Few things on planet earth are more frustrating than someone dismissing your emotions. This is particularly irritating for women, for whom being called "crazy" or "irrational" has long felt like an effort to discredit us on the basis of gender. The word "hysterical" is specifically sourced from female anatomy, after all. So how should you respond when someone tells you to calm down, other than dissolving into a puddle of rage?
The most important thing to remember in this situation is that your feelings are valid, regardless of whether they're "rational." Telling someone to calm down rarely works. People who experience anxiety, for instance, can't just turn their chemical response to triggers on a dime, and, if anything, demanding they chill out can actually cause that reaction to spike. Even if you don't have anxiety, reacting strongly to something can be a sign that something really is amiss — that infamous "gut feeling" is often your brain recognizing patterns before you can consciously reason them, then releasing dopamine that sends a queasy feeling down your spine.
Never mind that telling someone to "calm down" or "relax" or that they're taking things "too personally," or that they're being "too emotional" is a surefire way to relay to them that their opinions aren't valid, something women are far more likely to experience than men. Here are some tips on how to handle this particularly grating saying.