Things Not To Say To A Loved One Who Has Anxiety

Of an anxious, fretful disposition can be no fun at times; it saps self-confidence.
1. “Snap out of it” is not helpful. Loved ones can get frustrated but will appreciate that quiet and sensitivity should be the preferred approach.

2.”Let me do it for you” also doesn’t help. To face one’s fears and get on with day-to-day activity is the best course. Living at close quarters loved ones should appreciate this fact.

3. The word “Don’t” followed by an order is also not helpful. Be aware of the physiological effect of anxiety – it is debilitating.

4. “Calm down” can also be insensitive, most sufferers would give anything to be able to do so.

5 Giving instructions can be insensitive and patronizing. Doing “stuff” together and at a slower pace is much the better policy. This will build confidence and rapport.

6. Join in with physical exercise instead of “go do it yourself” can also be very helpful.

I am an avid reader which helps me keep my mind active, if one does this, physical wellbeing can and will follow.


I am in the middle of reading the complete works of Thomas Hardy (English author 1840-1928) he lived until he was 88 so he clearly practiced longevity!


Here is a quote from “A Pair of Blue Eyes” which is pertinent for our current topic:

“Bodily activity will sometimes take the sting out of anxiety as completely as assurance itself”.


In my forties I worked for two and a half years on the Sport Business Initiative at Ashridge business school in the U.K.


We were training elite sport coaches in the business skills necessary to succeed as a top level coach/ Director of sport in all of the Olympic sports including rugby union. We had, as evidenced great success in 2012 and 2016’s Games and the successful Programme continues to this day.


What was brought home to me time and again was the effectiveness of exercise to counter negative physiology caused by the stress and anxiety of the big occasion.


I have taken (and many of our coaches have too) this lesson into later life and it stands me in very good stead.


When it comes to managing anxiety at work, the same principles apply, but remember, especially in these terrible employment markets that YOU are in charge of your health and your employer is not. For wellbeing’s sake please ensure that you take your breaks, your lunch hour and don’t work unpaid overtime, the employer these days cuts nobody any slack and it is wise to keep this harsh fact front-of-mind.


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Rob Peach is a freelance risk & security consultant with 34 years behind him in sales and marketing in the City of London and then at Director level in charitable fundraising. His involvement in Defying Shadows is driven by a need to make a difference in an area that is being ravaged by governmental indifference: mental health. He hopes he can bring some challenges that he has had health wise to good use to assist others in whatever way he can not least by talking sense and writing passionately.

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