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5 Things That People With Anxiety Want You To Know

5 Things That People With Anxiety Want You To Know

A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. This is anxiety – sounds like something we’ve all experienced multiple times in our lives? Anxiety is completely normal; it touches on many of our emotions which characterize us as human. However, when you have too much anxiety it’s known as an anxiety disorder, and it’s a lot more common than you would imagine. Roughly 18% of US citizens over the age of 18 have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, in the big picture 1 out of 13 people worldwide have anxiety.

Here are 5 things people with anxiety want you to know.

1. Have some patience

Having someone close to you with anxiety can really be confusing. You may ask, “why do we have to avoid certain places, situations, and deal with irrational logic?” It Isn’t their fault. Anxiety doesn’t have set criteria, it uses to choose the target it preys on, anyone can develop this disorder at anytime in their lives. Trust me when I say they didn’t choose to live with the extra burden of impending doom lurking around every corner.

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Emotionally, anxiety takes a lot out of you, as the victim or someone close to them. Anyone with anxiety will be first to tell you how much they appreciate you sticking through the bad times and the good. It means a lot to have the emotional support of friends and family, especially for times that are worse than others. As they say,” You’ll find out who your friends really are”  – this is such a good example of the saying. Anyone who sticks it out through it all, really is a true friend, and they really appreciate it more than they admit.

2. Don’t try to fix them

Anxiety Isn’t something you can fix, pushing someone too hard will make things worse. The last thing someone suffering with anxiety needs is someone close to them trying to solve their disorder with brute force and persistence. Let them use coping skills and work through the problem at their own pace, make them feel comfortable, without being overbearing.

Most importantly, never make a big deal about a panic attack or irrational behavior. The more you talk about or bring up an episode of anxiety and try to diagnose the issue, the more frustrated they will become and ultimately lead to further episodes. Lastly, don’t talk about their anxiety with other people, it can be embarrassing, and make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are. Let them disclose their personal issues for themselves.

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3. Know that anxiety is often misunderstood

There are so many social misconceptions on anxiety, I’ll cover the most common, which are also the most frustrating. People are lead to believe that anxiety always stems from a poor childhood, fear, or trauma. This isn’t always the case, more common than not it’s genetic, and your family has a history of anxiety, some cases more severe than others. Another big one is that people seem to believe you can just fix “it”. Anxiety disorders don’t evaporate with the morning mist, although that would be nice, it isn’t a that easy.

For many people anxiety will be with them for their entire life. With proper coping skills and conditioning you can still achieve a more than decent way of life with time. The capital offender of misconceptions is thinking you can tell someone to “just relax.” Sadly, there isn’t a switch you can use to turn off someone else’s anxiety, you’re going to have to sideline yourself and wait for them to cope with it on their own.

4. Understand that anxiety doesn’t make you “weak”

Anxiety has plagued mankind for our entire existence, overcoming adversity is one of humanity’s most valuable skills. Some of the most iconic people in our history have had anxiety disorders, even without modern medicine they didn’t give up. In modern days we have social figures with these disorders and they overcome and succeed on a world stage. Assuming someone with anxiety are weak, broken, or wortrless is ignorant. Here are a few familiar faces you wouldn’t have guessed cope or coped with anxiety.

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  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Leann Rimes
  • Johnny Depp
  • Kate Moss
  • Emma Stone
  • Joey Votto
  • Kim Basinger
  • Charlie Beljan
  • Scarlett Johansson
  • Adele

These are some of the public figures that aren’t shy about their condition and openly talk about coping skills and how they overcame anxiety and achieved their dreams. Many people are affected by anxiety, and achieve great things. I doubt you would consider any of the listed people above as “weak.”

5. Learn how to relate to an anxiety you don’t have

Plain and simple: you don’t have it, so how could you understand something that someone with the condition has a hard time making sense of for themselves? Anxiety can make those affected be irrational, and hard to reason with. Especially when they know they are being irrational and still can’t cope with anxiety.

When you experience something like a panic attack it triggers the famed “fight or flight” response, which releases chemicals in your brain such as adrenaline and cortisol. When these chemicals are released it slows digestion, increases heart rate and pushes blood into your major muscle groups. Leaving you feeling faint while your limbs go numb due to an influx in blood flow, and autonomic nervous functions, when this occurs you can push your muscles to the absolute maximum and achieve a great burst of strength and energy you normally wouldn’t be able to achieve maximizing survivability, hence the “flight or fight response”.

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If you’ve ever experienced this before you can get a glimpse into what many people live through everyday. Don’t lose hope, many have dealt with this in the past and many more will deal with anxiety in the future. Try to understand them.

Featured photo credit: Womans hands connected With Tangled String/ Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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