Believe me, one of the most significant strategies to manage anxiety is breathing properly. In fact, even though my anxiety is under control, I still find the exercises are usefuI now. The last time being when I recently visited Tenerife. I know, I know, we all breathe, but are you doing it properly? When you do, even the most complicated problems may appear more simplistic as you have a more relaxed mind.
Here's how: -
Controlled Breathing
Whether you are at work, home or on the bus you can easily do this! Take a long deep breath in very slowly: try to ignore everything happening around you and focus on the sensations the breathing gives you: the air drawn from your nose, your chest rising, your breath out, your chest falling. Avoid being distracted by other commitments, just live in the moment. When any thoughts come in, imagine them being picked up in a gust of wind and being blown away. As your breathing slows down, your blood pressure will drop and you will feel more relaxed.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Try to be seated for this exercise. Take a deep breath in and let your breathing slow, and close your eyes. Then concentrate on each muscle group for around three seconds each. Stretch out your feet and toes; as you do imagine your anxieties drain away. Continue the stretching through your knees, thighs, bottom, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes. Ensure the stretch begins at the floor and travels all the way through your body relaxing every limb as you do so. As you do this, breathe deeply through your nose and release through your mouth. You will guaranteed to be more relaxed!
This form of mediation is a method of understanding your own feelings and being more aware of the world around you. It is a great way to start the day as it can be beneficial in preparing you for what is ahead for you. Here is a Mindfulness morning routine you can do every day.
1. When you wake up, block any thoughts of the day ahead from entering your mind. To do this, imagine a concrete wall being built between you and your thoughts, preventing the ideas reaching you. Take ten deep breaths, breath in through your nose and release through the mouth. Pay attention to your breathing and your body sensations as you physically wake up for the day.
2. As you get up out of bed, don't rush. Take slow movements; stand for 10 seconds and stretch; reaching to the ceiling and ensuring your arms and legs are as straight as possible. Feel the calmness filter through your body; become aware of your breathing and how this feels.
3. As you stand in the shower, give yourself ten seconds to embrace the temperature warming your body; listen to the sound of the water flowing over you. Relax!
4. From leaving the shower to closing your front door, become aware of your feet touching the floor. Begin by imagining the relaxing feelings your body embodies, but as you get closer to leaving home gradually add purpose to your walk; become more focussed on the day ahead.
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