If you are looking for relaxation techniques for anxiety that are simple to add to your daily routine, and fun to do, then this blog is for you.
If you’re suffering from anxiety and your thoughts are racing and your body is a bit stiff from holding it all in, please understand that there are no instant and best relaxation techniques for anxiety that you can adopt. But persevere with what we suggest, because when your blood pressure stabilises, your heart rate calms, your body relaxes – the whole of you starts to heal which is what you want.
Catch yourself in the right moment this week and try out a few different relaxation techniques that seem really very easy to do – find what suits you and your lifestyle, then give it a bit of practice. If you get organised and enjoy it, it will be easier to do when you get overwhelmed with your thoughts. Remember, you’re changing habits and beliefs (well done!) and just like learning to drive a car, you will need a few goes at it before you get it.
Take a Nap
Yes, really! You may be feeling overwhelmed and tired. If this is you, then one of the best relaxation techniques for anxiety is to take a nap. Most people who ‘hack their sleep’ and who are the most productive, advocate a nap. Set your phone alarm for 30 minutes. Find somewhere to nap (not sleep, don’t get into bed!). If you’re at work and your car is in the car park, then off you go. If you’re at home, lie on the sofa or go and lie on your bed. You might want to put something over your eyes, like a big headband, or eye mask. You might also want to put on some soothing music if that helps.
With a bit of practice you’ll find that you nap for around 20 minutes which is the optimum time, according to experts. Any more and you’re sleeping. Nap time means your whole body will have gone into one cycle of downtime, and your muscles will have relaxed.
The key is you have to give yourself permission to nap, to switch off, to let go, so say to yourself something like ‘I am going to nap for 20 minutes and I’ll be ready for the rest of my day after that’. Pick the best time of the day for you. I have friends who take a nap when they come in from work (they don’t have kids!). I nap in the afternoons if I’m feeling it’s all too much. I know it might feel weird in your head, but give it a go, especially if you are a sensitive person like me, and need to take yourself off for a little while after a busy day.
Dance it away
If you’re on the other end of the energy scale, and are agitated, restless and jittery, quiet relaxation techniques aren’t going to do it for you. You need to move that anxious energy out of your body and then you can relax. Find a music track that you really like – an upbeat, happy one that you know all of the words to. Stick your headphones firmly in your ears, turn up the volume and sing and dance your feelings out into the atmosphere. Do it like you know no-one’s watching – fling your arms around, jump up and down, holler out those words. Afterwards your whole body will feel different, and so will your mind.
Put your feet up
What you want to do is take the blood away from your head and get your circulation moving and calm your nervous system right down. Putting your feet higher than your heart is another of these great relaxation techniques for anxiety that will change your state. Take a look around your house – can you sit with your butt against a wall and your feet up? Can you find a space on the floor, put a chair there, add some cushions to lie on, and have your feet up on the chair? You might need to get creative. You’ll only need to do it for a few minutes before you feel that physically you’ve calmed down.
Meditation and relaxation
If you’re not already a seasoned meditator, when you hear someone tell you to meditate I bet you roll your eyes and dismiss it. It’s an obvious relaxation choice, but not always easy to do. That’s because when you’re anxious, sitting crossed legged with just your thoughts is not going to help much; you will very likely get lost in them. So think of meditation as a relaxation technique where you distract your brain by focusing on something else.
There are some great apps around. I like Headspace, which will give you a guided meditation from 2 minutes to an hour (!) for a small monthly subscription (although you can try it for 7 days for free). When you begin, you can sit on your sofa, on your bed, or on a comfy upright chair until you’ve got in the habit, then try sitting up straight (as it’s best with a straight spine). There’ s nothing quite like having a soothing voice and some music to feel held in a safe space. It’s like having a virtual cuddle, and we all could do with one of those.
Yoga relaxation techniques
If you are tense in your body, (which is likely) you might like to try yoga as one of your relaxation techniques for anxiety. Uninitiated yogis might roll their eyes, but I’m not necessarily talking about taking a class where everyone is as bendy as a pretzel, and you’re wondering why on earth you’re there. Gentle yoga stretches are a great relaxation technique as they will enable you to release the tension in your muscles bit by bit, and also distract your mind as you are learning (and you can learn from watching YouTube videos). You don’t need any fancy clothes or a mat if you don’t have one. Get a big fluffy towel on a space on the floor (I use my landing as it’s got the best carpet!). Wear comfy clothes (I’m usually in my PJ’s) and google relaxing yoga stretches on YouTube. You can work up to 15 minutes, but start with 3 or 4. Like Headspace you can also subscribe to an online yoga class if you get hooked. relaxation techniques for anxiety
So out of these, which one do you think you could try? Are you stuck to your phone? Would an app or a YouTube video work for you? Or are you exhausted and overwhelmed and could factor in a nap during the day instead? What you’re aiming to do is relax your body so your mind can follow. As well as physical benefits, you’ll also be able to think straighter, and find the motivation you desire.
Let us know in the comments which of these you’ll be trying!
Remember that you will need to practice and try out a few different approaches first until you find the right one for you. After all, you don’t drive a car after the first lesson, do you!
relaxation techniques for anxiety