What Is To Be Kept In Mind While Talking With Someone Who Is Suffering From Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural response to some stressor or distressing situation. Anxiety can be defined as ''An unpleasant feeling of distress, fear, tension and worry which results in bodily changes and lead to body arousal which means an increase in heart beat and blood pressure etc.'' Anxiety is a very common emotion, giving public speech or meeting new people makes many of us feel fearful and anxious. Anxiety is considered as a positive emotion as well as a negative emotion because anxiety prepares our body for fight and flight. Moreover, Yerkes Dodson law states that a moderate amount of anxiety is actually necessary for good performance. But anxiety has numerous negative effects on the body and mental health; it affects well-being of the person. Rapid breathing, restlessness, difficulty in sleeping, problem in concentrating and headache, stress and fear are the common symptoms of the anxiety. Anxiety symptoms and their intensities range from person to person experiencing it.
It is normal to feel anxious about moving to some new neighbourhood or going to a new city for a job. Short term Anxiety can be cured at home by natural remedies like proper sleep, healthy diet, meditation, yoga, avoiding alcohol and smoking etc. If a person experiences extreme anxiety which lasts for more than 6months and it severely affects his/her daily life functioning then he/she is likely to have an anxiety disorder. Common types of anxiety disorder are Panic disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder and Phobia etc. Long term anxiety is a serious mental health condition and needs medical assistance, medication and psychotherapies are effective solutions to cure anxiety disorders. A person suffering from anxiety desires social and emotional support over medical attention, however sometimes we in order to help say some things which we shouldn't and we end up doing more harm than good. There is nothing wrong with showing concern and care to the friend or loved one with anxiety but sometimes we unintentionally say something which we didn't mean but it comes across as an accusatory.
Thus, here are some things not to say to a person having anxiety:-
- Just Calm down and try to Relax:
Anxiety is such a condition in which you can't simply calm down on command, it's not like a person chooses to feel anxious or can control it. Telling such statements to the person is awful. Instead, you should try to minimize the stimulus which is responsible for their anxiety and take them to somewhere where they feel safe. Ask if they need something and stand along them. Comfort the person by saying that it is okay to not to be okay and it is normal to feel what they are feeling. Having someone beside in times of distress is really what they need and can help in their betterment.
- It's all In your Mind :
Telling someone with anxiety that anxiety and stress is a stuff they are making up in their mind makes them feel even crazier because anxiety and stress not only affects our mental well-being but also brings bodily changes and affects physical health. Saying such statements to the person can further deteriorate their condition as they start blaming themselves for their condition by being self-pity and thinking they are making this all up in their mind and are themselves responsible for their misery.
- Prefer Staying indoor during anxiety :
Telling someone with anxiety to stay indoors is really inappropriate. Instead it is much better to ask them first about their opinion and take them to a place where they will feel comfortable and safe. Everybody has different relaxation techniques but generally people prefer to go outdoors to some park or a nice place where they can feel relaxed and calm. Outdoor activities like playing games or performing exercise or simply going for a walk can really facilitate in calming down the person and improve his/her condition.
- Work properly and make no mistakes ''Be A Perfectionist'' :
People with anxiety have difficulty in concentrating on tasks and try their best to work properly and sometimes they begin to overthink whether they are doing things properly and have self-doubts, telling such a person not to make mistakes and work properly is really inappropriate because it will be very stressful and frustrating for them. Moreover, no one is perfect and no one is Perfectionist. Each person makes mistakes and tries to improve. Therefore, you must encourage the person to work hard and learn from their mistakes so that they can improve and continue to move forward in life.
- You aren't trying hard to get better:
Saying this to someone who is trying to combat anxiety, can be very frustrating and damaging. Trust me a person with anxiety tries their best to get better and improve as no one wants to live a life with constant misery and fear. Saying such statements and disregarding their efforts can do some serious emotional damage to the person and may shatter their hope of betterment.
- Have you tried yoga and meditation?
It is true yoga and meditation can help some people to calm down and improve their well-being, however it is important for us to understand that this method works for some people only. Different people have different relaxation techniques. So, instead of offering people unsolicited advice, ask them what they need? What can you do to help them? Offering assistance to an anxious person makes them feel loved and they no longer feel alone.
Severe stress and anxiety deteriorates a person's mental and physical well-being. So, it is very important that one must take and ask for help whenever needed without hesitation. Anxiety symptoms vary from person to person and similarly different people have different relaxation techniques that work for them. Therefore, you should ask the person with anxiety what techniques work for them and make adjustments to fulfil their demand. Even if you can’t take your friend’s anxiety away, showing support can help them feel more comfortable and take away some of the stigma that compels them to hide which is a pretty amazing thing to do for someone you care about.
Smile, breathe, and go slowly.
— Thich Nhat Hanh