January 27, 2021
Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent behavioral health problems in the Unites States, affecting nearly 40 million adults age 18 and older (amounting to 18.1 percent of the population) every year. While most anxiety disorders are treatable with medication and behavioral health treatment, some effective relaxation techniques can be practiced to relieve anxiety.
Listed below are four techniques that can help you relax during an anxiety attack:
1. Take a few deep breaths
You may have been told in the past to “take a few deep breaths” when you were feeling worried or upset about something. “On one hand this is helpful to just slow down and cool off. However, altering the speed of our breath actually can slightly change our body’s anxiety response. Slow diaphragmatic breathing is a developed technique that involves slowing down the breath to communicate “safety” to the brain”, suggest experts.
While we do not recommend that you use breathing techniques to try to eliminate anxiety when you are feeling anxious, it can be a way to get through a tough situation and calm the body some so that we can make a good decision about what to do next.
2. Mindfulness Helps Relax Anxiety
Mindfulness is a way to practice observing but not reacting to anxiety and other emotions. It helps people to accept or tolerate these emotions, rather than responding to them negatively.
Mindfulness can cause a calming effect on the brain by not reacting to the anxiety and not trying to fix it. It simply communicates to the amygdala that it is not dangerous and help address the problem of the “fear of fear.”
3. Muscle Relaxation
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) or simply muscle relaxation gradually makes us learn to release tension in the muscles through regular physical activity. This communicates our body to remain calm and safe during an attack, thereby reducing the body’s need to activate the “fight or flight” response.
4. Visualize Your Happy Place
Visualize it and believe it. If you are able to do it you can easily manage your anxiety. This technique requires you to conjure up soothing places, experiences, or scenes in your mind to help you relax and focus.
Guided imagery may help you reinforce a positive vision of yourself, but it can be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or find it hard to conjure up mental images. For those, we at Invictus can help them recover from their problems related to anxiety and depression.