"Just don’t worry about it!" It's a common response when people talk about feeling anxious and it's a phrase that's guaranteed to evoke a cringe from the one feeling anxiety. While people may think that they're being helpful, optimistic or even supportive by telling someone not to worry, it actually has the opposite effect. If only it was so easy to "just not worry about it"...
Anxiety is a very misunderstood issue, despite being one of the most common mental health concerns in society today. While we all feel anxiety from time to time, people dealing with chronic anxiety report feeling overwhelmed and negatively impacted on a daily basis by their anxiety. It can feel completely out of their control, like a beast that is slowly taking over their lives. It affects them physically, emotionally, and socially. Anxiety can really become an all-encompassing issue.
It's important to know – if someone suffering from anxiety could easily choose to cease their worry process, they would. They want it to end more than you even know. But more often than not, they feel stuck. It's like being caught in a roundabout with no obvious exits.
So if you are supporting a family member or friend who is experiencing anxiety always remember that they need your kind words, rather than your advice; your hugs, as opposed to your shrugs; your love, instead of your dismissal.