You have a knot in your stomach, your throat is closed and your sweaty hands are clenched into fists. You feel light in your head, have palpitations and the clammy sweat breaks you out. Anxious thoughts rage through your head in an uncontrollable flow. No wonder you feel tense! We are going to do something about that, because anxiety and at the same time being relaxed is impossible. So: if you are relaxed, you are not afraid.
If it really does not work, try it with one of these relaxation exercises. It is important that you do not expect the exercise to work immediately. The more you practice, the easier it becomes to relax.
Exercise 1: Let your belly breathe
If you are anxious or stressed, it is difficult to breathe properly. Your breathing becomes superficial or you even hold your breath completely. Teach yourself to breathe through your stomach, which reduces stress and stress in daily life and therefore you will less anxious.
- Lie on your back on your bed, sofa or floor and make sure you are comfortable.
- Put your hand on your stomach and inhale slowly through your nose. Is your hand going up? If not, you will not breathe through your stomach, but through your chest. Check that by putting your hand on your chest and breathing again.
- Now put your hand back on your stomach. You can also put a magazine or a not too thick book open on your stomach.
- Now breathe in slowly through your nose for four counts and imagine that your abdomen is a balloon that fills with air. If all goes well, the hand that is on your stomach will rise.
- Hold your breath for a second and then slowly exhale through your mouth. That also takes four seconds.
- After exhaling, wait for a beat before starting to breathe again with four counts.
Exercise 2: relaxation through tension
If you wake up in the morning, you are totally relaxed. There is no muscle in your body that feels tense. If you are scared, you are completely tense. How you ensure that you release the tension in your muscles until you are as relaxed as in the early morning, you learn with this exercise.
- Sit down in a quiet place and make sure you sit in a way that feels comfortable. Switch off your phone so that you can not be disturbed.
- Take a few deep breaths through your stomach and hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling again.
- With each exhale you imagine that you are a balloon that is emptying.
- Now tighten one muscle group at a time, hold the tension for ten seconds and then suddenly relax the muscles, as if you were cutting a string. Then become aware of how that relaxed state feels exactly and then continue with the next muscle group.
- When you are done, check whether there are any tense areas in your body. If so, span and relax again.
Remember that you can never enforce relaxation. If you are unable to relax, just continue with your daily activities, but continue to do this exercise on a daily basis. At a certain moment you will really succeed.
The beauty of these two exercises is that you can perform them anytime and anywhere. You may not be able to stretch and relax all your muscle groups during your work, but you can just relax and relax the areas where the most tension is (for example, your shoulders) while you are breathing quietly through your stomach. If you then also keep your fear thoughts under control, any fear will have less control over you, so that the physical anxiety symptoms are also less intense.
Slowly reduce your anxiety when you are bothered by it
If you end up in an anxious situation that you have not prepared for, there are a few things you can do to keep your head cool and not panic.
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Identify your fear
Have you ever noticed that as soon as you said aloud what you felt, that feeling became less? This also applies to fear. If you suddenly become panicked, say to yourself or someone else aloud: “I am suddenly very scared.” If that does not help you enough, you can also name what you feel and think exactly, but stick to the facts. and give an objective description. “My heart is raging like mad and I have sweaty hands. I am worried about what is going to happen next, while nothing was happening right now. “This naming helps you to distance yourself from your fear, causing your panic to drop.
Physical activity is also a way to curb panic. If at that moment you do not have time to exercise or take a walk, do some deep knee bends, jump up and down or walk up the stairs a few times. Adrenaline increases your fear, while endorphins provide a feeling of well-being. By moving, you lose excess adrenaline and your body starts producing endorphins.
It can also help to take a moment of gas back at an anxious moment and imagine that you are sunbathing on a tropical beach, making a nice walk in the woods or doing something else that makes you happy and relaxed. If you practice this regularly at times than you are not afraid, you will also be able to recall that performance during panic moments. Your body and mind will respond by relaxing. Maybe your fear does not completely disappear, but in any case it becomes more manageable.