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Top 7 Things That People With Anxiety Don’t Want To Hear

Top 7 Things That People With Anxiety Don’t Want To Hear

Suffering from anxiety is incredibly debilitating. It can cause a person to quickly fall into a panic attack over even the slightest contingency in their daily life, and it’s almost impossible to break out of the downward spiral that this panic causes.

Since there’s such a social stigma behind the disorder, those who suffer from anxiety tend to keep quiet about it. And it can affect anybody. Celebrities like Johnny Depp and Adele have faced their share of panic attacks over the years, even though you could never tell by their on-stage personas.

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Keeping anxiety under control is difficult enough as it is — it’s even harder to do when people start giving advice you’ve heard a thousand times before. Here is a sampling of that advice.

1. “Stay calm”

I wish I could. That’s literally what anxiety prohibits me from doing. To a person with anxiety, whatever caused them to have this panic attack actually feels like an emergency akin to a house-fire. It will pass in time, but for now you just have to deal with your companion being frantic for a while.

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2. “Don’t worry so much about it”

Telling a person with anxiety not to worry about something only does one thing: makes them worry more. In fact, they’ll start coming up with reasons why they should worry. They’ll go through the worst-case scenario possibilities in their head over and over until they feel like they’re going to explode. It might not be easy, but you have to let them worry about whatever it is they’re worried about on their own terms.

3. “You’re so pessimistic”

No, I’m realistic. Like I just said, when you tell a person with anxiety not to worry, all they do is think of the negative possibilities that could occur. Even something like an F on a college exam could cause them to seriously question their future, as they will extrapolate their current failure throughout the rest of their life. If it’s in the realm of possibility, no matter how pessimistic it may seem, it’s going to make them freak out.

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4. “Others have it so much worse”

I know there are kids starving all over the world and people who don’t have clean water to drink, but now is not the time to remind me. I know I’m having a pity party, and I know I’m lucky to be alive and have a roof over my head, but all I can think about is whatever bad thing just happened to me. Anxiety gives people tunnel vision. They find it impossible to see from an objective perspective, and unfortunately only focus on themselves for the time being.

5. “It’s not the end of the world”

Again, I know that. Deep down I know that one bump in the road isn’t going to derail my entire life. But, in the heat of the moment, it sure seems that way. When a panic attack hits, it truly feels as if a person’s life is crumbling down around them. No piece of advice is going to make them think otherwise until the attack fades away. Just help them deal with it as best you can.

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6. “Have you tried ______?”

Counting to ten? Yep. Breathing into a paper bag? Check. Meditating? Of course. I’ve tried everything. You think I’d not do something to try and fix this mindset? If I found something that worked, do you think I’d avoid doing it? If anxiety had a quick fix, millions of people wouldn’t suffer from it on a daily basis. But thanks for the suggestion, I guess.

7. “Everyone has rough days”

I wish I had your rough days. But I would never wish for you to have mine. Anxiety is not a case of “Ugh, everything’s going wrong today, and of course my ice cream cone falls apart!”

It’s an underlying condition that makes a person on edge at all times, regardless of the situation. Even on a person’s best days, there’s still a possibility that something will happen that will derail everything. The best you can do, as a friend to someone suffering from anxiety, is to accept them for who they are and be there for them when they need you.

Featured photo credit: Hunter McGinnis via farm8.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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