5 Anxiety Exercises To Help You Deal With Anxiety
Your mind is racing, your heartbeat is off the charts, you are often in a constant state of worry, and you find it hard to focus on anything as your brain spirals to an immediate worst-case scenario. If you experience these things often, you are unfortunately suffering from anxiety. ‘Anxiety’ is nothing but a typical human reaction to stress which is very common due to the fast-paced lifestyle that has become a part of our daily routine.
According to a recent well-being survey, those in the age-group of 30-49 years – known as the “sandwich generation” – are the most stressed of the lot, followed by millennials. Heavy workload, family finance concerns and personal health concerns are some of the top reasons that cause stress and eventually, anxiety. Following are a few anxiety exercises that you can do anytime and anywhere to find relief from tension.
1. Deep Breathing
Anxiety makes your heart rate and breathing get a bit faster. You may also begin to sweat and feel lightheaded. Getting your breath under control can help you relax both your body and mind.
Follow these steps to keep your breathing in check:
- Sit in a quiet and comfortable place. Put one of your hands on your chest and the other on your stomach. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Your abdomen should expand, and your chest should rise very little
- Exhale slowly through your mouth. As you blow air out, open your lips slightly, but keep your jaw relaxed
- Repeat this process at least ten times or until you begin to feel your anxiety lessen
- You can perform this anxiety exercise as often as needed. It can be done standing up, sitting down, or lying down
- If you feel your symptoms are not decreasing, please seek medical advice. You can even reach out to medical service providers, who offer online clinical service, including trained psychiatrists, and health care personnel. Find out more here.
2. Relax Your Muscles
When anxiety strikes, you feel the tension in your muscles. This muscle stress can worsen your anxiety. By relieving the stress in your muscles, you can quickly reduce your anxiety levels.
- Find a quiet place. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe slowly into your nose and out of your mouth
- Use your hand to make a tight fist. Squeeze your fist tightly
- Hold your squeezed fist for a few seconds. Notice all the tension you feel in your hand
- Slowly open your fingers. You may notice a feeling of tension, leaving your hand. Eventually, your hand will feel lighter and more relaxed
- Try the same method with other muscle groups in your body, from your hands, legs, shoulders, or feet. Avoid tensing the muscles in any area of your body where you’re injured or in pain, as that may further aggravate your injury
3. Counting Helps You Relax
It might sound cliched. You may have seen it in many movies or series. But counting can help you relax as it gives you something to focus on besides your anxiety. When you feel anxiety washing over you, close your eyes and slowly count to 10. If necessary, repeat and count to 20 or an even higher number. Keep counting until you feel your anxiety subsiding. It’s a great tool to use in a crowded or busy space where other anxiety exercises might be more challenging to carry out.
4. Alternate Nostril Breathing
This breathing anxiety exercise can prove hugely beneficial in helping you move from thoracic to diaphragmatic breathing, as well as regaining focus when anxiety sends your thoughts into a spin. You can even sign up for online exercises on Cult which offers a range of helpful anxiety exercise videos that you can practise at home with a trainer – check them out here.
- Place your right thumb over your right nostril
- Breathe in through your left nose
- Put your finger over your left nostril and breathe out through the right nose
- This simple yet effective exercise can help you ease anxiety anywhere, anytime
5. Cultivate Good Habits
Good habits can keep anxiety away from you. So, it’s a good idea to develop a few good habits to deal with stress even before it strikes. After all, prevention is better than cure. Following are a few suggestions for adopting a more active lifestyle by making small changes to your routine.
- Walk the children to school, then jog home
- Speed up the housework. Tidy up faster until you feel warm
- Put some music on for a 10-minute dance
- Always have breakfast in the morning
- Use the stairs for journeys less than four floors
- Use your lunch hour to take a brisk walk or to do some exercise
- Don’t pick up the phone; walk to see a colleague
Out Of Home
- Don’t use a car/bike for short journeys.
- Get off the bus a stop earlier, or get on a stop later
- Jog and walk the dog
- Join an exercise/dance/swimming class
- Relaxation is a skill you learn, very much like physical exercise; it takes practice.
Choose an anxiety exercise and try it until you’re feeling less anxious. If one activity doesn’t work, try a different one. Because trying is always better than giving up. Always remember, sometimes it’s hard to make anxiety go away, but it’s possible to get relief, even if you feel caught up in it. Try these exercises and don’t let stress get in the way of living a happy and wholesome life.