Many people feel anxious or stressed without realising it; sometimes even when they think they are calm! Here are some quick tips to easily release tension and reduce anxiety.
1. Slow your breathing: breathe in while counting three seconds, hold the breath for 3 seconds, then exhale over three seconds. This is even better if you use your diaphragm (belly) to breathe instead of your chest.
Often when we are anxious or tense, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid, which is an ineffective way to use the breathing muscles, and to circulate oxygen through our systems.
2. Move your body: stretch, touch your toes, go for a walk, change position.
This is effective for loosening stiff muscles and for circulating that lovely oxygen. It’s great for blood pressure and concentration too.
3. Distract yourself: phone a friend, go for a walk, spend time with a pet, do a craft, play music, have a drink of water, or simply be mindful of your surroundings.
Too often when we are anxious, we focus all our attention on our thoughts, and disengage with what is really present in our lives.
4. Focus on something positive: think of a pleasant experience you have had, or pleasant sensations you have experienced. Remember the experience of being on a beach, the colours, shapes, sounds, smells and physical sensations. Recall the wonder and joy of watching your young children sleep.
The subconscious mind is unable to tell the difference between what is real and what is imaginary. Have you ever noticed yourself smiling or laughing at a TV show, or crying when you think of a sad experience? It is impossible to remain tense and anxious when your mind is focussing on a positive or enjoyable experience.