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“Anxiety’s like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you very far.” – Jodi Picoult

It’s not easy to say goodbye to something that has been there for a long time, case in point – anxiety. If you’re like me who’s been living with anxiety and depression for the majority of their life, then you’ll understand when I say that the book never stays closed – not fully at least – when it comes to anxiety and even depression.

There could be unexplained triggers that you might encounter in your life that may bring back the one chapter you had closed oh-so-relieved. Yes, anxiety can come back years later, causing an anxiety relapse just when you thought yourself free from it all.

When anxiety turns up unexpectedly, it can derail your life in the most unpredicted ways – after all, you never know with anxiety. In any case, an anxiety relapse can throw all your well-thought-out plans out the window and make you feel like you’re back at square one.

This raises the question, “What to do when your anxiety comes back?” Let’s explore the reasons you may experience an anxiety relapse and how you can manage a relapse.

What Causes an Anxiety Relapse?

If you’re experiencing an anxiety relapse, then here are possible reasons why;

1. You’re experiencing uncertainties in life:

If there’s an event in your life that is causing you to feel uncertain about the future or if there is something that is making you fear the unknown, then your anxiety might be triggered because of that. Even moving to a new country, changing your job, or entering a new relationship can all cause you to experience an anxiety relapse.

2. You’re physically uncomfortable:

Yes, even when you have physical symptoms or problems such as headaches, migraine, or neck pain, then you might also feel anxious. Your physical state can also alter your energy levels making you feel anxious. Sometimes, the cause of the physical aches and pains might not be noticeable so they might cause you worry, flaring your anxiety.

3. You’re struggling with mixed emotions:

If you are struggling with uncomfortable and mixed emotions, then it may also be a trigger for your anxiety. Mixed or contradictory emotions such as happiness and guilt, anger and love, or such emotions can also make you feel a little anxious about your feelings. If you don’t know what you’re feeling, then it can make you feel uncomfortable about what lies ahead of you.

4. You’re overthinking too much:

Another reason why your anxiety has come back may include overthinking. When you overthink, you analyze and strategize. Sometimes, it may work in your favor but other times, it can only make you spiral out of control.

And let’s face it, we have a limited amount of energy that we can spend on thinking and if you expend that energy, what will you be left with if not anxiety? So, while overthinking might be your superpower, it could also trigger an anxiety relapse.

Tips to Manage an Anxiety Relapse

Here are some tips to help you when your anxiety comes back;

1. Figure out the source

When your anxiety comes back, what you can do is figure out what has triggered your relapse. Once you know the source of your trigger, you can work on eliminating it. There must be an event or an illness that must have caused your anxiety to come back after years.

If it’s a medical reason like a migraine, then you may consult a doctor about your symptoms. The same goes for mental health reasons. If you think your mental health is behind your anxiety relapse, then you can work on managing it accordingly.

2. Go back to physical exercising

It is believed that regular physical activity can also reduce symptoms of anxiety. So, whenever you feel your anxiety coming back, go back to physical exercising. When you engage in physical activity, the happy hormones – especially endorphins – increase, and endorphins are considered the natural painkillers of the body.

If you’re not up to a rigorous physical activity routine, then consider taking a 15–30-minute walk or jog. Even cycling for a few minutes or swimming in the summer can work wonders for managing your anxiety relapse.

3. Try meditation and other relaxation techniques

Did you know that meditation and deep breathing exercises can also help you manage unwanted anxiety and stress? If you find yourself in anxiety relapse, then try simple meditation practices to bring your attention back to the present and leave your thoughts in the past, where they belong.

It’s also important to understand that your anxiety relapse could send you into flight or fight mode, which can increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. While cortisol in minimal amounts can be good for you, in higher amounts, it can be harmful to your health. Meditation and relaxation techniques can help you calm your stress response, eventually helping you manage your anxiety response as well.

4. Speak to a professional

When nothing seems to work and your anxiety keeps coming back, then it is recommended you speak to a professional. A therapist can help you figure out what causes your anxiety relapse, what triggers you need to avoid, and how you can manage said triggers to keep your anxiety at bay.

Believe it or not, sometimes you don’t need a therapist to analyze your brain, but a support person who can listen to your worries without judgment. If you don’t find talking therapy comfortable, find a support group or reach out to a trusted person who can help you rationalize your thoughts and bring them in order.

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5. Seek medical help

Now, there won’t be many instances where you’ll need medical help aka medications for anxiety, but if it all comes to that when you can’t manage your anxiety with therapy and self-help alone,  then a psychiatrist may prescribe certain medications to help control your anxiety symptoms. Medications may also be prescribed when you’re struggling with severe anxiety or a panic attack relapse.

Although, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a doctor beforehand about the side effects of the medications as many of them can cause mood swings and physical distress, and can even worsen the symptoms.

Final Thoughts…

Anxiety is a part of life you can never bid a permanent goodbye to. Things can always work against you and trigger you to experience an anxiety relapse. Small changes to your routine, a job change, a new relationship, facing uncertainties, and even thinking too much about past events can trigger an anxiety relapse.

So, when you begin to wonder, “What to do when anxiety comes back?”, follow the above-listed tips to manage your anxiety relapse. Remember, even if it feels like you’re back to square one, you might not truly be there. And more importantly, you’re not alone.

If you need additional support and help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional therapist or a counselor or connect with us at info@calmsage.com. You can also share your thoughts with us in the comments below or leave us a message on our social media.

Take Care!

The post When Anxiety Returns: Tips for Managing an Anxiety Relapse appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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