6 Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Calming anxiety is not easy, especially at the moments when you think it’s out of your control. But there are special relaxation techniques for managing anxiety that you can learn and practice regularly. You can use them when you are stressed or worried because they address your body’s stress responses and help you relax. If you practice any of them just a few minutes a day, you’ll be able to stop your anxiety from reaching those levels when it can negatively affect your lifestyle.

In essence, relaxation techniques imply strategies used in reducing anxiety and stress. These approaches can also be applied in managing the symptoms linked to panic disorders. These strategies work by managing stress reaction or the flight or fight response that is often associated with anxiety disorders. Anxiety management techniques lower heart rate, reduce bodily tensions, and improve relaxation response. Here are effective relaxation techniques supported by research.

Deep Breathing Exercises

Breathing exercises are the mainstay of relaxation exercises for anxiety and are easy to master. Breathing techniques focus on taking deep, slow, even, and deliberate breaths. The objective of these exercises is to aid slow and deep breathing, which allows a person to feel more relaxed and refreshed. The good news is that the exercises also allow people to focus on their breathing, thereby clearing their minds. They are effective in lowering muscle tension as well as relieving some common symptoms associated with anxiety and panic.

There are numerous breathing exercises that you can perform to help with relaxation. The most common one is belly breathing. This requires you to lie or sit in a conformable position. After that, place one hand on your belly just underneath your ribs and the other on your chest. Then, take in a deep breath through your nose, allowing your belly to push out your hand without moving your chest. You should then breathe out the air through pursed lips and feel the hand on your belly go in. Repeat the exercise for three to ten minutes.

Other popular breathing exercises include:

  • 4-7-8 breathing
  • Roll breathing
  • Morning breathing

You should remember that the way you breathe impacts your mental and physical health. Also, breathing exercises are an incredible way to reduce muscle tension and relieve stress. The exercises are easy to learn and can be done at any time or place without the need for complicated tools or equipment.

Visualization Exercises

Another powerful way to relax and reduce anxiety is by visualizing. Although it may sound counterintuitive, success is achieved in relaxation when one combines visualization and meditation. When you visualize, the objective is to focus on a specific object, event, or goal that you desire to attain. You should hold this in your mind, and imagine a positive outcome being a reality.

Visualization works as a mindfulness technique, although it can also be used to enhance conventional meditation. Research shows that visualization is linked to improved athletic performance, relief of anxiety and depression symptoms, pain relief, improved relaxation, as well as better quality of sleep.

Ever heard of the concept of finding a happy place? Visualization essentially means creating a mental picture that can calm your body and brain and make you feel relaxed. When going through an anxiety or panic attack, find a comfortable and quiet place and visualize your ideal place to relax.

The image should be something, real or imagined, that you find peaceful and calming. Consider all the details of this place, including smells, feels, and sounds. Imagine yourself in this happy and relaxing place, taking slow and deliberate breaths. You can visualize this place any time you feel anxious or panicky.

Self-Massage Technique

Self-massage is also a great way to relax. You may be already aware that professional massage in the health club or spa has the ability to reduce stress and tension. However, it is also possible to enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage in the comfort of your home, thanks to self-massage.

Consider spending a few minutes massaging yourself, whether at your desk or on the couch. You could even use scented lotion or aromatic oil to enhance relaxation. It is also possible to combine self-massage with other techniques, including deep breathing and mindfulness.

Relaxation by Counting

Many people use this technique, and you can consider it too when feeling anxious or stressed. Research shows that counting is highly effective when looking to ease anxiety. When you feel nervous or pressured, find a comfortable and quiet place somewhere to sit and close your eyes. Then, count slowly from one to ten. If necessary, you could repeat the exercise several times or count beyond the number ten. Do it until you feel that your anxiety is gradually disappearing. Counting can help you relax quickly as it gives you something else to focus on and can be used in busy or crowded places where anxiety management techniques that require privacy may not be ideal.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Another relaxation technique that is commonly used to relieve anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation. It requires one to tighten and release various muscle groups, thereby lowering tension and reducing anxious thoughts. When you focus your attention on letting go of stress throughout your body, there is the benefit that your mind will also be relaxed.

Yoga and Meditation

Meditation and yoga can also help you relax. These approaches have been used for decades and can help people relieve tension throughout their bodies. They also enhance concentration and help you feel calm and more balanced. Meditation can be used as a standalone technique or can be incorporated into yoga practice.

Many people around the world already use yoga and meditation to reduce and relieve morning anxiety. This way, they always start their days feeling relaxed and refreshed. You can also use meditation at the end of the day to let go of built-up pressures and tension.

Final Word

In this article, we’ve provided you with easy tips on how to reduce anxiety using popular relaxation techniques. They require regular practice to perfect, so you should set aside at least 15 minutes a day for them and be patient. Also, keep in mind that the relaxation techniques tend to be more effective when incorporated into general self-care and wellness strategies.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more