Anxiety Myth #19: Deep relaxation alone can eliminate anxiety disorder.
Another common anxiety myth: believing that deep relaxation alone can eliminate anxiety disorder.
Yes, deep relaxation can be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety disorder, especially when a deep relaxation technique is practiced regularly. For example, practicing a 25-minute deep relaxation technique twice a day can produce wonderful results. Why?
Behaving apprehensively stresses the body. For more information, see our Anxiety 101 section.
When the body becomes overly stressed due to overly apprehensive behavior, the body can produce a wide range of symptoms. For more information, see our Anxiety Symptoms section.
Anxiety symptoms are actually symptoms of stress. We call them anxiety symptoms because behaving in an overly apprehensive manner can overly stress the body, and a body that becomes overly stressed can produce a wide range of symptoms. Again, for more information, see our Anxiety Symptoms section.
Since anxiety symptoms are symptoms of stress, if you want to reduce and eliminate anxiety symptoms, you need only reduce and eliminate your body’s level of stress. As your body’s level of stress diminishes, so too will symptoms of stress diminish.
Regular deep relaxation is a great way to reduce stress. Therefore, it’s also a great way to reduce and eliminate symptoms of stress. The more you deeply relax your body, the more you reduce your body’s level of stress, and along with it, symptoms of stress.
Moreover, when a person is deeply relaxing, this also reduces anxiety – since anxiety is caused by apprehensive behavior, choosing a non-apprehensive behavior, such as deep relaxation, will supplant anxiety and its effect on the body.
So again, yes, deep relaxation can be beneficial to reducing anxiety and stress, including their resulting symptoms.
But deeply relaxing your body and reducing its stress doesn’t address the behaviors at the root of problematic anxiety. So while regular deep relaxation can be beneficial, it doesn’t cause healthy behavioral change overall and to the point where problematic anxiety is eliminated.
See our What Causes Anxiety section for more information about the cause of anxiety.
Yes, regular deep relaxation can help the mind and body calm down. And yes, that can be beneficial. But lasting success over anxiety disorder comes through identifying and successfully addressing the behaviors that cause issues with anxiety. This level of success only comes about by doing the right behavioral work.
For more information, see our article, Two Levels of Anxiety Disorder Recovery.
Yes, regular deep relaxation can be helpful. No, regular deep relaxation alone won’t eliminate the underlying factors that cause issues with problematic anxiety.
How can believing this myth hamper recovery?
If you believe regular deep relaxation alone can eliminate anxiety disorder, yet it doesn’t, you may become disillusioned about what it takes to eliminate issues with problematic anxiety. You might also errantly conclude that, because regular deep relaxation didn’t eliminate your struggle with problematic anxiety, your anxiety is different and therefore you’ll always have to live with problematic anxiety.
And if you don’t do anything to address the true cause of problematic anxiety, issues with anxiety will continue. Only when we address the core of the problem – the underlying factors that cause issues with anxiety - will the problem and its symptoms disappear.
How can believing this myth make things worse?
Anxiety disorder doesn’t resolve on its own. It takes getting the right information, help, and support, as well as effort and time to overcome issues with anxiety.
If you’ve tried deep relaxation yet your anxiety disorder remains, you may believe that deep relaxation doesn’t work, your anxiety is untreatable, and therefore your only option is a long-term struggle with stubborn anxiety. These conclusions can lead to despondency and even more anxiety, which can make things much worse.
But if you believe anxiety disorder can be overcome by getting the right information, working with a good therapist, and applying sufficient effort, the sky is the limit! Just the notion of believing you can succeed can make a sizeable difference.
All of us at anxietycentre.com overcame anxiety disorder by working at it, and with the help of an anxiety disorder specialist/therapist. A great many others have done it as well (which is why therapy is the ‘Gold Standard’ treatment for anxiety disorder).
"Anxiety isn’t about something you were born with and that you can’t correct. Anxiety is about behavior that all of us can change and control when we know how. Working with an experienced anxiety coach, counselor, or therapist can teach you those important skills."
Getting the right information, help, and support, and then doing the right work and for long enough, is all that is required to overcome anxiety disorder. No one needs to suffer needlessly or persistently!
Anxiety isn't something that needs to be cured because it isn’t an illness or disease. Anxiety is caused by apprehensive behavior. Dealing with our apprehensive behaviors solves the entire anxiety unwellness problem. Anyone can do this work with the right information, help, and support.
Again, no one needs to suffer needlessly. There is help available. The road to meaningful recovery is clear, well known, and well traveled. Those who do the right work succeed!
We can help you with your success…every step of the way.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
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Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated November 29, 2016.