In the world we live in today, it is very difficult to escape the dreaded anxiety. The accelerated pace in which we have to make decisions and act, lead us to a mental and physical overload that ends up taking a toll on our health.
The consequences of living with anxiety every day can be devastating . There are many studies that provide information, alerting us to the dangers of living regularly with anxiety. We are talking about serious implications for our health, with a greater probability of suffering from certain diseases closely related to the symptoms of stress .
It is a fact that most of us need to learn to reduce anxiety . It is important to be aware of this, since we live in an automatic mode, used to stress. There are few moments that we dedicate to rest and to stop for a moment to attend to our breathing. In the end, our body is in charge of stopping and saying enough! And it does so through illness, exhaustion, chronic fatigue, and harming our immune system. When anxiety remains over time, the consequences do not take long to appear.
Why should we reduce anxiety in our lives?
Many times we do not even realize that we are under the influence of anxiety . We go about our lives adjusting to anxiety, without paying attention to how it is influencing our behavior and our health.
Anxiety supposes a particular emotional state , where there is an over-activation to respond to the stimuli that worry us, that generate anguish or fear. These are situations in which we are alert, because we believe that we do not have enough resources to be safe and calm. In this state the thoughts run over each other and mental chaos is generated, which results in a lack of attention and concentration.
The state of anxiety is necessary for our survival , and it is normal when there are specific stimuli that are threatening, a risk or a challenge. In specific situations such as an exam, a job interview, the presence of a dangerous animal, etc. Reacting with anxiety and alert to these circumstances helps us prepare for either flight or confrontation.
Anxiety stops being normal when we have learned to generate this alert in the face of a multitude of circumstances in our day to day that do not pose a real danger, nor are they objectively so important in our lives. Maintaining anxiety in various everyday circumstances is what makes anxiety can be pathological .
When the state of anxiety is uncontrolled and occurs for at least a period of 6 consecutive months, it is possible that it manifests itself through a mental disorder , such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
Many of our habits deteriorate and are affected as a result of anxiety. It can usually affect our diet and sleep and rest habits. Basic needs that when they are altered make us more vulnerable to chronic stress. Social relationships can also be affected , as our behavior changes, becoming somewhat more irritable and irascible, leading to more conflict and misunderstandings.
Its influence can deteriorate all the areas in which we develop: work, studies, family, couple, leisure, friendships, etc. Since anxiety somehow conditions our thoughts , and our way of thinking is involved in the decisions we make and how we act. This vicious circle in which anxiety gives rise to conflicts, and these conflicts in turn generate greater anxiety can lead to a great decline, of which it is necessary to become aware and leave as soon as possible.
How can we reduce anxiety?
We must pay attention to our body and be aware of when we are experiencing anxiety. To combat this emotional state, something basic that we have to take into account is how this process works, taking into account the mechanism of anxiety.
As we have explained previously, anxiety appears as a survival, the problem lies when we learn to react in this way constantly to any type of circumstance. Physiologically, our body gives us a series of clues that indicate that we are experiencing anxiety. It is important to see when these signs appear, under what circumstances. And once identified, we must think rationally about what they mean for us. If you are not scared of anxiety, it will gradually disappear, since you will perceive yourself in control to be able to do it.
Something basic is that to reduce anxiety we first have to understand it . Anxiety can manifest itself in up to three different ways that are associated with each other. Its three response systems are cognitive, physiological, and behavioral.
We offer a cognitive response to the situations we face, perceiving it as dangerous or threatening. Immediately in relation to how we perceive the situation, a physiological response occurs : muscle tension, paralysis, increased heart rate, sweating, palpitations, respiratory rate, etc. A series of responses that lead us to a particular behavior on how we have perceived that danger in relation to the resources we believe we have to face it, whether it be preparing to flee, to run or to fight.
There are various techniques and strategies that serve to reduce anxiety. In recent decades, special emphasis has been placed on deepening this area. Unfortunately, suffering from anxiety is more common than we think, being a great global epidemic, due to the overstimulation in which we are immersed .
Experts recommend the acquisition of healthy habits to combat anxiety , such as playing sports, eating well, reducing the consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Also disconnect and take walks in nature, meditate. Etc. Although the most specialized therapeutic techniques for reducing anxiety have to do with relaxation. Next we will see what implications relaxation has for our health, and what techniques are the most recommended.
Implications of relaxation on our health
Today, thanks to the research carried out, we objectively know the positive implications that relaxation has for our health. Since stress is common in our lives, relaxation is the antidote that benefits us the most in this regard.
What does relaxation mean for your health? Through relaxation you can not only reduce the tension in your muscles, you also put your mind in order, and become aware of the present moment, to be able to identify what you feel, think and live in the here and now. When you relax, your body, well-being and health in general benefit from multiple aspects:
- The risk of cardiovascular problems is reduced.
- Increased regulation and emotional balance.
- Greater ability to pay attention and concentrate.
- Greater self-knowledge and self -confidence.
- The heart rate decreases and we disconnect from the daily stress.
- We improve the resistance of our immune system, better coping with ailments and diseases.
- We get a deeper rest and restful sleep when we go to sleep.
Relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety
As you have seen, learning to reduce anxiety is vitally important, you cannot neglect this important aspect in your life, if you want to take care of your health and well-being. That is why we are going to recommend some of the most important relaxation techniques, which you can apply yourself, choosing several of them or with those that make you feel more comfortable:
It is one of the relaxation techniques most used by professionals, and although it requires some training, it is tremendously effective in controlling anxiety. To do it, you need to be in a quiet place where you can concentrate:
- Situate yourself in a place without distractions, in a comfortable position to relax all the muscles of your body.
- Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach and feel how you are breathing.
- Breathe in slowly taking all the air you need through your nose, feel with the hand located on the stomach how it rises while your stomach inflates, while the hand on your chest stays still.
- When your stomach is completely swollen then hold the air for a couple of seconds and release the air little by little, watching as the stomach deflates and your hand descends with it.
- At all times the hand on the chest must be immobile, this will be a good sign, since it implies that you are not cutting off your breath through the chest, and you are breathing through the diaphragm. Repeat the exercise several times until you learn to automate this type of breathing that helps you oxygenate your entire body and relax.
Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation
This technique has been used in a therapeutic context for many years . It has proven to be one of the most effective techniques for reducing anxiety in various contexts. To apply it, it is necessary to take a period of time of at least half an hour. By performing it a few times a week, very positive and beneficial results are obtained for reducing anxiety.
When this relaxation is done for the first time, it is advisable to do it through a guide who will indicate the steps to follow. You can do it through an audio or in therapy with a professional who will give you the steps to follow. Once you have done it the first few times, the following will be easier for you to do. You can even go mentally giving yourself the instructions. The steps to follow to give you an idea of how this technique works are the following:
- Choose a place without distractions, where you can spend 30 minutes relaxing. Sit comfortably to relax all the muscles of your body, without any type of tension. Do not cross your arms or legs, arms relaxed on your legs and the soles of your feet completely flat on the floor.
- Close your eyes and focus on body sensations, attend to any type of muscle tension you may have and relax that area.
- Pay attention only to your breathing, inhale deeply and expel all the air slowly until you feel more relaxed.
- You will attend to each of the parts of your body, visualizing each area. You will tighten that muscle for three seconds, whether it is the foot, hand, eyes or buttocks and then you will loosen it so that it is completely relaxed. By attending to this sensation, you will learn to better discriminate tension from relaxation.
- Thanks to this technique, you will not only learn to relax, but you will be able to better identify the muscles that you tense when you are anxious, so that you can relax them at will.
Visualization is a simple technique that you can use at any time. It is also used in therapeutic contexts and is very popular because it is effective and effortless.
You may also need a guide at the beginning, although you can try to apply it by giving yourself the corresponding instructions. The way to apply it is as follows:
- Choose a place where you can relax, put on music to help you relax if you want, and condition the place with smells, temperature and light that makes you feel more comfortable.
- Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, feeling how the air enters through your nose and leaves through your mouth.
- Visualize a place where you would like to be, relaxed, either alone or with others. Think about each of the details of that place. And how you feel more and more relaxed in that place that you are visualizing with each of its details.
- Pay attention to your bodily sensations, to the emotions and thoughts that circulate through your mind, and do not stop visualizing that environment that generates peace and satisfaction.
- When you are fully relaxed, and you have enjoyed the experience, gradually incorporate yourself into reality, feeling your feet resting on the ground, and slowly opening your eyes. Be grateful for the experience and stay with the feeling you have experienced.
These are some of the most used relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety . They help to relax through breathing and awareness in the present moment. Through these techniques you will learn to relax at any time and under any circumstance, being you the one who takes the reins of your own activation.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.