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Why do I get more anxious when someone tells me to calm down?

16 Answers
Last Updated: 10/23/2017 at 7:54pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.

Top Rated Answers
January 26th, 2015 1:33am
The pressure put on you to calm down from that person may cause even more stress, more anxiety. Plus, you may be distressed because you can't calm down.
February 16th, 2015 10:15pm
Because they're not really helping you, they're just telling you what they want you to do. In order to calm down, they need to understan how you're feeling and help you figure out a solution.
February 9th, 2016 9:19pm
This is a perfectly normal and natural response in that kind of situation. Being told to calm down may make you feel like you're being invalidated or your fears/anxiety isn't being taken seriously, so it's not surprising you'll feel more anxious.
November 15th, 2016 8:48pm
Maybe it draws your attention towards your anxiousness : We sometimes react without knowing why, and when an external party points to it, it makes us more self-aware and thus makes it even harder for us to deal with the emotion. Hope this helped.
April 15th, 2015 1:54am
It's a natural reaction, most likely the person is doing the wrong things as they try to help you.
April 16th, 2015 12:10am
This may be the case because some people don't understand anxiety and they think of it as a small issue and it's not.
June 29th, 2015 4:01am
Sometimes when someone tells us to calm down, we can hear them getting nervous themselves, which can make the whole thing scarier. And sometimes, the notion to calm down seems like it should be so incredibly simple, but it's not, so it can be anxiety-inducing if you feel that even after being told to calm down, you're not able to.
January 19th, 2016 1:14am
You start to think more about why you're not calm and then start worrying about not being calm, escalating the anxiousness
February 15th, 2016 2:26am
Maybe you feel like they are ''telling'' you how to feel, instead of helping you get through your anxious moment.
March 14th, 2016 2:47am
The reason is you might not know if it right or wrong and your afraid of taking the wrong path and wrong outcomes.
June 13th, 2016 2:43am
That happens to most people, even to me (unless it's my husband telling me to calm down). It's most likely because you get frustrated, because the people telling you that don't always completely understand. They're telling you to be calm, but it's extremely hard to do so when you're anxious or panicking.
July 5th, 2016 9:26am
I think it's because it makes you realize that they don't understand you, so it frustrates you even more. It's hard for people to understand anxiety when they haven't experienced it. They think it's the best thing to do to tell you to calm down, but it's not like if you haven't tried that option before. They think it's a rational thing when it is not.
August 1st, 2016 10:19pm
I think it's because maybe it makes you notice you how hard it is for you to calm down? Just remember to breath and don't let the anxiety take over, you're stronger that it!
September 12th, 2016 3:13pm
It's because it usually directs even more attention to your anxiety, which then makes you even more aware and overwhelmed.
January 23rd, 2017 7:43pm
Most people don't know how to look or act around people with mental illnesses. People like these think anxiety is just stress and when they tell you to calm down, then they are dismissing what you are feeling like it doesn't matter. It Does Matter! Your feelings are valid.
October 23rd, 2017 7:54pm
It can be a mix of things: 1: You feel like they're annoyed by you and you really feel bad about it (something my friend often experiences) 2: You're actually trying to calm down but it isn't working and you're beginning to think there's something wrong with you (that's usually my problem) 3: Telling someone with anxiety to calm down is like telling someone with asthma, having an episode, to just breathe. It isn't that simple