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Helpful Coping Strategies for Anxiety

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

PMR is a tried and true method of releasing muscle tension in the body. The prevailing wisdom is that emotions reside within the body, and often get ‘stuck’ in the muscles.

Along those lines, the thinking is that if our muscles are relaxed, there is no place for anxiety to lodge. Learning to relax the muscles releases tension and can prevent anxiety.

This brief guided video experience walks you through the steps. Once you learn the method, you can do it without the guide in any place at any time.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise -

Diaphragmatic Breathing (Belly Breaths)

Learning to breathe deeply by taking air in through your nose and into your abdomen is a great way to regulate physical symptoms of anxiety.

‘Belly breaths’ allow you to fully exchange fresh oxygen and release carbon dioxide. This lowers blood pressure by slowing the heartbeat. With belly breaths, the abdomen slowly fills with air and expands, as opposed to breathing shallowly into the chest. It can take a while to remember to breathe deeply, but like the other techniques, belly breathing can be practiced at any time and become a way of life.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Technique - v=kgTL5G1ibIo

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a method of overcoming social anxiety that engages the mind and senses. A guide will invite you to imagine a relaxing scene, then focus on the sensory experiences. As the image becomes more realistic, people generally experience a feeling of peace and wellbeing.

Once you learn the process, it can easily be done on your own.

10 Minute Guided Imagery -

Note that these strategies can be used in a moment of anxiety to help relieve it. However, just like any new skill, they must be practiced regularly for you to make them more effective. Take time everyday to practice one of these techniques, and begin to notice how much easier it is to calm your nervous system when it becomes activated.

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