Relaxation Techniques

Even when people with anxiety disorders have good days we often accumulate  a fair amount of stress. Below are some useful relaxation techniques. Not all of  them may help, but give them a go and see what works best for you.  We could all use some time to just relax a little and let go.

Progressive Relaxation.
This exercise is one that most people know how to do. It involves tensing and  letting go muscle groups progressively. It help release tension from your body.  To do this lay on your back , perhaps on your bed. Put on some  relaxing music to really benefit. Remember with all of these you are  trying to tense the muscles in your body and then let go.
 - Start with your toes. Press them down towards the ground. Hold for 5 seconds.
 Then release. Then try and stretch them towards the sky and backwards..
Hold for 5 seconds release.  

- Moving your ankles, push your feet towards the ground. Hold, release. Then pull upwards so that they are tensing back. Hold and release.
- Tense your calf muscles. Hold and release
- Tense your thigh muscles hold and release.
- Move on to your buttocks. Tense your muscles, hold and release.
- Follow with your tummy. Pull your muscles in gently. Hold and release.  Push your tummy out gently. Hold and release.
- Pull your shoulders up towards your head. Hold and release.
- Reach your arms out, stretch them and your fingers. Hold and release.
- Scrunch up your face, hold and release. Raise up your eyebrows. Hold and release.

 Once you have done this. Lay still for a little while and just enjoy the sensation of your body being relaxed. If a particular part of the body is very tense, for example the shoulders, repeat the shoulder exercise.


Breathing Techniques.

  Start by learning this technique while alone and in a quiet place. Eventually once you have mastered the technique, it can be practiced anywhere anytime.

- Lie with your back on the floor, using a mat or your bed if more comfortable.
- Place both hands on the lower edges of your ribs, with the fingers nearly touching.
- Breathe in deeply and smoothly through your nostrils. Feel your diaphragm  pulling out and down, your stomach rising and your ribs expanding upwards and outwards. Hold the breath for a few seconds.
- Breathe out smoothly. This requires no muscular activity, as all that happens is that your diaphragm muscles let go. The stomach should lower. Try and make sure you have expelled all the air that you inhaled.
- Breath normally for a minute or so then repeat as necessary.


Meditation when practiced on a regular basis has been shown to have some exceptional results with people who have anxiety disorders. It's not only a way to relax, but also a great way to slow your thoughts. Mediation can have a lasting benefit, not just a short term one. People who do mediate regularly seem to be able to be calmer their entire day. There are many types and ways in which you can meditate, below is just a simple form that has good benefits.

One warning about meditation, if you are on medications for anxiety, please talk to your doctor. Sometimes meditation can make the effects of anti anxiety medications stronger- you may need to lower your dose after a while once you have mastered the techniques.

How to meditate.

Firstly make sure you will not be disturbed for about 20 minutes, unhook the phone and find a comfortable place to sit.

Close your eyes and just gently try and empty your mind. Either focus on your breath going in and out (sometimes people have a problem with this one) or think of a word, such as calm or peace. Anything. Even just a number. Repeat it to yourself slowly. Meditation isn't necessarily thinking of absolutely nothing, it is more just letting go of your thoughts. Not getting tangled up in them and just being still. Sometimes you will lose yourself in your thoughts, this is o.k. in fact it is a natural part of meditation. When you notice that you have done this, just come back to focusing on your breath or your word. You will find that your thoughts will wander but the process is- to wander, then bring yourself back to the word, wander then bring yourself back. Slowly you will not wander so much and you will find that your thoughts have slowed. Just keep focusing on your word and let go. Do this for 20 minutes. Perhaps find , or make, a tape of relaxing music that is 20minutes long so you know when to stop. This can be very useful. When you have finished your meditation don't get up or try and open your eyes too quickly. Ease back into life. Sit still for a few more minutes after you have opened your eyes. 

Once you have learnt to meditate the key to it's success and it's impact in your life is practice. Try apply the technique once a day, or do 10 minutes twice daily. It can have a wonderful benefit to your life and you anxiety.