These unprecedented times have been difficult for the body and mind, and now more than ever people are feeling anxious about what is ahead. The recent health concerns among a host of other things have taken a toll on people’s mental well-being, which affects not only their personal lives but also their work performance.
Over the past three months, there has been a whopping 1000% increase in the number of people getting in touch with the government’s emergency hotlines for emotional distress. This is compared to the figures around the same time last year.
An anxious mind can most definitely influence the quality of life of those affected. If you are experiencing anxiety during these trying times, you might want to try some relaxation techniques to help ease your mind. Here are some activities you can try.
4 Relaxation Techniques to Help with Anxiety
Music and Art Therapy
In many cases, anxiety can be caused by or lead to pent up emotions that you cannot fully express. This is why cathartic practices are recommended for individuals with anxiety. You want to make sure that you release your thoughts and emotions in different ways.
Music and art are two mediums that can help release unspoken issues, even those that you unconsciously have. Your audio and visual art can then be used to discuss, understand and address such issues.
Because it is a mind and body therapy, you can expect to get results not only in the mental and emotional aspects of your wellbeing but also in the physical component. It can help release hormones that can improve your overall health.
This practice is well-known for its enlightening and mood-improving effects. It is rooted in ancient Buddhist traditions and has been practised secularly in recent decades. The key point of this activity is to get in touch with your current experiences and accept them.
To do this, you need to sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breathing. Then bring your mind to the present moment and concentrate on it without looking into the past or thinking about the future. You must do this objectively.
Research shows that this type of meditation can enhance your mood and amplify positive emotions. It can also reduce stress and anxiety. Overall, it can help address job burnout and emotional reactivity.
The best thing is that it has physical effects such as reduced heart risks, cognitive decline, cell aging and pain caused by psychological responses. It also helps improve your immunity, which is valuable during a pandemic.
Experts say that smiling when you are down can make you feel the emotion associated with that expression, which is happiness. This principle applies to breathing. If you are used to taking shallow breaths, it mimics your breathing when you are agitated and anxious.
Keep in mind that your body needs the right amount of oxygen in order to function optimally. This affects your physical parts including your brain, which in turn influences your mind. This is why deep breathing is a recommended technique to combat anxiety.
You can do it by simply getting into a comfortable position such as lying on your back or sitting straight in a chair. Then, breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your belly with air. Breathe out through your nose. Do this four times in total.
The key to doing this breathing technique right is to place one hand on your belly and another on your chest. Your belly should expand more than your chest.
The practice of silently reciting a short prayer or praise while focusing on your breathing is a great way to disengage from negative thoughts and experiences while reinforcing positive ones. This can help you view your situation in a positive light, thus reducing your anxiety.
Now, when you hear the word prayer, you might think that this activity can only be done using religious traditions. However, you can certainly use encouraging phrases, sayings and mantras. You can even memorise a short poem and recite as you do breath focus.
It is important to be kind to yourself during these trying times. After all, your community and the world are undergoing a collective trauma, which should be taken seriously. So, if you find yourself anxious lately, make sure to try these relaxation techniques.