Relaxation techniques for anxiety attacks

Anxiety is a disorder that causes a person to respond to fear – or the threat of fear – in an unhealthy and exaggerated way. This can lead sufferers to being physically stressed, tense, and ill. Thankfully, there are a number of relaxation techniques for anxiety that can help release tension and stress, keeping anxiety at bay.

1. Mantras
Mantras, or positive affirmations, help shift our mind set and can be done at any time. When you have anxiety, you are often plagued with very negative and out of proportion thoughts. Mantras help to reclaim our thoughts and turn them around into positives.

Examples of good mantra are: I am healthy; I am blessed; with every breath my body relaxes; all is well and I am safe; etc.

Write a list of your favourite mantras down and take it along with you wherever you go. After a couple of minutes of doing the affirmations, you will have distracted yourself, shifted your attitude into a good place, and greatly relaxed. This is a powerful relaxation technique for anxiety that can be practised every day and be implemented into all areas of your life.

2. Meditation
While mantras definitely fall within this, meditation is broad and varied, and can incorporate many techniques. In essence, meditation is practising concentrated focus. Your focus can be on a sound, on your breathing, on a visualization, or a rhythmic movement. We actually all meditate every day – but our concentration and focus is normally on our troubles, work, and anxieties about the future.

Our entire perspectives can change when we choose to meditate on something soothing and good.

Start by having a clean and comfortable environment in which to meditate. Take a comfortable position, and give yourself some time to get your focus right. Concentrate on your breathing. Have a strong and positive image in your mind. Natural sounds work well to help centre you. There are many online resources to help you get started with this effective relaxation technique for anxiety.

3. Aromatherapy
Nature has some very effective healing options. Aromatherapy uses natural extracts from plants and concentrates them. The oils can be inhaled directly, diffused into the air, applied during a massage, or even added to a bath. Instructions must be carefully followed in which oils to use, how much to use, and following correct procedure. Always consult your GP before beginning aromatherapy.

Many people swear by this relaxation technique for anxiety; claiming that certain oils can reduce anxiety and depression; and increase feelings of cheerfulness, well being, and calm. Some of the best oils to use specifically for anxiety include:

Lavender – reduces panic attacks and nervous tension; promotes sleep and inner peace.

Rose – reduces anxiety, depression, and panic attacks and is also beneficial in helping with shock and grief.

Ylang ylang – can improve cheerfulness and optimism, soothe fears, and help with insomnia. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, so it’s good to use if your blood pressure is high, but must be avoided if you suffer from low blood pressure. It’s also best not to apply ylang ylang directly to the skin.

4. Releasing energy
If you feel that you are carry around too much nervous energy to relax – don’t relax, release it instead! Exercise is a great way to do this, and has other proven health benefits. It distracts your thoughts and releases feel good endorphin’s that can reduce anxiety and stress. Lastly, you’ll probably be so exhausted from exercise that you’ll need time to relax afterward anyway! A hot bath to relax your tired muscles is a great way to melt away anxious worries too.

5.Muscle Relaxation
This is a very simple relaxation technique for anxiety that can be practised every night before bed, and whenever it feels as if anxiety levels are rising. Find a comfortable place to preferably lie down. Take relaxed, focused breaths. Starting from the toes and working your way up, flex and then relax every muscle; visualizing the tension leaving as you relax.

This method is sometimes so effective, that you could be asleep within a few minutes of doing this before bed.

Everyone is different. Be patient as you test these varying techniques and find which works for you. You can also alternate between these techniques, or adapt them to suit you more personally.