Why "Calm Down" Backfires

If someone tells you to “calm down” or  “just relax”… 

It’s not very helpful, is it?

Telling someone to calm down can make them feel invalidated and dismissed. 

It implies that their feelings are not important or justified, which can make them feel even more anxious.

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Telling an athlete to calm down can also increase the pressure they feel to perform well.

 It suggests that they should be able to control their anxiety, which can make them feel like they are failing if they can't.

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"Calm down" is not a solution to anxiety. 

It doesn't give athletes any specific tools or strategies to manage their feelings.

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Depending on how it's delivered,  telling someone to calm down can come across as  condescending or patronizing. 

 This can create a negative dynamic between the athlete and the person trying to help them.