In today’s complex world, anxiety and depression have become more commonalities than anomalies. It is possible you may have personally struggled with anxiety or depression at some point in your life, but I am almost certain somebody in your life that you care about has suffered from either or both of these issues. It can be hard to know exactly how to help a loved one through these difficult times. That is why I hope this blog can provide some simple and doable tips for how to help those you care about struggling with depression or anxiety.
Get your loved one moving – in whatever way possible! Whether that means inviting them to do a class with you at the gym, walking on the beach together, or throwing a frisbee at the park, being active will trigger the natural release of endorphins. If they are drawn to water, even better! Being in the water has the added benefit of providing a sense calm and well-being. What is key here is helping to promote a sense accountability to one another as you strive to live a healthier lifestyle.
You don’t have to have directly experienced whatever it is your loved one is going through, but what is often overlooked is how helpful it can be to normalize what they are going through. Opening up and sharing with them times when you have struggled with difficult feelings or emotions can help them feel less alone. This reassures them that they are not the only person who has struggled at certain points in their life.
In the past several years, there has been a surge in the use of meditation and mindfulness; and for good reason, it works. If your loved one is unfamiliar with meditation, introduce them to novice-friendly apps such as Headspace, which offer guided meditations ranging from 5 to 30 minutes long. As a bonus, you and your loved one may want to try doing a meditation together at the beach with the sound of the waves in the background for an added sense of peace and calm.
This is one of the keys to helping your loved one deal with anxiety. In an open and loving way, talk with your loved one and encourage them to share with you what they believe to be the root cause of their anxiety. Once you have a greater understanding about what situations trigger higher levels of anxiety, especially if they are prone to panic or anxiety attacks, you can then identify what type of support from you would help them most in these situations.
If you feel like you would like to see a professional therapist to further discuss this issue, feel free to contact me at 310-892-2572. I serve the whole South Bay area, which includes Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach.