Anxiety Disorder: It is Not as Simple as Telling Someone to Calm Down

Girl suffering from anxiety getting helpFor physical issues like a wound or a broken bone, the problem (as well as the solution) is clear and immediate. When it comes to mental issues like anxiety, however, it is a little more complicated. This is why telling someone to chill will not fix everything. While you may mean well, anxiety is not something that you can just turn off if you can.

Anxiety Isn’t a Choice

It is also not advisable to tell people with an anxiety disorder that what they are feeling will pass to calm them down. It is important to remember that anxiety and other mental illnesses are not a choice. The advice “You just need to calm down” invalidates their emotion and implies that they have control over their anxiety and can decide to have a disorder.

Psychologists and CBT experts in Westport, CT share the other phrases to avoid:

  • Stop worrying.
  • Just snap out of it.
  • Just get on with it.
  • It’s not a big deal.
  • Why can’t you just think differently?
  • Don’t panic yourself.

“Calm down”, and similar phrases are nothing but unhelpful, as they can only even aggravate the feelings of anxiety. They close or shut down any possible conversation and tell the person that their anxiety is making you uncomfortable. It is better to encourage them to talk about their feelings or help them find a professional and schedule an appointment.

What Can Help

It is good to know that one type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage anxiety disorders. Both the psychologist and the patient can work together to determine the causes of anxiety and develop tools and methods to handle them. This can help promote healthy and productive behaviors that can help manage the anxiety.

Instead of telling someone to chill or calm down, it is best to try asking them what you can do to alleviate what they are feeling. You can also ask the person to talk about what they are making them upset. It is advisable to listen to what is bothering them in a compassionate manner instead of expressing your concerns about their anxiety.