How To Avoid Triggering Someone’s Anxiety
1. Don’t Belittle or Shame Them
One of the main reasons why people who deal with anxiety try to hide it from others is due to the fear of being belittled or shamed for their supposed flaws. By avoiding these two reactions, you guarantee that you are not triggering a person’s anxiety. Some of the remarks that one makes may seem inoffensive, however, they may have a significant impact on the person you are talking to. For example, stating that you don’t understand why they are reacting a certain way or making jokes at the expense of their anxiety are some of the ways you may be belittling their disorder and causing them to feel ashamed.
2. Don’t Force Confrontation
You may want to help your loved one overcome anxiety by trying to force them into situations where they can confront their fears. While this may seem helpful, it can be detrimental to their health as well as to your relationship with the person. Trying to force an anxious person to interact with strangers without telling them in advance or to nag them to do something out of their comfort zone can trigger their anxiety because of the stress and pressure they will feel. If you want to help out but are unsure how, the information found at Enhance Health Group points out that talking to a professional is an effective way of overcoming anxiety. This ensures that the person dealing with anxiety is able to get the help needed without having to abstractly confront their fears, as this will only make them feel worse.
3. Understand How Anxiety Manifests
One of the main ways to avoid triggering someone’s anxiety is to understand how it manifests for each person. You may feel slightly nervous when you face the unknown, as is the case when starting a new job or looking for a place to rent because your lease is almost up. This type of anxiety is expected and is a regular human response to being put in a situation where there are various unknowns that will definitely affect you.
A person dealing with anxiety will be triggered by simply having to place an order on the phone, being in a crowded place because they fear that everyone is staring at them and speaking about them, or sometimes it can be having to change a certain aspect in their plan for the day which seems inconsequential to others, but to them causes worry and anxiety. Figuring out what causes their anxiety to manifest will help you ensure you are not triggering your loved one.
4. Don’t Compare Experiences
As mentioned above, the regular anxious feeling people get when faced with an actual worrisome situation differs from anxiety-driven fears and worries. When someone tells you that they suffer from anxiety, it is extremely triggering if you try to compare experiences to make them feel like you understand what they are going through because chances are, you don’t. Unless you suffer from an anxiety disorder yourself, comparing experiences will do nothing but make the person to whom you are talking feel alienated.
Instead of comparing experiences, you can simply be there for them and tell them that you are there if they need anything. Being supportive makes all the difference to anyone dealing with a disorder. Knowing that they do not have to hide their anxiety from you will decrease the stress and pressure of trying to appear fine when they are not. If you find that someone is having trouble with their anxiety, try offering to take them away from the crowd or to go on a walk. This will decrease the stimuli causing their anxiety to rear up and give them time to calm down.
Now that you are aware of how to avoid triggering people suffering from anxiety, you can have an easier time navigating through your relationship. Educating yourself about different triggers and how to avoid them is an important part of being supportive. Sometimes this is all you can do to help out your loved one.