There are times when our anxiety seems to come from out of nowhere, and we don’t have time to prepare ourselves. If and when this does happen, there are some tricks you can use to help yourself relax; it only takes a few minutes after you start to feel the panic creep in. Have a few of these tips in your back pocket—ones that you know work well for you—and you’ll have an easier time managing your stress the next time it creeps up on you.
Focus on Breathing
Breathing can do a lot more for us than just keep us alive—it can calm us down, help us still our minds and serve as an indicator of when things are okay and when they’re on the rocks. Focus on breathing when you need to relax. Take long inhales and exhales, and listen to the sound the breath makes as it comes in and out the nose. You can also count the number of beats for each inhale and exhale to keep you present.
Write Down Your Worries
Often, when we’re worried or stressed out about something, the worry is all in our minds. To let go of this panic, write out what’s bothering you so you can get it out of your head. Start writing even if you’re not sure what it is that’s making you concerned—the more you write, the easier it is to find the truth.
Clench Your Fists
The clenched fist exercise is used to build up, then release tension. Start by clenching your hands into fists, closing them tighter and tighter as you watch the knuckles turn white. Focus all your attention on the physical tension building in your fists, and when all your attention is on that, slowly start to release your hands. Let the relaxed feeling in your hands spread throughout your body. Repeat as often as you feel necessary.
Whole Body Clench
Sometimes a full body clench may be necessary for you to completely relax. Lie down on the floor and lift as much of your body off the ground, as if you’re levitating. Clench your arms, legs, feet, hands, abdominals—everything—while keeping your limbs extended. Focus your attention on your body, on the clenched muscles, and squeeze as tight as you can. When you’re ready, release everything and relax back down so your full body is lying on the floor again. Stay in this position and concentrate on your breathing. You’ll notice a feeling of relaxation disperse throughout your body.
Feature Image: Jasper Boer