The simple truth is we all get anxious. Everyone feels anxiety in different ways. One person might feel it in their stomach while another feels it in their head. Feeling anxious about job performance or having anxiety after a recent break-up feels the same in the body. Once the flight or fight response has kicked in and your stress level hormones are high, the trigger of your anxiety is long forgotten. The only thing that remains is the uncomfortable anxiety symptoms you are having. We work with clients every day that deal with anxiety from major life events to daily issues that create stress. We don’t just want to help clients mask their symptoms. We want to help them eliminate them. Here are five best anxiety exercises that you can start using today.
This might sound simple, but for a person suffering from anxiety, calm breathing is very difficult to begin. The breath signals your body to release hormones of relaxation or fear. When you get tense or stressed for long periods, breathing can become shallow, labored, or distressed. Your body will raise an alarm that it needs to prepare for danger. That is why it is so important to take deep, belly breaths throughout your day to prevent anxiety symptoms from manifesting. You can set your alarm for every hour. That can be your cue to focus on this anxiety exercise several times throughout your day.
A sedentary life has had harmful effects on your ability to generate useful energy throughout your days. It also creates muscle tension, tightness, and fatigue throughout your body. This can create a buildup of stress hormones that have no outlet. Stretching throughout your day and taking time to walk places can have a beneficial impact on your anxiety levels. Anxiety also creates shallow breathing which can cause tight chest, back or shoulder muscles. When you can take a few minutes throughout your day to stretch these specific muscle groups, you allow room for breath and expansion. This can have a calming effect.
Creating a sense of mindfulness means that you create awareness over your thoughts. This means that you begin to be conscious of your self-talk. When you create a sense of mindfulness, you understand the relationship between your anxiety and your inner dialogue. Clients that therapists work with in anxiety therapy often become very surprised at how strong this relationship is. They are also very surprised by how creating mindfulness can help them overcome anxiety. This exercise might be one that is best practiced with journaling at first and repeated daily.
Anxiety exercises have a lot to do with your mind, but your physical body is also very important. Getting a small amount of exercise daily is critical to reducing the stress hormone, cortisol. It is also beneficial to be outdoors and get fresh air. Working inside all day long without natural sunlight, computers buzzing, phones ringing, and the constant stimulation of emails pinging your inbox increases anxiety levels. When there is no counter-balance to this type of work stress build-up, or life stressors causing anxiety to have no outlet, it can create mental tension that has no release. Set your goal to move at least once a day for a minimum of 15 minutes.
Anxiety can create a sense of loneliness or the desire to isolate. You can avoid falling into this trap by making sure you stay connected with the people you love. You can set dates in advance so that you always have something on your calendar to look forward to. You can also make sure that know you aren’t alone. Anxiety exercises are important to keep in your routine and finding time for self-care, connecting with others, and managing stress will help you stay ahead of the symptoms.
Talking to a life coach or an anxiety therapist can help you develop an evidence-based way to eliminate your anxiety. Our therapy experts use proven techniques, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) amongst other strategies to help you restore balance. Give Orlando Thrive Therapy a call today and let one of our anxiety specialists get you on the right track.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.