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Anxiety is a normal response to stressful experiences. However, there are times when anxiety can get the best of you and begin to impair your quality of life. There are simple exercises you can practice to help bring down the symptoms of your anxiety. These exercises can be completed quietly and privately, no matter if you find yourself in traffic, at home, or at the office.
Anxiety causes your breathing pattern to shorten and become shallow. You may even begin to experience other symptoms like dizziness and lightheadedness. Slow your breathing by following these steps:
- Sit in a comfortable position. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply into your diaphragm – your stomach should expand more than your chest does if you are doing this correctly.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose and keep the hand on your chest steady. Notice your belly expand. Release your breath through your mouth slowly.
- Repeat 10x or until you feel your anxiety subside.
Practice Relaxing Visualizations
Do you have a favorite place that brings you peace and comfort? For some, nature can be a comforting place, while others find relaxation thinking of home with loved ones. Using the power of visualization, you can transport yourself to this peaceful place all your own at any time, anywhere.
When you feel anxiety coming on, pause to find a comfortable position. Hold the image of your peaceful place in mind – you can incorporate imagination here and imagine the smell of your favorite place, the textures, and temperature of the space. Once you are holding this image with all its details, close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and intentionally. Keep doing this until your anxiety symptoms disappear or lessen significantly.
Relax Tense Muscles
Your muscles will naturally tense up as a response to anxiety. To relieve this tension, practice the following steps:
- Position yourself comfortably and close your eyes. Take deep, slow breaths.
- Make a tight fist with your hand. Hold it for a few seconds and release. Notice the tension leave your hand.
- Slowly open your hand and become aware of how you are feeling. Notice how your hand feels more relaxed.
- Continue this process with different muscles throughout your body: your legs, shoulders, even your jaw. Notice how this exercise invites relaxation all over your body.
Use Counting to Relax
Counting is a very easy way to combat anxiety. When you begin to feel anxiety creep up, pause to find a comfortable place to sit. Take a deep, slow breath and close your eyes upon your exhale. Count to 10 and repeat as necessary, making sure to keep your breath slow and steady.
Anxiety exercises are effective because they tackle the reactions your body has to stress. Try these simple exercises the next time your find yourself battling anxiety.