What are the Different Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety?

Laura M. Sands

Relaxation techniques for anxiety include relaxation exercises, deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy treatments, yoga and music therapy. Regular physical exercise, creative visualization and meditation are also effective stress management techniques. Relaxation techniques such as these can go a long way in reducing stress and improving the quality of a person’s life.

Doing yoga can help with anxiety.
Doing yoga can help with anxiety.

Relaxation techniques for anxiety essentially fall into one of four main categories, which include meditation, breathing, muscle relaxation and mind-body awareness exercises. While many assume meditation to be a complicated exercise, most people can learn how to meditate with repeated practice. In doing so, the mind is forced to remain focused on a single thought or mantra while taking a break from stressful, uncontrolled or incessant random thoughts.

Massage is a popular tool for relaxation.
Massage is a popular tool for relaxation.

Deep breathing exercises are also considered to be among the best relaxation techniques for anxiety. When feeling stressed, many people tend to engage in shallow breathing and some may even breathe at rapid or otherwise erratic patterns. Deep, slow breaths, however, tend to increase the flow of oxygen so that the brain, the mind and the body can relax while also benefiting from increased blood circulation.

Using an aromatherapy candle may help relieve anxiety for some people.
Using an aromatherapy candle may help relieve anxiety for some people.

One particular technique used to help people relax when feeling anxious or stressed is known as progressive relaxation. By focusing attention on the body’s muscles while tensing the muscles for several seconds and then relaxing them, individuals are able to enjoy the relief that accompanies letting that tension go. As one of the more common relaxation techniques for anxiety, experts and others who have used this technique recommend starting with the muscles at the top of the body and slowly working through all of the other muscles in a downward succession with the toes being the last to engage in this exercise.

Deep breathing exercises may help control feelings of anxiety.
Deep breathing exercises may help control feelings of anxiety.

Visualizing a peaceful environment or activity is also one of the more effective relaxation techniques for anxiety. By simply closing the eyes for several minutes while envisioning being surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature or some other relaxing environment, the mind can be temporarily distracted from the anxiety or stress that is being felt. Proponents of this and other relaxation techniques for anxiety believe that doing so helps rejuvenate the mind and helps in stimulating rest and restorative sleep, which both also help reduce the effects of stress.

Deep breathing can help people relax in stressful situations.
Deep breathing can help people relax in stressful situations.

Some relaxation techniques for anxiety can be used in tandem with others for optimal effectiveness. For instance, one may choose to visualize a peaceful setting while practicing deep breathing exercises. Other techniques may also be combined with hot baths or a body massage, which are also useful in relieving anxiety.

Taking a warm bath may alleviate anxiety while improving overall relaxation.
Taking a warm bath may alleviate anxiety while improving overall relaxation.
Some people have a glass of wine at night to relax from the day.
Some people have a glass of wine at night to relax from the day.
A bath using relaxing bath salts can help with anxiety.
A bath using relaxing bath salts can help with anxiety.
Visualizing a peaceful environment is an effective relaxation technique for anxiety.
Visualizing a peaceful environment is an effective relaxation technique for anxiety.
Many people enjoy unwinding with a good book.
Many people enjoy unwinding with a good book.
Spending a night at home watching TV can help relieve anxiety.
Spending a night at home watching TV can help relieve anxiety.
Some people find taking a hot shower to be relaxing.
Some people find taking a hot shower to be relaxing.
Spending some time floating in a pool can be relaxing.
Spending some time floating in a pool can be relaxing.

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