Here are some approaches to relaxing a stressed or anxious mind and body
Mindfulness and meditation
These practices have been clinically proven to help with anxiety. Try to find a course in your area or online, purchase a book or app and practice the exercises. These, along with breathing exercises, are very beneficial to use on a daily basis to prevent anxiety building up. Starting with just 10 minutes a day can make a big difference. Headspace and Calm are a couple of sites with apps that guide you through mediation.
Black and white breathing
Imagine the anxiety as a tight black ball inside you, then breathe in deeply and slowly – as you do so, imagine the air you are breathing in as pure, white, positive air. Exhale slowly and gently and as you do so, imagine the air coming out as black, negative air. Carry on breathing and try to visualise the black ball of tension becoming lighter and clearer.
Yoga has a lot of health benefits which is linked to mental health due to its sequences working through the body, mind and breath. Yoga releases tension through stretching and breathing correctly but also calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga’s positive benefits on mental health have made it an important practice tool in most therapy.
Take a look on YouTube at Hatha yoga for beginners and try to practice this 2 to 3 times a week, even for just 10 minutes to start with.
Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose, taking the air right down to your abdomen. Visualise the air travelling all the way down to your abdomen, then breathe out slowly and gently through the mouth. As you do this, visualise the stress and tension leaving your body and think the word ‘relax’ . Deliberately allow your muscles to go floppy as you breathe out. Repeat for three times, breathe normally for a minute or so and then repeat the deep breathing.
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