Anxiety can impact our lives in various ways. Knowing how to reduce it and relax is an essential skill. However, it can be difficult to step aside and focus on alleviating it in every situation.
We put together this guide to help you learn how to reduce your anxiety and relax immediately. Keep reading to learn more!
Table of Contents
1. Stop and Breathe
Learning to stop and focus on your breathing when you’re feeling anxious is a great skill to learn. Doing so can help keep you grounded and start relaxing immediately. You’ll need to know to recognize when you start feeling anxious as well.
Stop everything you’re doing, and move to a quiet area if necessary. Then, sit upright, inhale through your nose, count to three, and exhale slowly. Every time you exhale, you should focus on tense areas in your body and relax. Relax your jaw, shoulders, and face with each breath.
Controlled breathing can help calm your nervous system and lower your heart rate. It even can help lower your blood pressure. All of these physical responses work together to make you feel more relaxed. Lastly, controlled breathing combats the hyperventilating that sometimes comes with anxiety.
Repeat this as often as needed to make yourself feel grounded. You’ll want to practice paying attention to your breathing whenever you feel anxious to make it into a habit.
2. Learn Somatic Therapy Skills
Somatic therapy focuses on the connection between mind and body. It is very effective at helping those with anxiety and PTSD. Learning this therapy’s skills will help you remain grounded and relaxed. Plus, you’ll feel more confident knowing what steps to take the next time you feel anxious.
An essential somatic therapy skill to learn would have to be body awareness, sometimes referred to as somatic awareness. Being aware of your body lets you recognize where you feel tense and lets you know when to use grounding techniques.
When you’re anxious, shift your focus to how your body feels. Actively try to relax your muscles. Then, you can practice grounding, which is another somatic therapy technique.
Grounding involves you sensing your body. How do your feet feel on the ground? Are there any areas of your body that feel very tense? Bringing attention to your body can help you relax since it brings you back into the moment.
Overall, somatic therapy can be highly beneficial to people who struggle with anxiety. You’ll learn many techniques that you can use during the day to help yourself relax instantly.
3. Practice Mindful Meditation
If you’re having a stressful day, you’ll want to step aside and practice mindful meditation. Looking up mindful meditation videos on YouTube can be helpful when starting out. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to meditate and relax. Eventually, you won’t need to use videos and can meditate anywhere.
To meditate, first, close your eyes. Then, say a mantra aloud or in your head and try to time it with your breathing. It’s okay if your thoughts drift; simply bring your focus back to your mantra and keep breathing.
Mindful meditation can train you to slow down anxious thoughts, ground you, and help you let go of negative feelings. It can take some time to learn this skill, but once you do, it can be an effective tool in managing anxiety and helping you to relax.
4. Listen To Soothing Music
Listening to relaxing music can lower your heart rate and blood pressure. You can make a playlist on your phone, so you can easily access something soothing to listen to, no matter where you are.
Music can also bring you into the moment, helping you remain grounded when anxious. Practice focusing on listening to the music without your thoughts drifting off too much.
We all enjoy different types of music, but you’ll want to ensure you have soothing songs available when you’re anxious. Songs with a fast tempo will raise your heart rate and have the opposite effect you want when attempting to manage anxiety.
5. Do Something Silly
Laughter can help you reduce anxiety and take your mind off of your stress. You can watch a funny video, have a fun chat with a friend, or read silly stories online. Laughing can even promote blood circulation and make your muscles relax, so you won’t feel as tense.
Laughing can also help you to relax instantly since it lowers your stress hormones. If you can’t laugh at the moment, you can also try smiling at yourself. Smiling also reduces stress, even if you don’t feel happy when you do it.
If you have access to a mirror, practice smiling or laughing in front of it when you’re feeling anxious. It may initially sound weird, but seeing yourself happy is an excellent grounding technique.
It also can cause the “mirroring” reaction when people imitate one another. Since you see a smiling, happy face, you’ll feel happier.
6. Do Some Exercise
Exercise can be a great way to relax. Physical activity releases endorphins that make you feel good and can help you release some excess energy that anxiety causes.
You don’t need to do anything intense to get this benefit. Instead, you can try tai chi, yoga, or simply spend some time stretching to reduce muscle tension.
7. Try the 3-3-3 Technique
You may also want to try using the 3-3-3 technique for grounding when you’re feeling anxious. To do it, you simply name three things you see, three things you can touch, and three things you hear. Doing so makes you bring attention to your body and senses, helping you relax.
As you name all these things, focus on slowing your breathing and paying attention to your body. You’ll feel the most relaxed this way.
Build Habits To Reduce Anxiety
Building good habits to reduce anxiety and relax instantly is essential. That way, you can fall back on these tools whenever needed. It can be harder to ground yourself when you’re anxious because your mind will wander, so making these techniques into reliable habits to fall back on is essential.