Mindfulness practices to support change for anxiety sufferers

Updated: 7 days ago

Anxiety in life can so often feel debilitating. I know this personally as I suffered from anxiety from a young age, as a child. When the feelings of anxiety begin to rise, panic can set in quickly, and we feel an overwhelming desire to run and hide away from whatever is making us feel anxious at the time.

Is this a familiar story? Even if you don't suffer from anxiety directly yourself, you are likely to know someone who does. That person may seem perfectly fine on the outside, but on the inside, they could be a complete mess. I was one of these people who successfully hid my anxiety for many years, through fear of appearing weak.

In our society anxiety still comes with so much stigma attached, causing many to choose to hide their anxiety from others, instead of seeking help early on. This only exacerbates the problem in the long term.

If you suffer from anxiety or learn that someone you care for does, there are mindfulness practices that may help to overcome or at least support a good management strategy for anxiety.

An environment where change is required is frequently a place where the potential for anxiety to rise to the surface is quite high. A well-considered approach should always be undertaken, during times of change, when dealing with anxiety in any form.


With this in mind, change can be a significant trigger for anxiety. Often a common coping mechanism for controlling this trigger is to attempt to control the environment, so that change never happens. Unfortunately, in life, this is impossible. Changes come whether we are ready or not because it is a natural part of life.

This trigger can form through a situation where a change that occurred in the past caused significant discomfort, that was never supported or worked through, leaving an imprint. Over the years, a story builds up over that one event, which is then over time, triggered again and again. This often seems exaggerated to an external onlooker, whilst being very real to the person in the middle of an anxiety episode.

Understanding what triggers can look like and where they might come from can be incredibly helpful in supporting those with anxiety, whether it be a mild episode or a chronic condition. If you make an effort to support someone in your life or workplace who suffers from anxiety, your support and consideration will be greatly appreciated and help build a bridge to potentially enrich your relationship with that person.

The power of observation

This situation might be sounding quite familiar, and it is more common, even in mild anxiety, than you may think. The biggest problem is being aware because anxiety itself, is so often hidden away from view due to the stigma and often embarrassment. This requires an astute observer to recognise when it arrives in behaviours that are essentially often not obvious.

Common behaviours are disconnection from others like withdrawal, absenteeism from work caused by a desire to avoid the whole situation or even a brash laissez-faire attitude. This can make the person appear to not care at all, whilst in reality, they could be internalising their anxiety completely. This is potentially unhealthy and a ticking time bomb that is likely to explode at any time.

Your powers of observation may serve to support someone and can be highly beneficial and uplifting in their life. It is important for us all to feel cared for and supported in life. So when you have a chance to support someone in your life that suffers from anxiety, you are performing a lovely and generous act of service. Not only in the short term, but this kind gesture could serve to uplift them in future ways you may not be aware of, not to mention showing the way for others to lift the stigma veil that covers anxiety in our society.

Supporting change

To help someone adapt to change, it is helpful to get them involved in the change as early on as possible. This allows them time to adjust in their own space and a place to talk through what the change will look like. In doing this it allows the person suffering from anxiety, time to consider hypotheticals of the situation. Then you can collectively develop a solution that is workable in advance.

It is a good idea to try to avoid last-minute changes where possible when it comes to anxiety. However, we know this isn't always possible. So a good strategy for sudden change, for anxiety sufferers, can create a supportive environment that is better for everyone concerned, in both the short and long term.

We know that when people are better supported in life, they function better and engage better generally. So by supporting a space that is anxiety friendly, you are indirectly contributing to greater joy for everyone around you. How lovely is that to think about? Considering many people who suffer from anxiety around change are people that are in your life directly whom you love.

Trusted allies to help build resilience

A trusted ally is invaluable in these situations. With trust and practice, resilience can be formed, to break the cycle of anxiety attached to a specific situation. This situation may seem to be no longer relevant to others, however, the person is still holding onto it. A lack of understanding by others in these situations only serves to exacerbate the trigger entirely.

As a trusted ally, your support could be highly valued by those who suffer from anxiety. Quite possibly, it could also assist you to cope, if you should suffer from any form of anxiety in the future. Remembering that anxiety is highly prevalent in society, and most who suffer, do so in silence.

Mindfulness awareness

When you build awareness in a solid mindful practice, you can recognise more situations in your surroundings, that both potentially trigger your anxiety and that of others. Over time, with practice, and support, this can be helpful to cut the trigger off at the pass completely.

Mindfulness practice

When a person is triggered by anxiety, relating to a sudden change. Time in a quiet place with a trusted ally to process the change can potentially be helpful and supportive.

If an anxiety attack has set it, some slow and deep breathing can help to reduce the sense of panic associated with the situation. This can have a calming effect, which in turn, allows for a better flow in the discussions that follow, in an attempt to combat the overwhelming feelings of the current situation.

Overall, many mindfulness practices can both help your anxiety, and that of others, in a variety of situations. Leading to better outcomes for everyone involved.

Would you like to know more about how mindfulness can support better practices in dealing with anxiety in both your workplace and at home?

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