ASMR – Whispered Reading – Intriguing Psychology Experiments *British Accent*Articles . Blog
I’m The ASMR Psychologist. Welcome to this
new ASMR Whispering series where I’ll be sharing with you the latest and, I guess, what I feel
is the most interesting news in the world of psychology.
And today, I’m going to share with you an article from Science Daily which discusses
how some people may actively choose to worry, rather than to relax.
Now, if you have any questions for me about psychology, or mental health, or ASMR, if
you go to the ‘About’ section in my channel description, there’s a link there that you
can follow to ask me any questions. Okay, so, let’s read this article.
Okay. Relaxing is supposed to be good for the body
and soul, but people with anxiety may actively resist relaxation and continue worrying to
avoid a large jump in anxiety if something bad does happen, according to Penn State research.
In a new study, the researchers found that people who were more sensitive to shifts in
negative emotion — quickly moving from a relaxed state to one of fear, for example
— were more likely to feel anxious while being led through relaxation exercises.
Michelle Newman, professor of psychology, said the results could help benefit people
who experience “relaxation-induced anxiety,” a phenomenon that occurs when people actually
become more anxious during relaxation training. “People may be staying anxious to prevent
a large shift in anxiety, but it’s actually healthier to let yourself experience those
shifts,” Newman explains. “The more you do it, the more you realise you can do it, and
it’s better to allow yourself to be relaxed at those times. Mindfulness training and other
interventions can help people let go and live in the moment.”
Hanjoo Kim, a graduate student in psychology, said the study also sheds light on why relaxation
treatments designed to help people feel better can potentially cause anxiety.
“People who are more vulnerable to relaxation-induced anxiety are often the ones with anxiety disorders
who may need relaxation more than others,” Kim said. “And of course, these relaxation
techniques are meant to help, not to make someone more anxious. Our findings will hopefully
serve as a cornerstone for providing better care for these populations.”
Newman said that while researchers have known about relaxation-induced anxiety since the
1980s, the specific cause of this phenomenon has remained unknown. When Newman developed
the contrast avoidance theory in 2011, she thought the two concepts might be connected.
“The theory revolves around the idea that people make themselves anxious intentionally
as a way to avoid the letdown they might get if something bad were to happen,” Newman said.
“This isn’t actually helpful and just makes you more miserable. But, because most of the
things we worry about don’t end up happening, what’s reinforced in the brain is, ‘I worried
and it didn’t happen so I should continue worrying.'”
For this study, the researchers recruited 96 college students. Participants included
32 people with generalised anxiety disorder, 34 people with major depressive disorder,
and 30 controls with neither disorder. When the participants arrived in the lab,
the researchers led them through relaxation exercises before having them watch videos
that may elicit fear or sadness. The participants then answered a list of questions designed
to measure how sensitive they were to changes in their emotional state. For example, some
people may be uncomfortable with the negative emotions incited by the videos right after
relaxing, while others might find the relaxation session helpful in dealing with those emotions.
Next, the researchers led the participants through a relaxation session once more before
having them fill out a second survey. These questions were designed to measure the participants’
anxiety during the second relaxation session. After analysing the data, the researchers
found that people with generalised anxiety disorder were more likely to be sensitive
to sharp spikes in emotion while going from feeling relaxed to feeling scared or stressed.
Additionally, this sensitivity was linked to feeling anxious during sessions intended
to induce relaxation. The researchers found similar results in people
with major depressive disorder, although the effect wasn’t as strong.
Kim said he hopes the results — recently published in the Journal of Affective Disorders
— may help clinicians provide better care for people with anxiety.
“Measuring relaxation-induced anxiety and implementing exposure techniques targeting
the desensitisation of negative contrast sensitivity may help patients reduce this anxiety,” Kim
said. “Also, it would be important to examine relaxation-induced anxiety in other disorders, such as panic disorder
and persistent mild depression.” Okay, that’s the end of the article,
I hope it was enjoyable for you. If you did enjoy
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Written by Valentin Lakin
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