In a world that moves at great speed and where stress is common, anxiety is now a worldwide problem troubling millions of people. Thus, supporting individuals with empathetic words is important.
For some it starts as an ordinary response to stress or perceived threats, but for others it grows into a chronic overpowering state that greatly affects their lives.
Anxiety is defined by Dr. Parth Nagda, who is a well known psychiatrist, as feeling continuously worried, fearful or uneasy and it has both psychological and somatic manifestations.
This problem begins as an anxiety for future events like restlessness, fast heart beat and strained muscles which are disorientations in most cases.
Anxiety can take many forms; its symptoms range from increased heart rate, muscle tension, sweating and trembling to sleep deprivation, irritability, racing thoughts or a difficulty concentrating. These signs can disrupt an individual’s normal functioning considerably.
Differentiating between mere nervousness or jitters and anxiety is important. Jitters refer to short-term mild nervousness experienced before events like public speaking or starting a new job.
They do not last long and are often seen as normal reactions. Anxiety on the other hand encompasses a wider spectrum of mental health conditions characterized by excessive prolonged worry fear or apprehension.
Dr. Nagda reminds us that this goes beyond just being momentarily nervous because these anxieties actually affect our everyday existence.
The right words and expressions are crucial when dealing with someone going through anxiety.
Navigating Conversations: What to Avoid Saying
When you tell them they need to relax it means you do not understand their situation because this minimizes their problem.
“It’s all in your head”
By referring to anxiety as something made up or not important, you are discounting their emotions and thoughts that can make them feel worse.
“Snap out of it”
Anxiety is not a choice and by saying this it shows that one has no clue about the complexity of anxiety.
“What do you have to be anxious about?”
This might increase their suffering and also make them feel like they are not taken seriously.
“You are being too sensitive”
Brushing off their emotions as hypersensitivity may prompt them to think that they are being ignored or condemned.
“I know how you feel”
While intending empathy, assuming an understanding of their unique experience can seem dismissive.
“Why don’t you just face your fears?”
Suggesting such a simple solution without empathy and understanding for facing fears, which is part of anxiety treatment process, is inappropriate.
Providing ways to overcome it, such as exposure therapy, does not capture the essence of suffering from the disease.
If you oversimplify a person’s struggle with anxiety, it will add pressure and hinder them from managing their emotions effectively.
“You are overreacting”
By labeling your emotional response as an overreaction might escalate your feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
“It’s all in God’s hands”
However comforting faith may be implying that anxiety is solely tied up with faith underestimates the complexity of mental health issues.
Helping Through the Use of Empathetic Words
“I’m here for you.”
This statement gives assurance that you will be available whenever they need someone to listen or talk to thereby creating a safe environment for them to express themselves.
“I’m really sorry about what you’re experiencing. How can I help?”
The phrase, ‘expressing willingness to assist shows care and support” demonstrates that he is caring.
“What do you need at this moment?”
They can be allowed to express their needs or preferences if one asks such a question.
“Well, I might not fully understand, but I would love to hear about your feelings.”
This is a perfect example of being empathetic by showing the person how much we want to know and understand them well.
“You are free; there’s no hurry”
Respecting and acknowledging their coping pace contributes significantly to their comfort and progress.
Some general words of advice on dealing with anxiety are that everybody’s experience with it is different and so it is important to avoid judging them.
To help someone with anxiety, listen carefully, be patient, and provide a constant source of support.
By understanding what to say and what not to say, individuals can greatly contribute towards creating an environment where those struggling with anxiety feel supported.
In conclusion, when navigating conversations and interactions with persons experiencing anxiety, one must be sensitive enough, empathic enough while having a non-judgmental attitude towards such people.
Therefore, offering support and understanding minus dismissive or invalidating language are very crucial in helping them go through the process of managing as well as coping effectively with anxiety.