5 Easy Exercises To Ease Anxiety
Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time, sometimes stronger than others. It is a natural reaction to stress on the mind and body, and you are not alone, despite what your brain may be telling you. Luckily there are some easy ways to help alleviate the anxiety you are feeling and relax.
Everyone should have anxiety exercises in their repertoire. To simplify them, each of the following tools looks at different aspects of how the body handles stress such as heart rate, breathing, and muscle tension, and gives ways to calm each of these. You are looking to switch yourself from a state of heightened response to one of relaxation.
One of the body's natural responses to stress is rapid breathing. This lack of deep breaths can cause your anxiety to spike even more. Learning to control your breath will help you take your mind away from any anxiety to concentrate on something else.
Start by finding a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on slowing your breath. First, breathe in deeply through your nose (feel your lungs fill with air). Then breathe slowly out through the nose, eventually working your way back to normal mouth-to-nose breathing.
While it sounds cliche, putting your mind in your “happy place” is a great way to reduce anxiety. Closing your eyes and visualizing every small detail of a place that brings you joy can redirect your mind to more enjoyable things like the sights, sounds, and smells of your favorite place instead of whatever is causing you stress.
Stress and anxiety often cause us to make our muscles tense, sometimes even unknowingly. Doing muscle relaxation exercises can help twofold. Not only does it help ease the tension you are feeling, but going from muscle to muscle and making sure to focus on making it tight then slowly relaxing, our mind cannot focus on the thoughts bringing on the stress.
Our minds can be our biggest enemy during times of stress and anxiety. Simply focussing on something as mundane as counting can bring on feelings of peace. Picking something like counting to a number but counting out of order, backward, or by twos until you make sure all the numbers are done can help calm the brain.
Grounding in the Present
One reason for anxiety is thinking too forward with the possibilities of the future and different scenarios that do not (or may never) exist. By focussing on what is simply around you in your current space, you can stop thoughts from looping through your mind. Look around and find things you can touch, see, hear, and smell. Recognize them and acknowledge them as you discover each item. This will incorporate all of your senses and ground you to the present time.
Anxiety is a feeling everyone experiences. It is not uncommon for your mind to work against you and cause feelings of stress or physical experiences like heart palpitations and breathing problems. Having these simple tools will help you to quickly refocus and move beyond your anxiety.