Do I Have To Stop All Anxious Behavior To Remain Healthy?

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated March 17, 2022

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Video Transcript

Once I recover from anxiety disorder and hyperstimulation, do I have to completely stop all unhealthy behavior and eliminate all stress to stay healthy, or is it ok to use unhealthy behavior and be stressed once in a while and it won’t cause a major setback?

While it would be ideal to completely eliminate all unhealthy behavior and stress to remain healthy, it’s unrealistic. And in my (Jim Folk) opinion, unattainable.

All of us use unhealthy behavior and encounter stress at times. I sure do!

So, striving for perfection isn’t realistic. And trying to do so would create stress since that’ s a form of perfectionism, a common behavior that creates stress and anxiety.

More realistically, once the body has recovered, we can live a normal life, including using unhealthy behavior and being stressed at times. This is considered normal.

The difference is that we want to be more aware of the episodes that create stress, reduce them where possible, and ensure enough recovery time after a stressful period to keep stress well managed and prevent it from building up into hyperstimulation.

Moreover, when the body is hyperstimulated, it can be super sensitive to even the slightest stress. That’s why little stressors can exact a large toll when the body is hyperstimulated.

However, the body becomes far more resilient to stress when the body has recovered from hyperstimulation. Consequently, it can take a lot more stress before it becomes symptomatic and recovers faster after a stressful period.

Overall, the goal of anxiety disorder recovery is to eliminate hyperstimulation and address as many of your underlying factors as possible during the recovery period.

Once your body has recovered, you want to live your normal life and continue to discover and address the remaining underlying factors so that your body’s stress load remains in a healthy range overall rather than escalating into the hyperstimulation range.

Good stress management practices are especially helpful in this regard.

However, even if you encounter a highly stressful period and your body becomes hyperstimulated and symptomatic, attaining Level One recovery will guard against returning to a struggle with being anxious about your symptoms.

Passively-accepting your symptoms, reducing stress, and being patient will eliminate hyperstimulation and its symptoms again. Therefore, there’s no need to be concerned about returning symptoms of stress.

Recovering from a stressful period needn’t be any more difficult than that.

And as you continue to work on your underlying factors throughout your life, you’ll reduce the level of stress during those stressful periods, leading to normal living despite the challenges that come your way.

I’m still discovering and working on some of my underlying factors. But the work I initially did allowed me to live a normal life all these years even though I still have some work to do.

Attaining both Level One and Level Two recovery is not about perfection. It’s about doing the healthy things more often than the unhealthy, which tips the balance toward normal living and health and away from anxious living, hyperstimulation, and symptoms.

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The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive. Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including this Frequently Asked Anxiety Question.