9 Common Stereotypes about Anxiety We Are Sick of Being Labeled with - Learning Mind (2023)

There is a lack of understanding when it comes to anxiety. Common stereotypes are enabling mental health stigma.

While dealing with a mental disability, which includes the debilitating symptoms of anxiety, I have learned how common stereotypes govern how I’m viewed. It’s not just about calling people “crazy” or labeling them as dangerous. Sometimes these stereotypes are hidden behind misconceptions about the sufferer’s personality.

Characteristics seem to represent who we are as individuals. Many of us use indicators like smiles, grimaces, and jerks as indicators of certain conditions or attitudes. But these little things can be deceiving. What you see may not be the whole story.

Common stereotypes and misconceptions of anxiety

With anxiety, there are several noticeable traits. Anxious people are sometimes quiet, sometimes loud and sometimes they are amixture of the two.

There are 9 common stereotypes formed by what you see. Pay attention and try not to label these individuals based on your first or even second impression.

After all, seeking help for these issues are sometimes halted because of negative stigma.It takes time and patience to understand anxiety and help those who are suffering.

We’re not “snobby”

No, we’re not conceited or snobby, we don’t think we’re better than other people. When you see us, we may appear to be choosey of our friends and associations, and this is because we are frightened of getting hurt or rejected. Our anxiety forces us to be picky when it comes to socializing with other people. You know, sometimes we even prefer to be alone.

A common misconception is that those with anxiety will refuse to make friends with anyone below their social class, and this is just not true. I have anxiety, and yes, I am picky about who I “hang out” with, but I am far from being snobby and unreachable. In fact, I have friends in all walks of life.

We’re not attention seekers

This common stereotype is one that hurts me to the core. I will tell you like I have told others hundreds of times before, those with anxiety do not crave attention. It’s quite the opposite really, we try our hardest to get away from too much attention. We hate the hustle and bustle of large crowds, we hate the questions from our friends and we really can’t stand long lines at the supermarket.

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Saying that we want attention is saying that we go through hell just to get a rise out of you. That’s kind of sick if you think about it. We are not, nor will ever be attention hogs, so cut the self-righteous assumptions.

Neither are we lazy

Now, you might not associate laziness with anxiety, that might be those depression symptoms that you’ve always heard about. No matter, either way, those who suffer from depression or anxiety are not lazy people. We have suffered more insults, especially from spouses and family members about how lazy we are, how we won’t get a job or we won’t clean the house.

Maybe, just maybe we are doing the best we can. I will tell you this, my anxiety gets so bad sometimes that I have to “shut down”, this is when I have to stop what I’m doing, lay down and sleep. It is the only way to stop the influx of information from bombarding my mind. It hurts to know that a common stereotype about mental illness is laziness. If only life were that easy for us.

We aren’t drama queens either

It may seem like we complain quite a bit, and maybe we do. Our anxiety fuels this unending resolution processing. In other words, our brain is always looking for flaws and finding a way to fix them. If we notice that you are doing something wrong, we are quick to let you know in order to remedy the situation.

We’re not trying to be overly dramatic about the situation, we just know that in order to get things done, we must be blunt and loud enough to get our point across. Now, I am not defending rude behavior, but I am defending those who suffer from the nagging need to address conflict. It’s not about drama, it’s about getting to the point.

We are not weak

Although it may appear that we are mentally weak individuals, we are stronger than you think. Maybe this common stereotype grew from watching us cry, or watching our hands shake as a result of overwhelming stress. Don’t be fooled by this symptom of anxiety. We are more than capable of putting ourselves back together and facing our problems once more.

Don’t get it twisted, we are far from weak people. It may just be that we have dealt with so much ignorance that we’ve been strong for way too long. Heard that before, haven’t you?

We are not unreachable

Although at times, it may seem like we will never listen, that’s not true. Even when we are fighting back, acting as though we refuse to see things your way, we are silently weighing your side of the story. During panic attacks, we hear the words you say to us, we feel your consolations and we try to reconcile them with our disturbed thoughts. When you think we are far too gone, we are just analyzing each word you say, and trying to make sense of our predicament simultaneously.

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Please don’t give up on us and please do away with this common stereotype that says, “They are far too gone to be helped.” This is never true about anyone who suffers from anxiety. You may be surprised by the effect your loving words have on our minds.

We’re not always negative

Although this disease makes us complain and stress negative standpoints, we fight for positivity in our lives. You have no idea how hard it is for us to see the brighter side of any given situation, but we can. We don’t always shake and cry in the corner, you know. Sometimes, we enjoy a walk in the park, a movie or a good book, just like others do. We love the positive aspects of our lives and actually try our hardest to not be negative.

We are not “dumb”

On the contrary, those who suffer from anxiety are some of the most intelligent people. The brain of the anxious is full of all sorts of rationalizations, ruminations, and ideas. The biggest problem involved here is the inability to organize these thoughts. This may be the root of the common stereotype that the victims of anxiety are disabled in intellect.

And finally, we are not self-absorbed

I can’t stop thinking about being called self-absorbed. A former friend said that everything had to be about me, all the time. She said that I always talked about my life and my goals. Her view of me was horrible, and it made me want to hide under a rock. I thought about what she said for a long time, I tried to train myself to act differently according to her beliefs, but I found it increasingly hard to change.

Now that I look back at the situation and see her for who she really was, I understand her misconception. I had moved out on my own for the first time in my life, and my confidence was growing. Since she had other ulterior motivations, I could see her jealousy. As a sufferer of anxiety, I was actually making progress towards self-actualization, and this was intimidating.

But because of my anxiety, this newfound love of myselfseemed a bit conceited. It wasn’t my intention and I knew that. A common stereotype of those who suffer from anxiety is that they are so absorbed in their own lives that they barely notice the needs of others. Most of the time, this is not true at all.

What does this mean for us?

Listen, there are common stereotypes but you are far from common. What you are is highly misunderstood. I challenge you today to stand in the face adversity. While rumors fly left and right about who you are and what you stand for, you hold fast!

Remember that your character is more important than what they say about you. In the end, what truly matters is how you lived and how you loved. What you know will be your indicator of who you truly are. Never let common stereotypes decide your fate and always be prepared to fight the stigma.

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From one to another, I support you!

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Sherrie Hurd is a professional writer and artist with over 20 years of experience. As a survivor of childhood trauma and multiple types of abuse, she is an advocate for mental health awareness. Sherrie manages multiple mental illnesses, including anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. With this background and personal experience, she strives to help others overcome trauma and abuse, cope with mental illness, and heal over time.

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9 Common Stereotypes about Anxiety We Are Sick of Being Labeled with - Learning Mind (3)

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What are the 3 different strategies mentioned to cope up with anxiety? ›

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

What is the relationship between stereotype and anxiety? ›

Claude Steele's stereotype threat hypothesis has attracted significant attention in recent years. This study tested one of the main tenets of his theory—that stereotype threat serves to increase individual anxiety levels, thus hurting performance—using real‐time measures of physiological arousal.

How do you copy with anxiety? ›

Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
  1. Keep physically active. ...
  2. Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. ...
  3. Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. ...
  4. Use stress management and relaxation techniques. ...
  5. Make sleep a priority. ...
  6. Eat healthy foods. ...
  7. Learn about your disorder.
20 Jul 2021

What are 5 characteristics of anxiety? ›

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
  • Having an increased heart rate.
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating.
  • Trembling.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.

What stereotypes can you think of? ›

Examples of Gender Stereotypes
  • Girls should play with dolls and boys should play with trucks.
  • Boys should be directed to like blue and green; girls toward red and pink.
  • Boys should not wear dresses or other clothes typically associated with "girl's clothes"

What are the 10 types of coping strategies? ›

Top 10 Coping Skills
  • Deep Breathing. Often when faced with a stressful situation or feeling, our breathing changes. ...
  • Writing. Writing can be an effective means of working through stress. ...
  • Physical Activity. ...
  • Self-Talk. ...
  • Art. ...
  • Meditation. ...
  • Puzzles. ...
  • Music.
22 Oct 2019

What are the Big 5 ideas to assist with anxiety? ›

Here are 5 strategies that can help make anxiety easier to deal with:
  • Challenge anxious thoughts.
  • Recognize some negative thinking patterns that foster worry, fear, and anxiety.
  • Cultivate optimistic thinking.
  • Take a timeout.
  • Create an anxiety toolbox.
25 Feb 2017

What is a stereotype threat example? ›

For example, when female students are given a math exam and told that the exam is diagnostic of their own intellectual abilities, negative stereotypes of women as less capable mathematicians can actually negatively impact their performance on the exam.

What is stereotype in psychology example? ›

It is an expectation that people might have about every person of a particular group. The type of expectation can vary; it can be, for example, an expectation about the group's personality, preferences, appearance or ability.

What does stereotype mean in mental health? ›

Stereotypes are assumptions about individuals based on the presumed qualities of the group they belong to. Stereotypes can lead to inaccurate assessments of people's personal characteristics.

What causes anxiety? ›

Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence or adulthood are a common trigger for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. Experiences which can trigger anxiety problems include things like: physical or emotional abuse.

What can anxiety feel like? ›

feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax. having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst. feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down. feeling like other people can see you're anxious and are looking at you.

Is writing good for anxiety? ›

Something as simple as writing can relieve stress, reduce anxiety, and help to ease feelings of depression.

What are the 12 types of anxiety? ›

Types of Anxiety Disorders
  • Generalized anxiety disorder. You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.
  • Panic disorder. ...
  • Social anxiety disorder. ...
  • Specific phobias. ...
  • Agoraphobia. ...
  • Separation anxiety. ...
  • Selective mutism. ...
  • Medication-induced anxiety disorder.
24 Apr 2022

What are the 3 main types of anxiety? ›

The five major types of anxiety disorders are:
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder. ...
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ...
  • Panic Disorder. ...
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) ...
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

What are the 6 types of anxiety and describe each? ›

6 major types of anxiety disorders
  • Phobias. Phobias are intense fears of specific animals, objects or situations. ...
  • Generalized Anxiety. ...
  • Panic Disorder. ...
  • Social Anxiety Disorder. ...
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. ...
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder.
10 Jul 2019

What are 5 stereotypes? ›

Stereotypes with negative use
  • Obsession with guns. ...
  • Materialism, over-consumption, and extreme capitalism. ...
  • Lack of cultural awareness. ...
  • Racism and racialism. ...
  • Environmental ignorance. ...
  • Arrogance and nationalism. ...
  • Military zeal. ...
  • Workaholic culture.

What is a good example of a stereotype? ›

For example, women are positively stereotyped as warm but negatively stereotyped as weak; Asian-Americans are positively stereotyped as competent but negatively stereotyped as cold; Black Americans are positively stereotyped as athletic but negatively stereotyped as unintelligent.

What are the most common types of stereotypes? ›

Groups are often stereotyped on the basis of sex, gender identity, race and ethnicity, nationality, age, socioeconomic status, language, and so forth. Stereotypes are deeply embedded within social institutions and wider culture.

What are 100 ways to deal with anxiety? ›

Here is a list of 100 coping strategies for emotional management:
  • Take deep breaths.
  • Do a positive activity.
  • Play sports.
  • Think of something funny.
  • Take a quick walk.
  • Practice yoga.
  • Stand up and stretch.
  • Listen to music.
2 Apr 2017

What are 4 examples of negative coping strategies? ›

Some of the most common unhealthy coping mechanisms are:
  • Avoiding issues. ...
  • Sleeping too much. ...
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use. ...
  • Impulsive spending. ...
  • Over or under eating.

How do you handle a stressful situation? ›

2. Commit to a Positive Attitude
  1. Decide what you can do. Pinpoint which parts of the situation you have the power to change or influence for the better. ...
  2. Get support. Find someone to talk to about your situation. ...
  3. Care for yourself. Take especially good care of yourself when stress in your life is high.

What is the 333 rule for anxiety? ›

It involves looking around your environment to identify three objects and three sounds, then moving three body parts. Many people find this strategy helps focus and ground them when anxiety overwhelms them.

What is the best approach for treating anxiety? ›

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety.

How will you deal with anxiety or self esteem issues among students who have difficulty reading specifically when reading aloud? ›

Take turns reading.

Reading long books or pages can feel overwhelming. Sharing the load can make it feel more manageable. Try reading aloud together and trading off pages. This gives kids a break and lets them hear fluent reading.

How do I overcome social anxiety? ›

Things you can try to overcome social anxiety

try some relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises for stress. break down challenging situations into smaller parts and work on feeling more relaxed with each part. try to focus on what people are saying rather than just assuming the worst.

What does stereotype mean? ›

: to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same. It's not fair to stereotype a whole group of people based on one person you don't like.

Which of the following is the best example of stereotype threat? ›

People often classify themselves as belonging to groups such as a student group. This is an example of the stereotype threat.

How is stereotyping harmful short answer? ›

It is harmful because it involves generalisation and is unfair because it overlooks the unique qualities and skills of individuals. It fits many people into a certain type or pattern which is harmful for society.

What is a stereotype Class 7? ›

A stereotype is an over-simplified and unjustified opinion about others. It is problematic because it ignores diversity among individuals. Stereotypes are intentional because images are created and fixed on people. It forcibly associates a pattern or type onto a large number of people.

What is an example of stereotypical behavior? ›

Some examples of stereotypic behavior in typical adults include tapping feet, nail biting, smoking, organizing, playing sports, and watching TV. Alternatively, stereotypies in typical infants and toddlers often resemble behaviors seen in individuals with autism across the lifespan (Smith & Van Houten, 1996).

What are stereotype behaviors? ›

What is stereotypic behaviour? Stereotypic behaviour has been defined as a repetitive, invariant behaviour pattern with no obvious goal or function.

What is stereotype stress? ›

Updated on February 18, 2019. Stereotype threat occurs when a person is worried about behaving in a way that confirms negative stereotypes about members of their group. This added stress can end up impacting how they actually perform in a particular situation.

What is an example of stereotyping in health and social care? ›

For example, a social worker may stereotype old people as having certain tastes, when in fact some old people have tastes that differ widely. As such, the worker would be stereotyping the patient. People can also be stereotyped by weight, socioeconomic status, or other criteria. This can harm the patient.

How do stereotypes affect us? ›

New research found that these ingrained beliefs systematically affect people's equity preferences, making it possible to predict how they will treat members of different social groups. People carry around biases—subconscious or otherwise—about social groups and often treat members of different groups differently.

What are the 4 main causes of anxiety? ›

Anxiety may be caused by a mental condition, a physical condition, the effects of drugs, stressful life events, or a combination of these.

What is the true meaning of anxiety? ›

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It can be a normal reaction to stress. For example, you might feel anxious when faced with a difficult problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

How does anxiety affect your daily life? ›

Anxiety makes it harder to try new things, to take risks in your work or personal life, or sometimes to even leave your house. Many people with anxiety feel caged in. They see things they want to do in life but their anxiety keeps them from trying. This can lead to loss of income and unfulfilled potential.

How does anxiety look to others? ›

They might seem a little aloof, disinterested or indifferent. Except they're not. People with anxiety can appear aloof to outsiders, but they're often the warmest people in the room.

What is the main symptoms of anxiety? ›

Signs and Symptoms
  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Having difficulty concentrating.
  • Being irritable.
  • Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains.
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep.

What behaviors affect anxiety? ›

Anxiety can also affect your behaviour. You may withdraw from friends and family, feel unable to go to work, or avoid certain places. While avoiding situations can give you short-term relief, the anxiety often returns the next time you're in the situation.

Should I be honest about my anxiety? ›

Being open and honest about it is your first step to overcoming the illness. It can start with sharing your feelings with friends. It's also a good idea to share your feelings with your personal doctor. That's a first step to connecting with a support group or mental health practitioner.

Does writing help clear your mind? ›

Writing down everything indiscriminately helps to clear your mind and put some order into the mass of thoughts that make decision making so difficult. It helps you to clear your mind of the clutter and prepare it for taking action to resolve the issue or problem.

How do people perceive anxiety? ›

According to a recent study, people with anxiety fundamentally have a different perception of the world. More specifically, anxious individuals have a more difficult time distinguishing between neutral, “safe” stimuli and emotionally-charged or threatening stimuli.

What is a character trait for anxiety? ›

Neuroticism. Neuroticism is a personality trait related to negative emotional states and is highly associated with several anxiety disorders, including various phobias, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder.

Why is anxiety so embarrassing? ›

Feeling ashamed of symptoms caused by a mental health condition, including anxiety, is a common feeling many people experience. It's not your fault you have anxiety. Feeling ashamed of it may result from the social stigma surrounding mental health — something that needs to change.

Does stereotype threat increase anxiety? ›

Stereotype threat can cause anxiety among salespeople. Stereotype threat also reduces a salesperson's organizational commitment.

How does anxiety affect people's behavior? ›

Anxiety can also affect your behaviour. You may withdraw from friends and family, feel unable to go to work, or avoid certain places. While avoiding situations can give you short-term relief, the anxiety often returns the next time you're in the situation.

How does anxiety affect us? ›

People with these disorders have feelings of fear and uncertainty that interfere with everyday activities and last for 6 months or more. Anxiety disorders can also raise your risk for other medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse, and depression.

How does social anxiety affect personality? ›

Fear that others will notice that you look anxious. Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice. Avoidance of doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment. Avoidance of situations where you might be the center of attention.

What is example of trait anxiety? ›

Competitive Trait Anxiety

For example, if a footballer taking a penalty high in CTA is predisposed to view the situation as threatening, then thoughts would direct to the shot, which could lead to a greater somatic (bodily) response, which could result in impaired performance (Weinberg & Gould, 2011).

What is trait anxiety in simple words? ›

Trait anxiety refers to the stable tendency to attend to, experience, and report negative emotions such as fears, worries, and anxiety across many situations. This is part of the personality dimension of neuroticism versus emotional stability.

Why is everyone suffering from anxiety? ›

Unfortunately, no one seems to have an exact answer as to why anxiety is so common, but many attribute this presumed increase in anxiety disorders to factors such as social media, poor sleep habits, lowered stigma, and underreporting in the past.

Do people with anxiety say mean things? ›

At the very least, you might not be able to attribute “rude” behavior to anxiety. Unfortunately, this is often the case for people with anxiety. Their mental health disorder causes them to act in a way that appears inappropriate or rude to others. However, the person is only reacting to their symptoms.

Does anxiety try to trick you? ›

When we are more susceptible to stress, depression, or anxiety, our brains may be playing tricks on us. A cycle of continuing to look for what is wrong makes it easier to find what is wrong out there. It's called a confirmation bias.


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