Anxiety Exercises: 5 Exercises for Relaxation

(Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)
Anxiety exercises (Photo via Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez)

Anxiety exercises can help you relax quickly. Anxiety is a common human response to stress.

However, excessive anxiety can interfere with living a balanced and happy life. If you're feeling anxious, try one or more of the following exercises any time and anywhere to find relief.

Anxiety exercises

Here's a look at five such exercises:

#1 Relaxation by breathing

When you're anxious, you may notice that your heart rate and breathing rate increase.

You might also start sweating and feel dizzy or lightheaded. When you're stressed, controlling your breathing can help relax both the body and mind.

Follow these steps to calm your breathing when you're anxious:

  • Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable.
  • Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach.
  • When you take a deep breath, the stomach should move more than your chest.
  • Inhale slowly, and steadily through your nose.
  • As you breathe in, pay attention to and feel your hands.
  • The chest hand should remain still while the stomach hand should move slightly.

#2 Relaxation by visualization

Painting a mental picture of a relaxing location can calm your brain and body.(Photo via Unsplash/Artem Beliaikin)
Painting a mental picture of a relaxing location can calm your brain and body.(Photo via Unsplash/Artem Beliaikin)

Painting a mental picture of a relaxing location can calm the brain and body. When you begin to feel anxious, find a peaceful and relaxing place to sit.

Consider your appropriate spot to unwind. While it can be any location around the world, real or imagined, it should be an image that's calming, happy, peaceful, and safe for you. Make it simple enough to remember so that you can refer to it when you're feeling anxious in the future.

Consider all the minor details you'd discover if you had been there. Consider how the space would taste, feel, and sound. Imagine yourself in that location, relaxing and enjoying yourself.

Once you've visualized your happy place, close your eyes, and take slow, frequent breaths through the nasal passages and out of the mouth. Continue to focus on the place you've imagined in your mind, and be aware of your breathing till you feel your anxiety lift. If you're feeling anxious, go to this mental location.

#3 Muscle relaxation

If you're anxious, you may experience muscle strain or tension. This tension can make it more difficult to manage your anxiety at the moment. You can usually reduce your anxiety level by doing this anxiety exercise.

To quickly relieve muscle tension during anxious moments:

  • Sit somewhere quiet and comfortable. Concentrate on your breathing, and close your eyes.
  • Slowly exhale through the nose, and inhale through your mouth.
  • Make a close fist with your hand. Squeeze your fist hard.
  • Hold your fist in place for a few seconds. Take note of all the tension in your hand.
  • Slowly open your hand.
  • Your hand will eventually feel lighter and more relaxed.

Continue tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body, such as those in the hands, legs, shoulders, or feet. Move slowly up and down your body, tensing different muscle groups. Tensing your muscles in just about any area of the body that's injured or in pain can aggravate your injury.

#4 Relaxation by counting

Relaxation by counting (Photo via Unsplash/Luis Arias)
Relaxation by counting (Photo via Unsplash/Luis Arias)

Counting is a simple method of stress relief. Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit when you feel nervousness washing over you. Keep your eyes closed, and count to ten slowly. If necessary, repeat the process, and count to 20 or a higher number. Count till you feel your anxiety subside.

Relief can come quickly at times, but it can also take some time to come in other instances. Nevertheless, maintain your composure and patience. Counting can help you relax, as it provides you something else to focus on other than your anxiety.

It's an excellent tool to employ in a crowded or busy environment, such as a store or train, in which other anxiety exercises may be more difficult to perform.

#5 Mindfulness

Mindfulness is gentle and judgment-free (Photo via Unsplash/Katerina May)
Mindfulness is gentle and judgment-free (Photo via Unsplash/Katerina May)

Mindfulness is gentle and judgment-free when it comes tong present in your current state and surroundings. When your thoughts are racing and anxiety is building, staying present can help you create a calm state of mind.

To bring oneself out of your thoughts and into the present moment. Close your eyes, and find a quiet and comfortable place to sit.

Take note of how your breathing and body are feeling. Change your focus to the sensations you notice in your surroundings. Consider what's going on outside of your body. Take note of what you hear, smell, and feel in your surroundings.

Change your focus from your body to your surroundings and back again several times till the anxiety begins to fade.


Anxiety can interfere with thoughts and activities, and it can be difficult to overcome anxiety. However, you need to know that you can find relief, even if you feel trapped in it. Try one of the aforementioned exercises the next time you're feeling anxious.

Edited by Bhargav
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