Body Wisdom – Health & Fitness

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Four Effective Methods to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Your Life

From the desk of Pat Mullaly

In each person’s life, symptoms of stress and anxiety can show up from time to time. If you are experiencing muscle tension, frequent headaches, occasional chest pains— these are possible evidence that you are experiencing some form of stress. You may or may not be able to change the source of the stress, but you can make choices on how you handle the anxiety you experience. Here are four methods to reduce stress and anxiety that our readers have found to be very helpful.

  1. Breathe deeply to relieve stress.Take a deep breath. Sounds simple, but just pausing long enough to take a deep breath right from the base of your diaphragm can go a long way to relieving stress and anxious feelings. Deep breathing prevents hyperventilating which results from taking many short, shallow breaths – something that often happens with a panic attack. When you feel anxiety building, pause, and take a deep breath. Imagine taking the air all the way into your stomach, then pushing it up and out. Your anxiety should diminish with every breath. NOTE: If you find that breathing too deeply actually causing you to begin to hyperventilate (this is not common but it can occur) try timing your breathing in regular intervals, counting out breaths in groups of 5 or 7. This not only slows you down, but give your mind something else to concentrate on.
  2. Imagine yourself in a safe and beautiful environment. This technique is called Visualization. Let your mind wander back over some special memory that brought you pleasure and joy. This will give you a chance to take your mind off the stressful issue at hand and allow you to feel more relaxed.
  3. If you find yourself often filled with anxiety you might find it helpful to spend time listening to meditative readings or music. There are many good products on the market today that can help soothe your soul. Check out our resources page for some wonderful books, DVDs and MP3 audio files that can help you develop a daily relaxation routine.
  4. Improve your sleep habits. You should give yourself at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Go to bed at a regular time, and rise each morning at the same time if you can. Do not watch TV or the news just before bed. Do not eat or drink too close to bedtime. You don't want to have to get up in the middle of the night to answer "nature's call" if you can prevent it. Improving your sleep will give you the energy to face the next day with greater vigor and less anxiety.

If your anxiety or stress cannot be relieved by these simple methods we suggest you consult with your physician for additional ideas.

I wish you much prosperity and good health in your life.

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