Try each one of those methods a few times before deciding to focus on the ones that suit you best. We also recommend practicing more than one techniques on a regular basis to get more benefits and avoid monotony.
FOCUS ON THE BREATH
Take long, slow, deep breaths (also known as diaphragmatic breathing). As you pay attention to each breath, you also allow your mind to disengage from your thoughts and feelings to focus solely on your breath. Please note that this technique may not be appropriate for those with health problems that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory ailments.
SCAN YOUR BODY
This technique combines breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Take a few deep breaths, focus on one part of the body or group of muscles at a time starting at the top or bottom and mentally release any physical tension you feel there. This helps you become aware of any tension you might be holding in and to work on it before it affects your mood
Visualize soothing scenes, places, or experiences in your mind to help you relax and focus. You can find free apps and online recordings of calming scenes—just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance. This could be a childhood memory, a particular painting or scenery that you liked, or even a completely made up scene. Guided imagery can be difficult for those who have intrusive thoughts or find it hard to conjure up mental images.
It involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and bringing your mind’s attention to the present moment without reacting to your thoughts or feelings. Just notice them and let them pass by. Research suggests it may be helpful for anxiety. (check out the link above for our page on mindfulness to find out more about it).
YOGA, TAI CHI, AND QIGONG
Three ancient arts that combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures or flowing movements. These exercises increase your mental focus, which can distract you from intrusive or racing thoughts. As an added bonus, you will be able to improve your flexibility and balance. Please note that if you are not normally active, have health problems, or a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging. Check with your doctor before starting them.
For this technique, you silently repeat a short prayer, mantra, or phrase from a prayer while focusing on your breath. If religion or spirituality is important to you, this practice may be even more meaningful and effective.
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