Relaxation-Induced Anxiety: When You Get Stressed Out from Chilling Out (Do You Have It?)

by Sarah Jio, Glamour

Think of the most calming activities: Maybe, you love taking a hot bath, lounging on the couch and watching a movie, or maybe getting a massage at your favorite spa. Sounds nice, right? Well, for some people with an unusual form of anxiety, relaxation could actually cause their worries.

The phenomenon is called "relaxation-induced anxiety" and it affects more people than you may think, according to a new report from the University of Cincinnati.

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"Someone with a fear of relaxation is able to initially relax," says Christina Luberto, a doctoral student in psychology at the University of Cincinnati, who has developed a questionnaire, known as the Relaxation Sensitivity Index, to examine this fear. "But once they start to feel relaxed, they begin to feel anxious as a result."

People who have this type of anxiety, tend to experience heart rate increases, rapid breathing and muscle tension when they try to relax. Luberto and her colleages say that a quick way to tell if you have this type of anxiety is to see if you identify with any of the following:

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Physical Issues: "It scares me when my breathing becomes deeper; I hate getting massages because of the feeling it creates when my muscles relax…"

Cognitive Issues: "I don't like to relax because I don't like it when my thoughts slow down; I don't like to relax because it makes me feel out of control…"

Social Issues: "I worry that when I let my body relax, I'll look unattractive; I worry that if I relax, other people will think I'm lazy…"

So interesting! Do you have this type of anxiety?

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