Relax Using These Anxiety Exercises


Everyone feels a little anxious from time to time.

Their anxiety spirals out of control for some people and can become dangerous and debilitating. If you are frequently experiencing uncontrolled anxiety, reach out to a therapist or mental health professional.

In more moderate cases, plenty of self-help techniques can help you relax and manage your anxiety.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Stress and anxiety live in your body as much as they do in your mind. Progressive muscle relaxation involves stretching or flexing different muscle groups as you breathe in, then relaxing them as you breathe out.

  1. Clench your fists for a few seconds, then let go.
  2. Bend your hands at the wrist and extend your forearms, and relax.
  3. Flex your biceps, and then release.
  4. Stretch your arms in front of you or above your head, drop the tension.
  5. Shrug your shoulders up to your ears, roll them back down, then let the stress fall away.
  6. Raise your eyebrows up and down, then close your eyes tightly, then relax.
  7. Smile widely, stretch your mouth and nose area in every direction, then allow it to rest into a gentle smile.
  8. Carefully stretch your neck by moving your head from side to side, then release.
  9. Arch and bend your back in every comfortable direction, then settle into a relaxed, upright posture.
  10. Clench your hips and buttocks tightly, then release.
  11. Flex your thighs, then your calves, and then relax.
  12. Bend and extend your knees, then your ankles, and then relax.
  13. Clench your feet and toes tightly, and then let go.
  14. Repeat whichever steps feel best to you, and take as much time as you need.

By relaxing your muscles this way, you can usually feel the anxiety melting away.

Mindful Breathing

When we are anxious or panicking, we breathe differently than when we are relaxed.

Observe the rhythm of your breathing when you are calm. And when you are feeling anxious, make an effort to bring your attention back to your breath. Notice how it differs.

Start by just becoming aware of how you are currently breathing without trying to control it. As you continue to relax, watch as your breathing slows. Breathe low into your belly. Breathe all the way out. Readjust your posture to unblock any tension obstructing these deep breaths.

Visualization and Positive Thinking

Once you’ve relaxed your muscles into an upright posture and brought your awareness to your breath, steer your thoughts toward something joyful.

Remember a happy moment when you felt completely at ease, surrounded by the people and things that bring you peace.

Or imagine something new, adventurous, or fun. Immerse yourself in these visualizations. Hear it. Feel it.

You can also try something simpler, like repeating a positive affirmation.

By letting go of the tension held in your body and shifting your thoughts to positive and tranquil experiences, you can calm the storm of anxiety within you. You can find a better mood by searching inside yourself.