Anxiety is something everyone has experienced at some point in their life. It is so common that it has become an umbrella term for feelings of worry, fear, unease, and panic. People with anxiety are constantly worried about what might happen in the future or has already happened in the past. Stressing about too many things can lead to anxiety, which can consume your day and even affect your sleep quality. In this post, we’ll list the most popular anxiety exercises that target the mind and body to help make you feel relaxed.
Anxiety can be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental triggers, and life experiences. The most common types of anxiety include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you feel like your anxiety and stress levels are interfering with your daily tasks and causing physical or mental harm - it may be time to visit your doctor for a consultancy.
If you suffer from anxiety less frequently, these anxiety exercises are simple, quick, and, more importantly, can be practiced anytime during the day. Some of them work on boosting your mental state, while others focus on loosening up your muscles. Anxiety exercises can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels. Engaging in anxiety exercises diverts your focus from the things that make you anxious.
For those who are suffering from anxiety, it is important to do exercises that calm their nerves and ease anxiety naturally. Here are some anxiety exercises that can be done by anyone, during the day or at night.
Square breathing is often used as an anxiety management technique as well as for meditation. It has been used to help people who have trouble sleeping, want to quit smoking, and want to manage stress levels during challenging situations. This exercise is a series of breathing techniques that involves taking a deep breath through your nose up to the count of four. Hold it there for another count of four before you exhale through your mouth or nose or mouth over the count of four.
The name comes from the way a person should make the shape of a square with their mouth as they breathe in and out. It should be repeated at least three times or for 10 minutes for the best results.
Overall, general breathing exercises are commonly used in yoga and meditation practices for stress relief. Breathing deeply can help you relax and clear your mind. It can also lower your blood pressure, pulse rate, and stress level. Deep breathing might even make you feel more alert or energized! Ten minutes is all it takes to reap the benefits of deep breathing exercises for anxiety. Other popular breathing exercises include belly breathing or counting breathing. You can achieve better sleep, longer concentration, and mental clarity through these anxiety exercises.
According to the American Psychological Association, practicing mindfulness can be an effective treatment for anxiety. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing on the present moment by paying attention to what is happening around you. It has been proven to be successful due to its ability to help people control their thoughts and feelings.
It is done through breathing exercises - by slowly counting your breaths and focusing on the pattern of your breaths. Focus on how your body tenses up when you inhale and relaxes when you exhale. It won’t be easy to block distractions, so if a thought comes to your mind - like your work deadlines or the dishes sitting in the sink - take a second to observe this thought and let it pass. Consider yourself watching a movie of your mind, but you’re only a viewer. Let the thoughts come to the screen but don’t engage with them and then refocus on your breathing.
The benefits of mindfulness are well documented and include an increase in self-awareness, a sharper attention span, and a lower level of stress. Mindfulness has been found to have many health benefits as well, such as improving sleep, reducing chronic pain, and relieving gastrointestinal difficulties. In the workplace, mindfulness can help with focus and decrease the chances of burnout.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that has shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and stress levels through promoting whole-body awareness and mindfulness.
It consists of tensing and then relaxing the muscles in sequential order, starting with the toes and gradually working up to the head. The most important component of this relaxation technique is that the person must focus on their breathing while they are doing it. They should try to focus on releasing tension from one muscle group before moving on to the next one. For example, after they have tensed their feet, they should exhale deeply before beginning to tense their calves.
Through tensing and relaxing their muscles, you can become aware of how each muscle group feels individually, which provides them with a sense of control over their body movement that leads to improved self-awareness.
There is a direct relationship between sleep and anxiety - both highly impact each other. If you find yourself easily irritated or often anxious during the day, a lack of sleep may be the reason for this. On the other hand, insomnia and sleep disturbances can be the result of anxiety or stress. Research has shown that sleep deprivation actually contributes to anxiety, especially among those who have anxiety disorders.
The lack of sleep triggers certain parts of your brain that control worry, which leads to excessive worrying over everything. Sleep deprivation is harmful to those who are anxious by nature because it can affect your mood, mental health, and overall brain functions, like reactions and concentration.
In order to get better sleep and help reduce anxiety, you need to adopt healthier sleep habits and improve your sleep environment. Steps towards this include sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to enhance your sleep cycle and avoiding things like caffeine or alcohol a few hours before sleeping. You should also try and make your bed more comfortable. If your mattress is making you toss and turn all night, it may be time to consider an upgrade.
The Puffy Lux Hybrid Mattress offers extra stability, body-contouring, and full-zoned support to ensure you wake up without stiffness or back pain. Additionally, you can use a weighted blanket to help with bedtime anxiety.
The best weighted blanket will help you feel grounded and secure while you’re sleeping, which can improve your sleep quality. Weighted blankets provide deep pressure therapy and are used to combat anxiety, stress, and many other physical and mental conditions.
The fastest way to soothe your nerves and reduce anxiety is to do breathing exercises or mindfulness meditation. You can do a square breathing exercise or deep breathing exercise for 10 minutes, which focuses on the patterns of your breath. Additionally, consider taking a warm bath or going for a walk to help clear your mind and promote better results.
Progressive muscle relaxation or body scan meditation is the practice of tensing and relaxing each of your muscles, in a subsequent order. This anxiety exercise works to relax your mind and body at the same time. It distracts your mind from focusing on things that’ll stress you out and deliberately reduces muscle tension.
Being anxious can be the result of many things, such as stress, work, family, genetics, a health issue, or a traumatic event. Sometimes we feel anxious but don’t understand why. You may be thinking about a big meeting next week or something that bothered you last night. You can try and reduce your anxiety by eating a healthy meal, exercising, meditating before bedtime, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Anxiety is an exhausting feeling that can consume a lot of our time and energy. It may be difficult at first to reap the most out of these anxiety exercises - but practice makes perfect! Try one of these exercises the next time you’re feeling anxious to help you relax and regroup your thoughts.
What do you do to calm your anxiety? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.