Most of us are no strangers to anxiety and stress, and many of us have tried all kinds of methods to reduce the amount of stress we feel on any given day. If you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, you’re in good company. Successful people in all industries feel pressure to perform, and prominent doctors like Dominique Fradin-Read have discussed dealing with it on a regular basis.
Simple relaxation exercises may not cure anxiety, but they can help bring a sense of calm to a heated moment. Plus, they are easy, free, and you can do them anywhere discretely!
1. 4 x 4 x 4 Breathing Exercise
This breathing technique is nice and straightforward. All you have to do is gently breathe in through your nose for four slow beats, hold your breath for four seconds, and breathe out through your nose or mouth for four counts. These counts of four should be slow and methodical, so it may help to think of these counts in terms of one-one thousand, two-one thousand, and so on.
When we get overly anxious, our nervous systems can make us breathe quick, shallow breaths. Intentionally slowing down our breathing can help our bodies reset, leading us to feel instantly calmer.
2. 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
Many people theorize that a state of anxiety is often the result of worrying about things in the future. As a result, some find success by bringing their mindset back to the present through grounding techniques. The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique involves a series of five steps where you name various objects and sensations in your surrounding area. Follow these steps:
- Name five things you can see
- Name four things you can physically feel
- Name three things you can hear
- Name two things you can smell (or two scents you enjoy)
- Name one thing you can taste (some find it helpful to eat a hard piece of candy and focus on the flavor)
These steps can help bring you back to the present and help your brain realize that you are safe in your surroundings, thus decreasing a sense of fear or anxiety.
These exercises are handy to have at your disposal, and you can use them as often as you need. However, if you are struggling with intense anxiety, stress, or depression that never seems to go away, you should speak with your doctor about possible interventions. These techniques can help in a moment of anxiety, but chronic stress may need to be dealt with in a more comprehensive way.