When someone is experiencing anxiety, a friend of that person may be telling that person to calm down. A recent study has shown that forcing someone to calm down can actually make them exhibit worse anxiety symptoms. By finding natural ways to calm down, you will learn to breathe and let your body adjust on its own without being told to. 

Relaxation-Induced Worrying

People with anxiety tend to do anything they can to ensure that they do not experience worrying. Being anxious when trying to relax could be because they are afraid of experiencing anxiety symptoms and losing control of themselves. You may feel like everything is going fine and you should be happy, but it does not make you happy because you feel like something should be wrong. Instead of preventing yourself from feeling worries, you should experience those feelings and try to find ways to calm down yourself. 

Penn State University Study

Michelle Newman from Penn State University and her team believe that relaxation-induced worrying can be connected to contrast avoidance theory. This suggests that those with anxiety are afraid of emotional shifts like neutral, positive, or negative. To avoid something bad happening, people will purposefully make themselves anxious. This just makes you more miserable since your worries end up not coming true. When they do not happen, we think we should continue worrying until they do.

In this study, researchers found nearly 100 participants with one third having generalized anxiety disorder, another third with major depressive disorder, and the rest with neither. Researchers had the participants do relaxation exercises before watching videos that can make them scared or sad. Participants answered questions to measure their sensitivity to emotional state changes. Then, they filled out a second survey to measure their anxiety levels. People with generalized anxiety disorder are more sensitive to negative emotions like going from relaxed to scared. 

How to Naturally Calm Down

If you want to be in a calm mood, it is best to stay away from smoking and drinking coffee and alcohol as it can make your anxiety symptoms worse. You should also get seven to eight hours of sleep every night to stay energized for the next morning. Meditation can help you breathe slowly and stay in the moment instead of caught up in your thoughts. Letting yourself calm down naturally will be healthier compared to being forced to calm down.

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