Anxiety and Relaxation Techniques
There are both short-term and long-term relaxation response techniques that help control emotional (somatic) and worry (cognitive) anxiety. Once these procedures are learned, the relaxation response will take the place of an anxiety response.
Put your feet flat on the floor
With your hands, grab the underneath of the chair
Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for about five seconds.
Relax for five to ten seconds
Repeat the procedure two or three times, and relax all your muscles.
The Palming Method
Close and cover your eyes using the center of your palms of your hands.
Prevent your hands from touching your eyes by resting the lower parts of your palms on your cheek bones and placing your fingers on your forehead. Your eyeballs must not be touched, rubbed, or handled in any way.
Think of some real or imaginary relaxing scene. Mentally visualize this scene, and picture the scene as if you were actually there, looking through your own eyes.
Visualize this relaxing scene for 1 or 2 minutes.
The Deep Breathing Method
Sit straight up in your chair, in a good posture position.
Slowly inhale through your nose.
As you inhale, first fill the lower section of your lungs and work your way upto the upper part of your lungs.
Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth.
Wait a few seconds and repeat the cycle.
The Thought-Stopping Technique
Silently shout to yourself, “Stop!” or “Stop thinking about that!” After your silent shout, either relax yourself or repeat one of your positive self-talk statements.
You may have to shout to yourself several times during a test or while doing homework to control negative self-talk! After every ‘shout’, use a different relaxation technique/scene or positive self-talk statement.
Thought-stopping works because it interrupts the worry before it can cause high anxiety or negative emotions. During the interruption, you can replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Students with high worry anxiety should practice this technique three days to one week before taking an exam.
Positive Mental Rehearsal
Vividly imagining yourself doing something calmly and confidently before you do it massively increases the likelihood of you being calm and confident in the situation when it happens for real. So:
Take time, when you feel relaxed, to close your eyes.
As you breathe nice and evenly, extending your out-breath, begin to imagine watching yourself going to wherever you’re going, maybe driving or walking.
Now as your body continues to rest deeper, just observe yourself going to the place looking calm and focussed,
Watch yourself, absolutely focussed and relaxed.
When you’ve done this, just allow yourself a few moments to enjoy feelings so relaxed.
Now open your eyes.
Five Finger Relaxation Technique
Step 1 – Touch your thumb to your first finger and think back to a time when your body felt a deep healthy fatigue (ie. after a long hike/bike ride)
Remember the feeling of your muscles relaxing and your heart beating slowly.
Step 2 – Touch your thumb to your second finger and think back to a time when you had a big achievement in your life or when you had finished an important project.
Feel the pride of accomplishing something important to you.
Step 3 – Touch your thumb to your third finger and think back to the nicest compliment you have ever received.
Feel the warmth and happiness from the compliment.
Step 4 – Touch your thumb to your fourth finger and go back to the most beautiful place you’ve been to or can imagine.
Allow the beauty to soak in. Feel safe and secure and let all the tension and stress go. Reflect and enjoy for a while.