4 practical relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety
Jun 23, 2022
Anxiety is a problem that constantly crosses us today. Our mind wants to control a situation or obtain guarantees that everything will turn out well, and ends up focusing entirely on the future., preparing and anticipating for a scenario that, many times, may never actually happen.
Of course, mental anxiety has its correlate on the physical plane. Our body perceives the effects of thought and reacts accordingly.
- Related article: "What is anxiety: how to recognize it and what to do"
Recommended techniques to reduce anxiety
In this article we will see several relaxation techniques that will help you reduce anxiety recovering the awareness of the present moment, and along with it the fullness and happiness of being here and now.
1. attention to breathing
Since ancient times, Buddhists have known the importance of paying attention to our breathing to calm the mind and restore happiness. Later, many of these techniques came to the West under the name of mindfulness to help treat anxiety.
The technique of attention to breathing to which we are referring proposes
To practice this technique, focus your attention on the area of the nostrils, below the nose. Observe how the air goes in and out, but without wanting to alter the rhythm of the breath. If you get distracted by thoughts or mental images, come back as soon as you remember to attend to your breath, but no worry or frustration from distraction.
You will see that after a few minutes, your mind begins to focus and thoughts stop being so turbulent, experiencing greater relaxation. You can practice with your body lying down, but it is recommended to do it sitting down, either in a chair or on the floor in a comfortable position.
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2. Attention to bodily sensations
Another powerful mindfulness practice to relax and reduce anxiety is body scans or attention to bodily sensations. This allows us to develop equanimity, that is, the ability to observe what happens to us without yearning or rejection, which translates into a greater presence and less anxiety.
To perform this exercise, you can be in a lying or sitting position. Starting from the top of the head or feet, you run through each part of the body with your attention., taking large or small portions depending on what is most comfortable for you and from top to bottom, or from bottom to top.
In the event that thoughts capture your attention, you return to bodily sensations as soon as you become aware of the distraction. This method will give you a mental training capable of reducing anxiety or relaxing the body of accumulated tension. But remember: the attention should be on the body and its sensations, not on the thought. It is also important that you do not stop moving your attention. After a few minutes of practice you will see the results.
- Related article: "Body scan: what is it and how is this relaxation technique performed"
Rooting or grounding is a central technique in various disciplines, both Eastern and Western. It consists of allowing our feet to settle firmly on the ground and the muscles of the legs to activate. This connection with our lower limbs has a highly explored therapeutic effect in various practices such as Qigong (Chi Kung) or Bioenergetics.
To do this, you need to stand with your feet parallel at a hip-width distance from each other. In addition, it is suggested to slightly close the feet, about 5 or 10 degrees inwards, to release tension in the sacral area. Then slightly bend your knees. The general rule is that these should not extend beyond the toes.
Remain in this position with attention to the soles of the feet and legs, for about 5 minutes or more (although it can be tiring) is a great tool to "stop the mind", reduce anxiety and relax the nervous system.
At the end, you can slightly shake the legs.
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From the Eastern tradition of Yoga comes another wonderful technique to relax the mind and reduce anxiety: pranayama or breath control.
Unlike the mindfulness of breathing technique, here we do look for a regulation of the air that enters and that leaves. Numerous studies emphasize the importance of correct breathing to achieve a correct balance of the nervous system and promote a positive attitude.
There are various techniques for regulating breathing, one of the simplest is known as "square breathing", which consists of equalizing the times of inhalation, air retention, exhalation and new hold. There are 4 phases, each of which must last the same amount of time.
To practice it, we sit comfortably and with our backs straight, we make a total exhalation, and then we inhale in 4 seconds. At the end of the inhalation, we also hold for 4 seconds (we can use the index finger and thumb to obstruct the nostrils nostrils, if we wish), then we exhale for the same duration and at the end of the exhalation we make a new retention of 4 seconds.
We repeat this process for several minutes, trying to make our breathing complete., that is, expanding the abdomen, ribs and chest. Then we breathe normally. Without a doubt, when you do it, you will see that this technique contributes a lot to your relaxation, calming the mind and eliminating anxiety. You can also increase or decrease the number of seconds as you see fit.
Reducing anxiety through relaxation of the body and mind is possible, and above all a daily practice. As Aristotle said: "we are what we repeatedly do".
Incorporating these methodologies into your daily life, even for a few minutes, has lasting effects and extensive contributions to your psychophysical health.