Top 8 Techniques to Control Anxiety
“The world was created in six days. But on the seventh, He rested.” This scripture we know by heart. But the question is, why the break? Was He ill? Was He tired? I don’t think so.
I think that this world-famous line serves as an example to mankind. This reminds us that as able as we are, we still need some time to rest and restore ourselves. The running, pushing, and working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week can put our health conditions at stake. Living a life with no cracks to relax can lead us to develop anxiety. And who would want to live in constant fear? No one! But our world is demanding. We have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill. Because of this, the symptoms of anxiety begin to surface. Allowing these symptoms to overpower would mean giving in to the whims of anxiety. That is why it’s important to nip them at their early stages.
Here are some of the things that you can do to alleviate anxiety before they take control.
1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation is an effective anxiety management technique that involves an alternate tensing and relaxing of muscles. Its proprietor, Dr. Edmund Jacobson, observed how anxiety can cause muscles to constrict and how this tension can significantly aggravate feelings of anxiety. With this keen observation, he believed that if the body is able to maintain a relaxed pose, the mind cannot be in a state of anxiety.
This technique is done by steadily tightening and releasing muscle groups from the head down or feet up. Usually, this is performed in a sitting or lying position with eyes close. For ten seconds, the muscles are tightened and then released for the next 20 seconds.
Meditation, an ancient technique, is practiced to gain awareness and to suspend the thoughts racing through the mind. It works by focusing one’s attention on things other than the unpleasant symptoms caused by anxiety.
This technique is done by sitting quietly for 15 to 20 minutes, doing nothing but focusing on one’s regular breathing cycles. The rise and fall of the chest is a great way to achieve self-awareness. It can help relax the body and clear the mind.
Yoga is a mind-body practice which has a growing number of advocates claiming of its effectiveness in reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting relaxation. The poses, movements, meditation and deep breathing techniques combined into this single exercise appear to help modulate the stress response systems. By doing this, it helps to decrease physiological arousal and improve mood and over-all functioning.
4. Music therapy
To reduce stress, listening to music has been suggested by many experts. The rhythm and the beat of music are said to inject a calming effect that people may not be quite conscious about.
Among the first changes noticeable when a tune is played is an increase in one’s breathing pattern. With increased breathing, more oxygen is introduced into the body and brain cells. This in turn helps correct imbalances that lead to anxiety. Music, as well, can reduce heart rates and accelerate the production of serotonin.
Though often misunderstood, the practice of hypnosis is a widely accepted technique in the management of specific ailments including anxiety, stress, and pain. Through this state of focused attention and increased suggestibility, patients are guided on how to control aspects of their bodies in order to adapt to very stressful situations and resolve their anxieties.
A study conducted at Ohio University and published on the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology helps establish the reliability of this technique. It states that hypnosis, when practiced by medical students, has significantly helped reduce their exam-time stress.
6. Exposure therapy
This therapy stands on the idea that facing your fears will help you overcome and master them. It believes that the more you expose yourself to these fearful situations, they’ll be easier to deal with next time.
Mastery of this feared object or situation should not be sudden, though. Taking smalls step at a time and gradually working your way up to the most uncomfortable circumstance is the best way to overcome anxiety.
7. Deep breathing exercises
Anxiety can be caused by oxygen-carbon dioxide imbalances in the body. When the cells are deprived of oxygen, they do not function well. Cell work becomes difficult resulting to symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, headache, and muscle tension. Get some anxiety help by practicing deep breathing exercises.
8. Reduce caffeine intake
Coffee is a very stimulating beverage. The caffeine contained in it causes the central nervous system to release adrenaline and activate the flight or fight response. This mechanism causes for the symptoms of anxiety to be manifested. Racing heartbeat, palpitations, nervousness and trembling hands are just a few of them. To prevent feeling these symptoms, try to cut back on your coffee intake.
Taking care of ourselves and mending aspects of our health that needs care must never slip our list. Our body is our prime investment. Without it, we lose everything.