Home Anxiety 8 Seemingly Well-Meaning Comments Which Actually Hurt People Struggling With Anxiety

8 Seemingly Well-Meaning Comments Which Actually Hurt People Struggling With Anxiety

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We all feel uneasy, worried, and afraid occasionally, usually before a first date or when waiting for our medical test results. However, people who have anxiety feel this way on a daily basis.

The things that people who suffer from anxiety experience every day can’t be easily explained to those who don’t have it. Therefore, they often feel misunderstood and even judged.

It’s difficult for anxious people to explain to those who don’t struggle with this condition that anxiety is like a sneaky monster that lurks behind every feeling, every thought, every decision, and every action of theirs. It’s an everyday battle that it’s impossible for them to win alone.

If you know someone that has anxiety, know that they need your understanding and unconditional support. They need you to be patient with them when their anxiety reaches its peak and to show that they can always rely on you for your advice and help.

Yet, also know that you should be extremely careful about what you say to them. You may think that you are helping them with your well-meaning, comforting comments, but know that certain “harmless” comments can actually hurt them and be damaging to their well-being.

Following are 8 things you should never say to a person struggling with anxiety:

1. “Don’t worry, everything’s going to be okay.”

You can be sure that this is something they hear every day. However, this “wise piece of advice” doesn’t make them feel better nor does it help them understand how “everything’s going to be okay.”

So, instead of telling them this, tell them that you’re always there for them. Let them know that you’ll always be there to help, comfort, and support them. Let them know that you’ll never let them fight the battle against their condition alone.

2. “You have a lot of things to be grateful for in life.”

What you probably want to say is: “See the glass as half full,” but what a person struggling with anxiety hears is: “I’m not appreciating the people who love me and care about me and all the good things they’ve done for me.”

People who have anxiety are already struggling with low self-esteem and feeling like they aren’t good enough. So, by telling them something like this, not only do you make them feel like they’re selfish and ungrateful, you also make them feel like they are a burden to other people.

What you should tell them instead is that you appreciate and admire them for being strong-willed, tough, and brave and dealing with their problems and fears.

3. “You have no reason to be anxious.”

This phrase is most likely the harshest and most inconsiderate thing to tell an anxious person. Trust me, no one would like to be told that their negative thoughts, fears, worries, and constant stress are meaningless and irrelevant.

So,  if you really want to comfort them and make them feel better, try to understand the reasons behind their worries and fears and ask them what you can do to help them de-stress.

4. “You should.”

“You should see a therapist,” “You should do some meditation exercises,” “You shouldn’t overthink everything,” “You shouldn’t be so negative,” blah, blah blah. If you really want to help someone ease their anxious feelings and thoughts, then never use the word “should” with them.

Instead of telling them what to think, feel, or do, ask them what makes them feel peaceful and happy. Ask them what they enjoy doing and if there’s anything you can do that would help them overcome their struggle.

5. “It is not real, it is all in your head.”

Yes, you’re right – it is all in their head, but they don’t have control over it. The emotions they feel are so intense and deep that everything feels real to them.

By saying this, you make them feel like they’re trapped by their condition. So, instead of telling them this, suggest going out and doing something fun. Help them forget about their condition for a while and de-stress.

6. “You have to be more positive.”

Don’t you think they’re already trying to be positive and happy? Yes, they’re giving their best to think positively, but it’s extremely hard for them to do so. It was not their choice to have anxiety. It was not their choice to struggle with negative feelings, worries, and fears every day.

No matter how hard they try to keep their mind free of racing, anxious thoughts and feelings and focus their attention on other things, these overwhelming thoughts and feelings always find a way to inhabit their mind and soul.

Therefore, instead of saying this, ask them what you can do to help them disperse their anxious feelings and thoughts and make them feel better.

7. “There’re people out there who have more serious problems than you.”

Yes, there are. Yet, how is their condition related to or important to those who have bigger and more serious issues?

By telling them this phrase, know that you won’t help them at all – you’ll just minimize their problem and make them feel even worse than they already do.

So, instead of comparing their struggle with other people’s problems, let them know that their worries and fears are validated. Let them know that they have nothing to feel ashamed of and that it’s not their fault they suffer from this condition.

8. “You need to change your mindset.”

How can they change their mindset when their anxiety never leaves their mind and soul? How can they change their mindset when their worries, negative feelings, and fears are all they know? How can they change their mindset when their life is a constant struggle?

Remember, to a person suffering from anxiety, controlling their racing, anxious thoughts is very hard, almost impossible. And if you don’t have anything smart and beneficial to say to them, then be quiet and just be there for them.

Should you have any questions regarding this topic or one of your own interest, feel free to email me at [email protected]