Applying Different Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

November 12, 2012

Applying Different Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

It is estimated that about forty million people in the United States could benefit from learning relaxation techniques for anxiety. Anxiety disorders can make routine tasks seem impossible.

The National Institute of Mental Health reported that about one fifth of all American adults suffer from at least one anxiety episode throughout the year. While it can be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety attacks to be able to identify the things that trigger an episode, the nature of anxiety can make this difficult. Often times, the hardest part of having anxiety is dealing with it while still being able to remain in control. Following is a summary of some proven relaxation techniques for anxiety. As with any type of control exercise, it is important to practice the techniques on a regular basis. Following a strict schedule will help you pick up on the skills faster. They can be mastered on your own, but it is also a good idea to have a licensed therapist walk you through the exercises.


Among all the current relaxation techniques for anxiety, this is one of the oldest. It has been practiced for thousands of years by cultures all over the world. The goal of this activity is to take your mind and body into a deep state of awareness and relaxation. It is one of the most effective techniques because it has so many benefits for the person such as better concentration, greater focus, and improved self-awareness. Western civilizations tend to use Yoga based meditation which combines breathing exercises, chanting, physical postures, and visualization. A person can meditate for as short as five minutes or as long as an hour. It is fully dependant on the goals and state of mind of the person. This technique can be mastered at home and there are a number of tools available that can assist a person with their medicating.

Autogenic Training

This is one of the more comprehensive relaxation techniques for anxiety available to people today and it was created by Johannes Schultz, a psychiatrist. This technique is made up of six exercises with body awareness and imagery often being used. The goal of autogenic training is to cause the body to feel relaxed and warm. Because it can be difficult to master, some people may need the assistance of a therapist. Listening to instructions through an audio tape can also help. The training will take up to ten minutes from start to finish and should be done a number of times throughout the day. Even though you may feel like giving up hope when you do not master autogenic right away, you should remember that it can take up to six months to fully implement the technique to the best of your ability.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety

This particular relaxation technique was developed on the principle that because muscle tension is often a common manifestation of anxiety, getting rid of the tension will in essence reduce your anxiety. Developed in the 1920s, this technique is commonly referred to as body scanning. Body scanning works by having a person go into deep concentration. It is important that you choose a relaxing setting where you will not be disturbed. Take the time to mentally focus on each muscle group and then attempt to relax each muscle, one at a time. The entire process normally takes about ten minutes and should be done on a daily basis if possible.

Applied Relaxation

The great thing about this relaxation technique for anxiety is that it is actually a combination of techniques for managing stress. It is meant to be used throughout the day as stressful situation occur. When people master it, they are often able to better adapt to trigger situations which results in fewer anxiety attacks overall. Individuals are taught how to identify the signs of their anxiety and how to relax quickly. There is a multitude of management techniques used including:

  • Rapid relaxing

  • Cue-controlled relaxation

  • Self observation

  • Differential relaxation

  • Application Training

  • Progressive relaxation

The nature of applied relaxation normally requires the person to seek the help of a therapist. Mastering the entire process can range over several months and 12 or more sessions.

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