5 Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

Feeling stressed and anxious? No wonder. You have a “to do” list that never seems to get shorter and too little time to do everything. Stress manifests in a number of ways: headaches, vague aches and pains, sleep problems, general jitteriness, headaches, difficulty sleeping and upset stomach, to name a few. Deal with stress on a too frequent basis and you’ll end up with health problems like high blood pressure or heart disease. When stress strikes, don’t relegate yourself to “toughing it out.” Instead, use one of these five relaxation techniques to help you unwind.

Creative Visualization

When stress rears its ugly head, take a few minutes to relax and visualize a peaceful scene in your mind. You might envision walking on a quiet trail in the woods enjoying the sights and sounds of nature or unwinding on a beach as the sound of waves crash upon the shore around you. Use as many senses as you can — sight, sound, smell and taste — to place yourself in your imaginary situation. The goal is to remove yourself from a stressful situation until you feel calmer. Visualization takes practice but once you’ve mastered it, you can use this technique any time you feel stressed out.

Deep Breathing Meditation

Most people breathe too shallowly. When you’re anxious and stressed, you breathe shallow AND fast. Breathing too quickly upsets the acid-base balance in your blood and makes you feel more anxious. Instead, focus on your abdomen, not your chest, when inhaling and exhaling. Each time you take a breath, breathe in deeply and feel your abdomen move inwards. As you breathe out, your abdomen should slowly fall. Here’s another technique. When you feel anxious, breathe into a paper bag for 30 seconds to a minute. Doing this helps correct the pH imbalance in your blood and reduce anxiety.


Like visualization, self-hypnosis takes you into a more relaxed state of mind. You don’t have to see a counselor or go to a class to learn the art of self-hypnosis. Look for low-cost and free tapes and videos online and learn how to hypnotize yourself at will. Once you’ve learned, use this time-tested technique whenever you feel stressed or anxious. For some good self-hypnosis downloads can be found at www.instant-hypnosis-downloads.com/

Progressive Relaxation

Progressive relaxation is a technique you can use to release muscle tension. Focus on squeezing a muscle group tightly and then slowly relaxing it. Gradually move from one muscle group to the next as you tighten and relax. For example, tightly curl your toes and then relax them. Clench your fists tightly and let them go limp. Feel the tension leave each muscle group as you release it. Start at your toes and slowly move up your body tightening and relaxing each muscle group. You can do this while sitting in a chair or lying down.

Empty Your Mind Technique

When your mind is crowded with many thoughts and worries, it overwhelms you and makes you feel stressed and anxious. Do a “mind dump” when too much information builds up. Write down all the things you’re worried about on a piece of paper, but don’t censor yourself. Jot down everything that comes to mind. Then tear the paper up and place it in the trashcan. Out of sight, out of mind. This is a great way to clear your head at the end of the day. You may also find writing in a journal is a good way to relax.

The Bottom Line

Once you’ve mastered one or more of these relaxation techniques you can use them any time you feel stress coming on. Don’t let stress overwhelm you. Take action by mastering one of more of these stress relief techniques.

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