If you struggle to handle excessive worrying or fear that you might suffer from anxiety, there is a lot you can do to help yourself. There are many ways to manage stress, be it through regular physical exercise, eating healthily, maintaining a sensible work and life balance and/or seeking support from a qualified counsellor. Incorporating relaxation exercises into your daily routine gives you some time to recharge, feel grounded and in control of yourself. It is an excellent strategy to prevent stress-related problems such as burnout, as well as to manage panic attacks.
The best relaxation practice is the one with which you identify the most. Below I suggest 3 techniques I usually recommend to my clients. To find out what works for you, test them out for free on YouTube. You can also purchase some very good audio CD’s at amazon and listen to them on your mp3 player. Make sure you do your relaxation exercises at least 5 days/week. The more committed you are to keeping a relaxation routine, the quicker you will enjoy its benefits.
Here are 3 relaxation techniques for excessive worrying and anxiety:
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
PMR focuses on the relaxation of muscle groups, one by one, starting on your toes and working your way up to your face and jaw muscles.
How it works: Contract a group muscle for 5 seconds and then release for 30 seconds while fully enjoying that feeling of relaxation.
Resources: if you prefer guided PMR exercises, I recommend the following:
The Relaxation Response is a meditation modality that concentrates on breathing, relaxation of the muscles and management of distractive/negative thoughts.
How it works: follow the steps below:
1- Find a comfortable position in a quiet environment.
2- Close your eyes.
3- Relax all muscles starting on your face and moving all the way down to your toes.
4- Focus on you breathing and say “one” in your mind when breathing out.
5- When a thought races through your mind, say “one” in your mind again.
Continue doing that for 10 to 20 minutes.
Resources: if you prefer guided Relaxation Response exercises, I recommend the following:
Visualisation is the practice of using the mind to picture oneself in a calm and safe place. Imagining yourself in a tranquil and pleasant environment helps you relax body and mind, while distracts you from negative and often unproductive thoughts.
How it works: Seat comfortably somewhere quiet. Close your eyes and mentally choose a safe, relaxing place as somewhere clean and calming. Imagine yourself in that place; enjoying everything it has to offer in a serene, tranquil and untroubled way. Feel your body and mind relax while you immerse yourself in that environment.
Resources: if you prefer guided Visualisation exercises, I recommend the following:
Ocean Escape (with music): Walk Along the Beach Guided Meditation and Visualization, by Relax For A While