What crisis counsellors know about anxiety
When it comes to managing stress and anxiety, there are things that you can do that help – but it doesn’t mean it’s easy. It can feel especially challenging to deal with anxiety during times of crisis, like the outbreak of Covid-19, war or the flooding crisis. Read on for the inside scoop from crisis counsellors on coping mechanisms for anxiety and how best to deal with stress – no matter the type of crisis. Here’s what they want you to know.
Find a sympathetic ear
Your feelings can be undermined by the belief that you shouldn’t feel anxious, that your feelings aren’t valid – and this can be reinforced by well-meaning family members and friends. Their intentions may be good, but that sentiment is useless during an anxious spell; you can end up feeling guilty on top of anxious. A little acknowledgment goes a long way, says Kate Mallow, manager of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline. Mallow says the phrase she uses is: “It’s okay to feel what you’re feeling.” This validates your experience and justifies what you’re going through.
Look for the active listeners in your life
We’ve all been in the conversation with the person looking over your shoulder, eyes glassed over, looking to interject his or her next opinion. If you’re gripped by anxiety, you need someone who is really listening, and can prove it by asking thoughtful questions or is able to summarise your concerns. Mallow says that crisis counsellors sometimes demonstrate active listening simply by repeating back, summarising, or asking for clarification.