Do you feel like you can’t control your worry? Do you constantly anticipate that something bad will happen to you?
When you’re struggling with anxiety, it may seem impossible to stop your racing thoughts. These thoughts can become all-consuming, and if that’s the case, it’s also challenging to live in the present moment.
Some simple exercises can help reduce the intensity of some of these negative thoughts or feelings. Learning the different types of relaxation techniques can help you find much-needed relief. Let’s get into what you need to know.
You have probably heard about the benefits of meditation. But have you given this relaxation technique a fair chance yet? Many people find the idea of meditation intimidating and struggle to start because they falsely assume they need to “master” meditation to reap the benefits.
There are two popular kinds of meditation. Mindfulness meditation refers to focusing on your breath or body or the present moment. Guided meditation, on the other hand, might entail listening to a script related to relaxation. If you're not sure how to start, try an app such as Calm, Headspace or Aura.
Best of all? You don’t need to commit that much time to feel better. Research shows that just ten minutes of mindfulness meditation can increase your positive emotions, reduce stress, and increase self-compassion.
The safe place guided imagery technique encourages you to temporarily escape from your current stress and into a more relaxing and pleasant place. You can do this technique anywhere and for as long as you need. This is one of my favorite anxiety relievers because it's so easy - it only requires a little imagination.
Get into a comfortable position and allow yourself to focus on somewhere positive and uplifting. This place can be real or imagined, but it’s usually the first or second place that comes to mind. Maybe it’s a beach. Maybe it’s a garden or your childhood home.
Meditate on the sensation of being in your safe place. What do you see? What noises surround you? How does the weather feel on your face? Allow yourself to experience the total immersion of your five senses.
Create A Positive Music Playlist
Music doesn’t just feel good to listen to while you’re driving or exercising. As it turns out, it’s beneficial for you as well. Research continues to highlight how music can play a profound role in improving mental health.
Create a working positive music playlist with songs that make you feel happy and engaged. Add a variety of songs to prevent boredom, and make sure you continue to add to your list as you think of new music.
Most of all, don’t judge yourself in your song selection! The point is to find and listen to music that brings you joy. When you feel stressed, pop in your headphones and relax. If picking a playlist isn't your thing, try listening to binaural beats - sounds created specifically to reduce stress and encourage relaxation.
Take A Brisk Walk
Routine exercise is one of the best relaxation techniques you can do! In fact, research shows physically active people tend to be profoundly happier than their more sedentary counterparts.
Exercise helps release positive neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It also reduces cortisol, the hormone closely associated with stress and anger.
You maximize your benefits when you take your exercise outdoors. Even a brisk walk around the block can do wonders for stress management. Consider building routine times throughout your day to add more physical movement. You’ll be boosting both your physical and mental health!
Journal Your Feelings
Journaling can help with stress management, and it can actually boost relaxation and emotional regulation. That’s because journaling allows you to process your thoughts and feelings. By putting it all down on paper, you enable yourself to release some of the pent-up intensity.
Journaling doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming to be effective. When you notice yourself feeling stressed, set a five-minute timer on your phone, grab some paper, and just start writing. Write until the timer goes off.
Don’t judge yourself for what you write. There are no guidelines or rules. The point is to just encourage yourself to express- without restrictions or qualifications.
How Therapy Can Provide You With More Types Of Relaxation Techniques
There are many types of relaxation techniques that you can learn. Different people respond to different interventions. Sometimes, it requires a trial-and-error process to determine what works best for you.
If stress continues to dominate your life, self-help strategies may only be effective to a certain point. You may benefit from professional support to manage your mood and emotions.
I specialize in treating anxiety and supporting people in their journeys towards wellness.