Anxiety is an emotion that affects you over some time; it can appear from nowhere or slowly build up in your mind. It harms physical and mental health and should be prevented in the best case. But you cannot control how you feel ahead of time. That is where anxiety-reducing exercises come in.
Dealing with anxiety over a long time can disrupt your schedule and cause problems with your work, sleep, relationships, and other areas of your life. Whether navigating day-to-day anxiety or trying to rehabilitate as you emerge from a cycle of anxiety, having techniques to depend upon can be helpful. Now let us look at some of the best exercises to help you relieve and reduce anxiety.
Best Anxiety Reducing Exercises That Reduce & Relieve Anxiety
1. Visualize a calming, optimistic, or desirable scenario
Visualizing yourself in a relaxed, calming place through guided imagery helps you feel better and be present; it is based on the idea that your body is reactive to your thoughts. It can also be coupled with breathing or meditation for more significant results. Many platforms today provide nature sounds, different kinds of meditation, and guided imagery for anxiety so that you can find options easily.
When you start to feel nervous, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit. Think about where you’d like to relax. It could be any real or imagined location that’s easy to remember so you can recall it easily.
Consider the small details. Think about how the smell of the surrounding feels and sounds. Imagine yourself resting there.
After you’ve managed to engross yourself in the visualization, continue to concentrate and focus on your breath until you’re no longer anxious.
2. Practice meditation
Meditation has many techniques; some even say that yoga is a form of meditation. Practicing these forms of meditation can help you be more aware of how you think. Being so, you may start to identify negative or unhelpful thought patterns or triggers for anxiety that often precede your episodes of anxiety.
3. Talk to someone
Talking to someone about your anxiety can be a great relief; they will surely provide some insight or genuine attention to your condition. For example, talking to a friend or loved one can also help put your mind at ease.
A support group can also provide you with all the functions of therapy. It is a great way to socialize and meet other people who’ve gone through similar situations to you. You can choose the right support group by checking whether they have principles backed by a correct understanding of mental health and follow the necessary ethics.
4. Relax your muscles
Progressive Muscle Relaxation(PMS) is a technique known to have proven benefits for anxiety, as shown in a study by Kai Liu. The study also showed an increase in sleep quality for those practicing PMS. This technique is practiced by tensing up a group of muscles and then relaxing them. All the muscles in your body are relaxed this way – one at a time or progressively.
5. Get moving
The best exercise to reduce anxiety is exercise itself. Exercise boosts your immune system, provides more blood circulation, and strengthens your muscles. It also has proven effects in helping patients with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. You can do calisthenics, yoga, or move your body around by dancing or going for a run. Physical activity is the quickest way to take your mind off anxiety, as your senses strongly stimulate you.
6. Be grateful for what you have
Changing your cognition is usually a part of therapy, but you can also put in your effort to change how you think. One example is to stop worrying about things that are beyond your control. And start being grateful for what you have. Gratefulness makes you happier and more appreciative of everything and everyone around you. It makes you realize you’re not living in a situation of lack but rather abundance. Hence, it can be an essential tool for your recovery from anxiety.
7. Eat the right way
Eating healthy food helps reduce your chances of anxiety over time. Many deficiencies increase the risk of mood disorders such as anxiety or depression. But when it comes to food, how you eat is just as important as how you eat. Not chewing your food properly can lead to indigestion and, in some cases, choking.
Mindful eating exercises can help you avoid these issues while helping you savor all aspects of the food item through your senses. For instance, if you were eating a raisin, you would notice the sound it makes in your mouth, how it feels, how it smells, and taste every aspect of the raisin before finally consuming it.
8. Pay attention to your health
While exercise and health are essential components, there’s more to being healthy. For instance, you should limit the intake of alcohol and caffeine when suffering from bouts of anxiety. These drugs make you alert and more aware, hyperactive, and distracted. You can track the food you drink and consume, its nutritional values, and what effect they have on your body. These exercises will help you become more healthy.
9. Have a mental toolkit ready
Anxiety permeates all aspects of life and can occur to you anytime. Hence, it is essential to have a mental toolkit(a set of coping methods or behaviors) that helps you deal with anxiety. There are many apps today which provide you with such a toolkit for free. Unfortunately, being anxious at the workplace or facing other challenging situations is nothing new for many people. Jobs bring with them stress and frustration, which can easily turn into or increase anxiety. Things you can do to deal with that anxiety include:-
-counting to ten or start any train of thought that distracts you from anxiety,
-talking to a friend, your therapist, or a support group online,
-practicing breathing exercises and focusing on the stimulation from your senses, etc.
Anxiety Reducing Breathing Exercises To Calm Down & Relieve Anxiety
Breath is an effective method for controlling emotions like anger and anxiety. Your breath is always accessible and automatically regulated, making it perfect for emotional regulation. The most accessible breathing exercises are:-
-Observe your breathing: Among the anxiety-reducing exercises over time, observing your breathing may seem a little less stimulating at first. Breathing to relieve anxiety can be very effective, especially if you make it a routine. Whenever you’re anxious, begin to draw your focus to your breath.
-Deep breathing exercises: Inhale and exhale; feel your breath permeate every part of your body. Deep breathing is a part of many traditions, including yoga and martial arts. The latter emphasizes deep, controlled breathing, while yoga has many methods that use the breath in different ways.
When to get professional help? Many believe therapy is only for the mentally ill or those dealing with challenging emotions like anxiety. However, you can see therapy as a preventive measure, too. It improves your mental health, teaches you how to control emotions, increases your self-awareness, and makes you more resistant to disorders.
While there are many options available when it comes to therapy, these two are considered the best when dealing with anxiety:-
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT)
CBT works on changing the patient’s cognition and behavior to make them healthier. Changing your cognition of anxiety can help you see things from another perspective. For instance, you may start to see anxiety as a challenge rather than something that brings you down. Your habits are changed to adjust your lifestyle and make you pursue healthier options over time.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy(DBT)
Self-validation is one of the critical techniques in DBT. It includes accepting your anxiety by having a nonjudgemental attitude toward them and observing them. DBT also teaches skills like emotional regulation and distress tolerance.
Other therapy approaches are exposure therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy. You can also easily find different therapy modes depending on the people involved, including traditional, couples, teen, or family-oriented therapy. Discovering the right treatment plan for yourself can take some time but is worth it; here are some mental health therapy goals to get you started.
Anxiety is a harsh condition to navigate, but anxiety-reducing exercises can help you quickly return to a peaceful life. The journey to overcome or learn to deal with anxiety is long, but you can persevere as long as you start now. One of the best ways to build a habit or overcome an old addiction is to choose easy-to-achieve, measurable, and small goals at first. You can improve slowly and at your own pace; remember that your health comes first in any situation. To help you do the same, here is a list of short-term mental health goals.
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