Anxiety is surrounded by stigma because it is often misunderstood. While everyone experiences anxious feelings and thoughts occasionally, those with anxiety disorders are tormented by anxious thoughts that others cannot understand. Even with the best intentions, friends and family of individuals with anxiety may say something hurtful to the person, causing worsening anxiety and disintegration of the relationship. By learning what not to say to someone with anxiety, you can avoid these common mistakes and be more supportive of those you care about.
“Just Calm Down.”
The classic just calm down phrase is told to those with anxiety because the person typically doesn’t know what else to say. They may believe the person is overreacting or making a mountain out of a molehill, but anxiety causes this to happen. Telling someone with anxiety to calm down is pointless, and there are more supportive words to help them through their anxious feelings.
“Live in the Present.”
Those with anxiety would love to stop worrying about the past and future, so it can be disheartening to hear others say, “just live in the present.” No matter how hard they try, those with anxiety disorders are plagued by past and future worries. Telling them to live in the present when they have no control over their thoughts can make things worse.
“You’re Killing the Vibe.”
Mainly said by the younger generation, this phrase stems from a discomfort surrounding anxious feelings. Those with anxiety know that it is inconvenient and would love to silence their thoughts, but they do not have the amount of control over them that you may believe. They probably already feel bad because of their anxiety, and having friends tell them that they’re ruining the atmosphere can add insult to injury. Instead, saying supportive words can improve the situation.
Individuals that struggle with anxiety disorders need proper support from those close to them to live happy, healthy lives. However, the stigma surrounding anxiety can cause misunderstandings and harmful words to be said. Knowing what phrases to avoid can help you navigate supporting a friend with anxiety as you work to give them the support they need. At Alta Loma Transformational Services, we have seen how debilitating anxiety can be. We offer services for those struggling and their loved ones to learn and implement techniques to facilitate healing. Call us today to learn more at (866) 457-3843.