Anxiety Relaxation Techniques

  1. Take a deep breath – Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4 and repeat several times. 
  2. Accept that you’re anxious – Remember “anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling,” an emotional reaction, one that you can start to accept. Accepting your anxiety doesn’t mean liking it or resigning yourself to a miserable existence. The feeling of anxiety is less than ideal, but it is not intolerable. 
  3. Realize that your brain is playing tricks on you – It helps to remove the shame, guilt, pressure, and responsibility for fixing yourself or judging yourself in the midst of needing nurturing more than ever. 
  4. Question and challenge your thoughts – Remind yourself, however, that this isn’t a catastrophe. 
    1. Is this worry realistic?
    2. Is this really likely to happen?
    3. If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
    4. Could I handle that?
    5. What might I do?
    6. If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?
    7. Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
    8. What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?
  5. Use a calming visualization – Picture yourself in on a riverbank or outside in a favorite park, field, or beach. Assign your emotions, thoughts, and sensations to the clouds and leaves, and just watch them float by.
  6. Be an observer, without judgment – Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion, or without judgment. Put this on a 3×5 index card and keep this with you.
  7. Use positive self- talk – Tell yourself positive coping statements.
  8. Focus on right now – Pause, breathe, and pay attention to what’s happening right now.  Focus on the present moment, this will improve your ability to manage the situation. 
  9. Focus on meaningful activities – Focus on meaningful goal-directed activities. Ask yourself what you’d be doing if you weren’t anxious. Do what you would normally do. The worst thing you can do when anxious is to passively sit around obsessing about how you feel. This will help to keep you out of your head. Doing what needs to be done teaches you to key lessons, where you are able to live your life even though you’re anxious, you’ll get things done. Bottom line, stay busy with life, don’t sit around focusing on being anxious. 

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