Learning how to use easy relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress is essential in today’s world. Stress may be a normal part of life, but when you have anxiety disorder, “normal” stress can feel unbearable.
People with anxiety experience stress more profoundly that those without it, which makes it even more important for anxious people to learn how to relax.
Here are some easy relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress that can benefit anyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder.
Easy relaxation techniques with forward bends
In yoga, forward bends are a type of very easy relaxation techniques. They increase blood flow and oxygenation in the brain, which automatically calms the mind.
- Stand comfortably, with your arms at your sides, then bend straight forward at the waist. Don’t force, and don’t try to touch your toes.
- Bend your legs at first. Completely cascade your upper body over your legs, like water flowing over a smooth rock. Let your upper body hang while you breath deeply.
- Slowly straighten your legs. Continue for one minute.
Try progressive muscle relaxation
These easy relaxation techniques for anxiety involves exaggerating the tension within your already tense muscles, then letting it go completely, bringing deep relaxation to every muscle in your body.
- Lie comfortably on your back with your arms resting at your sides, palms facing down.
- Slowly inhale and exhale deeply through your nose.
- Clench your hands into tight fists and hold them for 10 seconds. Visualize your fists clenching more and more tightly.
- Now let your hands relax. Upon relaxing, visualize the tension in your hands whooshing out through your fingertips.
- Next, tense and relax the following parts of your body in this order, using the same technique as above: Face, shoulders, back, stomach, pelvis, legs, feet, toes.
- Hold each part tightly for 10 seconds, then relax your entire body for 30 seconds before moving on to the next part.
Easy one minute meditation for anxiety
The term meditation is scary to many people, but it doesn’t have to be. Very short meditations, done once or twice a day, can have a huge positive result. Try this short breathing meditation exercise to calm a worried mind:
- Set a timer for one minute.
- Sit or stand comfortably. If you’re sitting, rest your hands in your lap.
- Take a deep breath and blow it out slowly and completely.
- Breathe. When breathing in, tell yourself, “Breathing in.” While breathing out say, “Breathing out.”
- Your focus will wander from your breath, maybe immediately. If it does, focus back onto your breath.
- Quit when the timer goes off.
Gently smile to relax
It may sound silly, but the act of smiling has many proven stress-relief benefits. This is especially true when you don’t feel like smiling, but this is the best time to do it, because it changes the neurotransmitters in your brain. Use the DBT half-smile — a simple DBT mindfulness exercise — even though it may feel totally fake:
Positive affirmations for stress
Positive affirmations are easy relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress that work by gently reprogramming unconscious self-talk. So much of what we tell ourselves internally is very negative, which makes us tense. Positive affirmations are a nice way to remind ourselves that we are often much safer, more in control, and much better people than we give ourselves credit for.
Take a warm, relaxing bath
Baths are such easy relaxation techniques that it makes me wonder why I don’t do it more often. Find a quiet time when you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. Fill the bath with very warm water. It should be hot, but not uncomfortably so. Use any of your favorite bath oils or other products. Soak for about 20 minutes. You’ll emerge relaxed and refreshed.
Spend easy, quiet time in nature
The natural world has a profound positive impact on mental health. Things like green plants, wind in the trees, and sunlight automatically make most people feel better. Some folks in heavily developed urban areas do not have regular access to wilderness, but almost everyone can see something natural like green grass or trees. Set aside time to actively appreciate nature, in whatever form you can find it in your environment.
The stress of anxiety is a real thing, with real consequences for peoples’ lives. With practice, these easy relaxation techniques to relieve anxiety and stress can go a long way towards helping manage those consequences.