Treat Anxiety Successfully With Relaxation Techniques

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Sometimes anxiety is good. Sometimes, anxiety is a valid response to external circumstances, and relaxation is a life-threatening or at least impractical one. For example, when a hungry Great White appears in the water during our swim, anxiety triggers an adrenaline rush in our bodies. We become hyper-focused and can better marshal our energy towards the goal of swimming to shore, or to a nearby boat.

At other times, however, anxiety is counter-productive. As much as 5% of the UK population suffers from severe, chronic anxiety that impedes ordinary life. There’s no need to be anxious when one is simply trying to fix dinner, get to work, or put together a report for one’s employer. In these situations, anxiety actually interferes with performance, and with happiness. People who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder are always anxious, even in situations that do not warrant anxiety. As a result, they often cannot concentrate on basic tasks; have trouble falling asleep;  don’t finish projects; don’t start new projects, paralysed by inarticulable, nebulous fears; and develop headaches, ulcers, muscle tension, and other ailments, due to the repeated physical stresses caused by their constant worrying.

One of the best ways to treat this type of anxiety successfully, without the help of therapists, is by teaching yourself simple relaxation techniques. Most people think of relaxation as something that happens naturally. They don’t think that relaxation is something that can, or needs to be, learned. They are wrong.

“I’ll be able to relax when I get all these projects done,” people will tell themselves. Or, “I’ll relax once the kids are no longer under my roof.” Or, “I’ll relax when I land my first high-income job.” In reality, relaxation–like anxiety–is a state of mind. External reality often bears less relationship to whether we are relaxed or anxious than we like to think. Thus, sufferers of generalized anxiety disorder will always find something new to worry about. Unless they deliberately “make” themselves relax, they will never relax.

Fortunately, there is a technique to help sufferers of chronic anxiety learn to relax. The fist step involves finding a calm, isolated location, such as a meditation garden, or one’s room. The key is to find a place where one can be solitary, without feeling lonely or afraid. The next step is to lie or sit in a comfortable position and breathe ever more slowly. One must take deep breaths, and focus on the physical sensations of relaxation and comfort.

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