On this week’s episode of the Real Health podcast, I'll be discussing anxiety, what it is and how we can offer support to someone who has it.
I’m joined by Counselling Psychologist and anxiety expert Dr Rachel Allan, to talk about how we can help somebody with anxiety, by becoming better listeners, supporting them when they try to make a change and how to look after our own mental health in the process.
Rachel’s new book, How to Help Someone With Anxiety, looks at just that. It's a practical guide to help you be there for a loved one, while giving you confidence to assist them in navigating their journey with anxiety.
“Really anxiety is partly a mental response but it's so much in our bodies. Anxiety has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to keep us safe - to protect us, to tune us into a threat that might be in our environment.”
Rachel says the pandemic has undoubtedly made people more anxious. “We like a sense of predictability. The pandemic has really played to our vulnerabilities in terms of anxiety. On the one hand, we’ve got the illness itself...in addition to that, we have all the stuff that’s happened around the pandemic; lockdowns, change in employment, massive changes in how we live our lives, distance from loved ones. With all that comes a sense of unpredictability.”
We also discuss how to help someone we know who has anxiety. Rachel says oftentimes, we think the best way to tackle anxiety is to remove the cause or to completely avoid certain situations. Instead, Rachel believes this can prolong the problem: “When someone close to us is suffering the most natural response is to want to make it go away. We want to make them feel better...One of the really important steps to supporting someone to live better with anxiety, is to get a little bit of an understanding of what anxiety is but also what keeps it going. And often the one thing that keeps anxiety going is the stuff we try to do to not feel anxious.”
Rachel also gives us great tips on how to be better listeners, what the right questions to ask are and how to resist the urge to fix the problem.
For more episodes, tips and advice from the show just go to: www.independent.ie/podcasts/the-real-health-podcast/
And you can get in touch - I’m @KarlHenryPT on Instagram and Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe on Apple and Google Podcasts, Spotify, or
wherever you get your podcasts from.
The Real Health podcast is in association with Laya Healthcare.