6 Things To Never Say To Someone Dealing With Anxiety

February 8, 2018

“When It Comes To Dealing With Anxiety, What Not To Say Is Just As Important As What To Say.”

Truth is, many of us have friends, family, acquaintances or colleagues with an anxiety disorder. Also, a lot of us tend to say stuff despite our best intentions, that can be detrimental to the emotional and mental health of someone dealing with anxiety. Below is an official list of what not to say to someone with an anxiety disorder:

1. Get over it!

Anxiety is a mental/emotional condition and it is simply not medically possible for sufferers to ‘get over it.’ Like other mental ailments, anxiety can be both subjective and personal. Similarly, our reaction towards people with anxiety can also be personal and subjective. However, our reaction should not be flippant or dismissive, which is what ‘get over it’ conveys.

2. You need to just calm down and relax!

It’s easy for the unsensitized person to give all kinds of solutions to someone dealing with anxiety, and telling them different ways to relax is one of them. However, it’s vital to note that one of the primary aspects of an anxiety disorder is the inability to relax.

Thus, asking an anxiety sufferer to just calm down and relax is like asking a person with the flu to stop coughing!

3. Have a drink!

Many people currently dealing with anxiety also tend to have substance dependency or substance abuse issues. Many more may also be in some kind of program to help them recover from the addiction. Hence, offering a drink or other mood altering products can be not just plain insensitive, but also really harmful.

dealing with anxiety4. Do not overanalyze or think too much!

Over-thinking and over-analysis of even the smallest things is another aspect of anxiety disorder. It is what causes anxiety sufferers to be in a constant state of alertness, leading to increased worrying about future events.

The vicious cycle of racing thoughts, worrying about what may go wrong, and spike in anxious behaviors is almost a never ending one. Telling anxiety sufferers to stop overanalyzing will only result in them worrying about one more thing, i.e. that they are over-thinking.

5. I’m also SO stressed!

Most of us don’t understand that anxiety and stress are not the same thing and we tend to used them interchangeably. Anxiety is defined as an unconscious reaction to some kind of threat (most of the time) and it is marked by physical symptoms like higher blood pressure, increased heart rate, mood swings, and flushed face.

Stress is temporary and symptoms soon fade away. However, dealing with anxiety is an emotional and mental condition that needs treatment in the forms of CBT and NLP for the symptoms to get better. Telling an anxiety sufferer that you are stressed as well not just trivializes a sufferer’s feelings, but also seems dismissive of the sufferer’s mental state.

6. Other people have it worse-off!

Telling an anxiety sufferer that many other people have it worse-off is another way we tend to trivialize the problems being endured by them. This statement however also adds a bit of guilt, thereby making the anxiety sufferer feel ashamed.

It’s important to note that anxiety sufferers are as much aware of the problems in the world as you, and that their anxiety has nothing to do with lack of knowledge about varied global sufferings. So make sure to take these 6 suggestions on what not to say to a person with anxiety disorder to heart, it just may be what they need.

Are There Any More You Can Think Of? Comment Below On Your Worst Pieces Of Advice For Someone Dealing With Anxiety.

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11 comments on “6 Things To Never Say To Someone Dealing With Anxiety

  1. Patty Feb 11, 2018

    Hello Dennis,
    I would be interested in learning more about how and if an intervention would be helpful for my son. For the past 3 years, his obsession of having a serious dease has escalated to him being sure he has MS. He has been to several MS doctors in state as well has out of state. They all keep telling him it is unlikely he has any type of MS. He has had test over and over again. My son is a great guy with a lot to offer and as a mother, it is heart breaking to see this behavior. I also suffer from GAD. My son has always been somewhat of a hypochondriac and has gone through similar short phases of believing he had a brain tumor but nothing that has lasted this long 3 years that he is convinced he has MS. His sister and I have been to several of his doctor appointment and they have recommend counseling but he refuses to believe that he does not have MS. We can’t get him to go to a counselor. His sister is going with him to another doctor out of state, in New York to get yet more test and opinion. All of the money he is spending on these test and doctor visits are going to leave him broke, if he doesn’t get help. His sister and I don’t know what else we can do for him. I thought maybe an intervention with a Anxiety specialist as your self maybe worth a try. Then I heard you on Facebook live. Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in helping us with and how much it would cost. I just want him to be happy and to have a better life. Any advice or help you can give is greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Patty. An intervention through someone knowledgable and can create good rapport can definitely begin turning the tables for even the most sensitized person. I’ll be adding this section own my website soon, to be able to travel for talks and interventions and if you’re interested contact me through the contact page here and we can see what we can do. Much love.

  2. Anxiety can happen to anybody for small to big reasons. Thanks for sharing this article with us. It’s really helpful to deal with the anxiety problem.

  3. EmmiJade Jan 20, 2019

    Oh, man, “other people have it worse” is the most harmful thing. Not only does it invalidate anxiety as an actual medical condition, and not just something in your head, but it also gives the person with anxiety something else to worry about.

  4. Laurence Blais Jul 25, 2020

    SO very true. People who are not dealing with anxiety just don’t get it. It’s not their fault, but they don’t get it at all and it can be very frustrating. Our fears may be irrational, but they are still there.

  5. Kerry Jul 25, 2020

    Never say:
    “What’s your problem?”
    “Now what’s wrong with you?”
    “You’re so drama!”

  6. “Cheer up” can be like a red rag to a bull.