Center for Growth / Anxiety Reduction in Philadelphia

Steps you can take to reduce anxiety, anxiety can impact work, your interpersonal relationships, hobbies, and prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest. You do not have to suffer in silence. There are steps you can take to help yourself heal. An abundance of resources exist to help you understand anxiety and assist you in seeking treatment. If you are unable to manage the problems on your own, help is available. You just have to reach out and tell somebody that you are struggling and need help.

Steps you can take to reduce anxiety:

* positive self talk (steps you can take to reduce anxiety)- remind yourself that there is nothing medically wrong, and that the anxiety will pass. You are not losing your mind or control. You can get through it. You are okay.

* Visualization/meditation (steps you can take to reduce anxiety)- practicing meditation/visualization you learn to “quiet” your body and mind, and focus on something positive.

* Visualization (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - in your mind, a place you have been or one in which you would like to go. It needs to be place where you are comfortable and one that you find attractive. As you concentrate on taking slow deep breaths, close your eyes and picture this place in your mind. Concentrate on breathing slowly, in and out. Create the picture in your mind, and begin your journey. See yourself in your visualization. Notice the scenery, smell the fragrances, see yourself calm and relaxed enjoying all that is before you. Stay in this place for several minutes. When you notice your body has become totally relaxed, you can gradually leave your visualization, and return your sight to your present surroundings. The more you practice this technique, the easier it will be for you to go there when anxiety is overcoming you. Another variation of visualization is to see yourself calmly participating in an activity or scene, one in which you previously may have experienced anxiety. See yourself in the activity. You are calm, enjoying yourself, and enjoying all that surrounds you. You see yourself as in control and feeling fine.

* Meditation (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - choose a focus word or phrase, perhaps a spiritual one, if that suits your nature. Begin by sitting or lying comfortably in a room without distractions. Begin breathing slowly, in and out. Focus on relaxing your body as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply. As you feel your body begin to relax, bring your focus word or phrase to mind. Concentrate on actually seeing the word or words, spell them silently to yourself, and repeat them over and over. Allow the word or phrase to be the center of your focus. Concentrate on its meaning. Feel yourself relaxing and breathing as your phrase keeps you focused. After a short time, gently open your eyes, and lie still for a few seconds. Take a few slow deep breaths, and continue on with your day. By practicing any form of meditation on a consistent basis, you will be well prepared to call on this skill when needed.

* Breathing (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - rapid shallow breathing can often accompany anxiety. This can compound the feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness. Practicing controlled breathing can help calm some of those symptoms, and help alleviate some of the feelings of anxiety.

An example of a breathing exercise: Begin by sitting or lying comfortably. Place your hand on your stomach, and feel your stomach move up and down as you breathe. Now close your eyes, and begin inhaling slowly while counting. Breathe in 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8, hold for a second or two, and then slowly exhale 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Concentrate on your breathing, and make sure you perform this exercise slowly. After a few minutes of controlled breathing your body should feel somewhat relaxed. You can utilize this exercise whenever you feel anxious.

* Journaling (steps you cna take to reduce anxiety) - purchase a notebook or a commercial journal. Write your experiences, symptoms, actions, reactions, possible triggers, and feelings. This will help you to not only focus your attention, but may also help you to identify possible triggers for your anxiety, and help to keep track of techniques that may help you.

* Meditative exercises (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) -Yoga, Tai Chi. There are many resources available for both on the internet and in books store. Each of these exercises can be performed informally in your home, or you may find a class near by. The basic focus of these exercise forms are slow, controlled movements, and involve moving through various positions. Both activities increase flexibility, strength, and blood flow through throughout your body. They also increase and improve concentration.

* Get creative (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - Channel your energies on the creative mode. Writing, drawing, painting, singing, sculpting with clay, are all activities that can stimulate your mind and body, and can channel your energy and concentration into something more positive. Pounding clay can be a great stress relief!

* Exercise (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - Any form of physical or mental exercise will do. Walking, jogging, playing a sport, bicycling, whatever you feel you can do comfortably. Work to increase your exercise time. Exercise quiets the mind by getting you out of your head and into your body. not to mention, when you exercise, your body produces natural endorphins which are a natural mood upper.

* Mental exercise is important as well (steps you can take to reduce anxiety) - There are quite a few mind games on the market today, that provide for a variety of mental stimulation. Crossword puzzles, Sudoku are all mentally challenging and keep the creative juices focused and stimulated. It helps to concentrate on other activities when experiencing anxiety. People suffering from ‘real anxiety’ will often find themselves unable to distract themselves from mundane anxiety.