Lifestyle & Belief

Relaxing can be stressful for some people, new study shows


A new study has shown that relaxation for some people can be a source of stress.


John Moore

Relaxation has been found to cause stress in some people.

It seems like an oxymoron but researchers at the University of Cincinnati found that so-called relaxing activities such as breathing and yoga can increase stress and anxiety in people.

Psychologists have known that some people get stressed at the thought of relaxation.

"At first, you do see decreased heart rate, decreased breathing, things that indicate relaxation," study author Christina Lumberto told LiveScience.

"After they have achieved a relaxed state, all of a sudden everything just spikes back up."

The study used a 21-point survey on 300 undergraduate students with questions about how anxious breathing or the thought of relaxing makes them feel, said the Atlantic.

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The researchers were able to group those who feared relaxation into those with social, cognitive or physical concerns creating a tool called the Relaxation Sensitivity Index.

"Some people don't like to relax because of the physical changes, the sensations of their muscles relaxing," said Lumberto, according to Live Science.

"Other people will say they don't like relaxing because they're actually worried about whether or not they're relaxing correctly."

The index will hopefully help psychologists identify better treatment for those who are stressed out at just the thought of relaxing.

The findings will be presented at the annual convention of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.