explain, in a rational manner, why they shouldn’t be anxious. Anxiety is not rational, and by doing that you can embarrass them, and make them feel invalidated. You should always be honest with them. Let them know what to expect from you, not knowing what will happen will often make them more anxious.

This will make them feel safe, which is extremely important for people dealing with anxiety. Another way to do that is by telling them that you are not going anywhere. 

You should also be able to live your life so you don’t put too much pressure on your partner and their anxiety. And always ask them how you can help because it can be different from one person to the next.

What can trigger anxiety attacks?

There can be personal reasons why people get triggered and have an anxiety attack. But it can also happen when the person is going through a long stressful period, or if they are going through a traumatic experience.

When a person has too much caffeine, it can also make it easier to have an anxiety attack. If they are going through an illness, or are in a new environment it can also be easier to get an anxiety attack.

What is the 3 3 3 rule in anxiety?

The 3 3 3 rules of anxiety can help the person center themselves. When you feel anxious, you can try to name three things you see, then 3 things you hear, and finally, 3 body parts. That will help you focus on something else rather than your anxiety, and calm you down.

Conclusion 

This article showed what are things you can say to someone that is going through an anxiety attack. It also explained what an anxiety attack is, and how a person can feel when going through one.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write them in the section below.

References

https://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/features/what-to-say-to-someone-whos-experiencing-anxiety
https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-help-someone-having-a-panic-attack
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/how-to-help-someone-who-is-having-a-panic-attack

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