Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

One of the best ways to deal with anxiety from any source is through relaxation. There are several relaxation techniques for anxiety that all work well for some people. There are two primary keys that determine how well any relaxation technique works for you. One, it must be a technique you can enjoy. Two, you must practice it frequently.

If you enjoy a relaxation technique, you’re more likely to continue using it. And the more you practice using any technique, the better it works for you. With all of the techniques in this article, using them frequently will deepen the relaxation you feel each time you use them and the longer that relaxation will last.

Deep Muscle Relaxation

This is one of the easier to master relaxation techniques. It takes only a few minutes to achieve relaxation and it gets easier the more you use it to get relaxed. The idea behind it is to tense and relax the major muscle groups of your body, starting with your feet.

To get the full benefit of this technique, start by sitting in a comfortable chair with your feet flat on the floor. With the rest of your body as relaxed as possible, you’re going to tense the muscles in your feet and legs first by pushing down with your toes as if you’re pushing through the bottom of your shoes.

Study the tension that builds in your feet and legs as you do this. Then, shift the tension by pulling your toes toward your face as if you’re going to touch your nose with your toes.

Study the tension this brings. After a few seconds, relax your feet and legs and take in a deep breath. Hold it as long as you can, then slowly exhale as you relax your feet and legs more.

Next, tense the muscles in your buttocks by squeezing the cheeks of your buttocks together. Study this tension for a few seconds. Then relax your buttocks and take in a deep breath. Hold it as long as you can, then release it slowly, relaxing your buttocks more.

Next, tense the muscles of your stomach by pulling it in as far as you can. Study the tension this brings for a few seconds. Then relax your stomach and take in a deep breath. Hold it as long as you can, then let it out slowly while relaxing your stomach more.

Next, tense the muscles in your hands and arms by holding your arms out in front of you, palms down, elbows bent slightly. Pull your hands back toward your face and hold this position. Study the tension in your hands and arms. Next, push your fingers down toward your toes and hold this position. Study this tension for a few seconds. Then relax your arms and take in a deep breath as before. Hold it, then slowly let it out, relaxing your arms more.

To build the tension in your shoulders and neck, shrug your shoulders up and try to touch your ears with them. Study the tension that builds with this for several seconds. Then relax your shoulders, let them come down farther and farther. Take in a deep breath, hold it, then slowly let it out while relaxing your shoulder more.

This exercise shows you the difference between feeling tense and feeling relaxed. You can identify tension in one of these muscle groups more easily and take care of it after doing this exercise several times.

Belly Breathing. Learning how to breathe like a baby again is another good relaxation technique. Lie down on your back and place one hand on your belly just above your belly button. When you breathe in, use your diaphragm and make that hand on your belly go up. This fills your lungs better with air and helps you get away from the rapid breathing so common with anxiety.

Visualize.  This exercise is a good way to take a “mini-vacation” and relax. The idea here is get in mind a place where you have felt comfortable, relaxed, and safe. It can be anywhere you have been or can be a made-up place.

Get this place in mind so clearly that you can see what was there, feel what was there to feel, and even smell the odors associated with that place. For example, if you choose the beach, get it in mind wo that you can hear the waves and sea gulls, feel the sun’s warmth on your body, and the cooling breeze off the water.

This takes practice and some effort at first to get all the sensations possible from that place in your mind. The more you work at this, the easier it gets to put yourself there.

Combine these three techniques for a wonderfully relaxing experience.

Focus on the Now. In this exercise, you will focus on only one part of your experience right now. It may be the way the wind feels on your face as you take a slow walk. It can be the way your favorite food tastes as you eat it. Or it can be the pleasing sounds of your favorite music. Whatever it is, focus on only one part of what’s going on with you at this time.

Give Yourself A Massage. Wrap a couple of tennis balls in a small towel and use this to massage your neck and back. Move it over your neck and back as if you’re drying yourself off after a shower or bath.

Exercise. Not everyone understands how exercising can actually be relaxing. Yes, you’ll be tensing up some muscles, but the exercise itself will release endorphins, the body’s natural anti-anxiety chemicals. And afterward, you’ll find yourself less tense and becoming more relaxed as you recover from the exercise.

Positive Affirmations. Add to these techniques positive affirmations about yourself. Talk to yourself and reinforce your good qualities. You may want to adopt some positive slogan as your mantra for living. Keeping this in mind continually will relax you mentally.


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