Stressed, Anxious When Things Are Good? 4 Ways to Handle It
Have you ever found yourself feeling stressed and anxious even when things are good? Everything is coming up roses, and you're enjoying the rose garden. Yet, frustratingly, you feel keyed-up, tense, and worried (Overwhelmed by Stress and Anxiety? How to Deal with It). When you reflect on your life, you are happy that, for the most part (nothing is ever perfect, after all), you are in control, your relationships are pretty positive, and you’re experiencing successes where you want them to be. In strolling through your beautiful rose garden, though, you still feel stress and anxiety. This is maddening. You don’t have to accept this. Here are four ways to handle feeling stressed and anxious even when things are good.
Feeling Anxious and Stressed When Things Are Good
Anxiety can be tied to external stressors in our lives. One would think that when various kinds of stress are reduced and things in our lives are good, anxiety would also calm down.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case. We can stop and smell the roses but notice every anxious sensation rather than the lovely scent of the flower. Despite outer calm, it’s possible to experience an increased heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing, headache, stomachache, sore muscles, fatigue, and more. (Anxiety Symptoms: Recognizing Signs of Anxiety)
Additionally, even though we don’t think we have specific worries, we can find that our mind is racing with vague, anxious thoughts; sometimes we’re not even sure what we’re anxious about or what we’re really thinking other than that our thoughts are spinning.
It can be disheartening to experience anxiety and stress when things in your life are good. Fortunately, there are things you can do about it.
Four Things to Do about Being Anxious and Stressed During Good Times
Reducing anxiety is largely about taking control. It’s about being in charge of your thoughts, feelings, physical body, and actions. This is the underlying principle of anxiety management regardless of whether your life is extra stressful or whether things are going well.
These tips can help reduce stress and anxiety even when times are good:
- Step away, even from the good. Are you putting pressure on yourself such as, "I love doing x, so I shouldn't be stressed and anxious." If you are pressuring yourself with shoulds and should-nots, notice it and switch directions for awhile. Take a 15-minute break to do something different and relaxing (read, walk, bike, crochet, color, watch a funny YouTube video etc.).
- Discover things that put you at ease and be intentional about doing them. Make them portable, doable, and simple (a stress relieving tea, an inspirational playlist, a screensaver on your phone with an inspirational image or quote, a favorite wristband you can snap and/or that serves as a reminder of what you love and so on). Doing little things to take your mind off anxiety is more effective in reducing anxiety and stress than just thinking about and cursing the thoughts.
- When the feeling of stress and anxiety invades your rose garden, remind yourself of what, specifically, is good in your life. Shifting your attention from stress and anxiety to remembering what is going well and what you love can be very effective in reducing anxious thoughts in the moment.
- Do nothing. Don’t fight the stressful and anxious thoughts and feelings. Instead, simply be. Breathe deeply. Be mindful of the moment. (Okay, deep breathing and mindfulness technically aren’t doing “nothing,” but they do involve just noticing and being.) Accept what thoughts and emotions float your way, and let them float right on by without attending to them.
Stress and Anxiety Don’t Have to Spoil Your Good
Feeling anxious and stressed even when things are good is frustrating, but it doesn’t change the good in your life. Things that are going well don’t take a turn for the worst just because anxiety is lingering. The rose is still a rose.
The best thing is to remember that we are not our emotions, but human beings experiencing a temporary emotion. – Jude Bijou
Peterson, T. (2016, May 12). Stressed, Anxious When Things Are Good? 4 Ways to Handle It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 14 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/05/stressed-anxious-when-things-are-good-4-ways-to-handle-it
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
A very helpful post. Thank you so much for sharing, and warm greetings from Montreal, Canada.
Warm greetings from the Pacific Northwest in the US! :) I'm very glad that you liked the post. Thank you for taking the time to comment!
I don't know if I have ever felt good and had anxiety at the same time. Usually, if I feel good then anxiety, or GAD, comes in and steals the moment. I feel good during the few times I feel good. But mostly it is anxiety and depression. Jogging has helped. So has therapy.
Anxiety is such a frustrating thing. You make a good point about it stealing moments of joy. I think that's a common complaint. Often, it's a good starting point for treatment -- reclaiming the good. Finding active things that help, like you have done, is powerful. I'm glad you shared with people here!
Anxiety hypnosis is another great tool to help people to manage anxiety. On a very basic level when used daily it can help to reduce feelings of stress so that you gradually feel calmer and more in control. With more complex hypnosis it is possible to identify the source of your stress if it is not immediatly obvious. Even though consciously you may not be aware of where the problem has come from subconsciously you are likely to have the answer.
Thank you for sharing this information. Hypnosis can indeed be a great tool, and I appreciate your posting this. There are many approaches to anxiety treatment, and there is something for everyone. It's helpful for people to know what's available.