“Stop sweating the small stuff”
And therein lies the rub: To a person with an anxiety disorder, there is no small stuff. Instead of offering cliches, Axtell encourages acceptance: Let an anxious person know that you understand that they are feeling anxious, that it’s okay, and that it will eventually pass.
“A lot of people have it worse”
The motivation behind this saying is often to try to bring perspective to the conversation. “It’s healthy for us to count our blessings. But to disregard one person’s issue because others have bigger issues, comparatively, is not healthy,” says Hafeez. Their problems do count, and this will only make them more self-conscious about their problems, she says. And, probably less likely to attempt to open up to you again. It may be a good exercise to find things that the person is grateful for, but this act shouldn’t be done to erase their experience. “Counting your blessings isn’t meant to erase your struggles, and other people’s hardships are not tools for disregarding your own,” she says.
“You’re making your own problems”
This statement not only blames the person with an anxiety disorder for their condition, but you’re saying their feelings are invalid. Try taking another approach. If you’re at a loss for what to say to the anxious person in your life, offering a hug is another way to show support. If you can’t meet in person, schedule a time to virtually watch a favourite tv show or movie together.