We all crave to feel calm and relaxed. We often try out somatic practices to relax the nervous system and let the body know that it is in a safe space. However, for some people, the sense of feeling calm and relaxed can act as triggers. They may feel that they are not doing enough just because they are not hustling or feeling overwhelmed – the consistent feeling that one goes through in case of stress and anxiety. “Living with chronic anxiety can make moments of stillness, peace, calm, or even boredom feel uncomfortable, or like something is wrong,” wrote Therapist Carrie Howard. Here are a few reasons why feeling calm can make us anxious.
ALSO READ: Things that can feel unsafe when you are living with chronic anxiety
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We fear getting caught off guard: When we live constantly in the state of hypervigilance and always look out for potential threats coming in, we fear being calm and relaxed. We feel that when a threat comes in, we will not be able to predict it or handle things because of the relaxed state of mind.
We fear the calm is not going to last: We may have past experiences and trauma related to the calm state of mind – hence, we know that the state does not last. When we are relaxed, we feel that a threat is nearby and may hit us at any point of time.
Feeling calm feels unfamiliar: When we are used to stress and anxiety and the constant state of hypervigilance, a calm and relaxed state of mind can seem unfamiliar to the body.
It induces identity crisis: We relate to stress, anxiety and hypervigilance to the point that it starts to become a part of our identity. Hence, feeling calm and relaxed can make us feel that we are robbed of that identity.
“Build your tolerance for these moments by allowing yourself to be fully present. By staying present, you’re giving your brain valuable experience that you are not in actual danger just because things quiet down,” suggested Therapist Carrie Howard.