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  • Alainnah Knight

5 Mind-Body Practices for Anxiety

Anxiety is a common, yet overwhelming experience that impacts many aspects of our lives. Anxiety tends to find its way into our bodies through activating the sympathetic nervous system, leaving us in a state of fight or flight. Our bodies so often become constricted, tense, and tight in these moments, which takes away our mind-body connection. Let's explore a few mind-body practices that can be a powerful tool for anxiety relief.


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal and adaptive response to stress and threats, but when it becomes excessive and chronic, it can greatly interfere with daily life. Symptoms of anxiety may include restlessness, racing thoughts, muscle tension, and a sense of impending doom. There are many ways to manage these symptoms, including talking to a therapist, but there are also things you can add to your daily life to decrease anxiety!



A yoga pose of crow in front of mountains in Peru

5 Mind-Body Practices To Decrease Anxiety


1. Yoga


Yoga combines physical postures, breath control, and meditation to increase mind-body connection, mindfulness, and empowerment. Yoga has been found to reduce stress and anxiety from practicing at the moment, but also long-term from consistent practice. Yoga is also a wonderful form of movement for all levels.


2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation


Progressive muscle relaxation is a mindfulness practice that involves tensing and then relaxing different muscles in your body. There are many ways to practice progressive muscle relaxation, but one way is, to begin with tensing your toes and then releasing them, then tense your feet and release them, then your ankles, and so on throughout your entire body. After you complete every part, you can tense up your entire body and then release it! This can help reduce physical tension, which is often associated with anxiety. This practice cultivates self-awareness and guides you to release bodily stress.


3. Guided Imagery


Guided imagery is closing your eyes and visualizing your favorite vacation spot, a place that brings you comfort, or anything that you can imagine being a part of that brings you peace. By immersing yourself in these positive mental images, you can create a sense of calm and reduce anxiety.


4. Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine practice, where thin needles are placed into specific mediums amongst the body. It can help balance the body's energy and reduce anxiety by cultivating relaxation and reducing muscle tension.

5. Dance


Dance improves the mind-body connection through increased body awareness, emotional expression, and stress reduction. It cultivates mindfulness, increases self-esteem, and promotes creativity while encouraging body positivity and social connection. Regular dancing also increases energy levels, leading to better mental alertness and overall vitality!



Lastly,

Don't let anxiety rule your life. Mind-body practices can be a great tool for managing anxiety and encouraging mental and physical well-being. There are also many other ways to manage anxiety, such as talking to a therapist! If you are interested in pursuing therapy, we would love to join you on this journey. You can call or email us today!



References

Bandealy, S. S., Sheth, N. C., Matuella, S. K., Chaikind, J. R., Oliva, I. A., Philip, S. R., Jones, P. M., & Hoge, E. A. (2021). Mind-Body Interventions for Anxiety Disorders: A Review of the Evidence Base for Mental Health Practitioners. Focus (American Psychiatric Publishing), 19(2), 173–183. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.focus.20200042


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