Anxiety Treatment Exercises

Anxiety disorders affect millions of people and are the most common mental illness in the United States. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America website, there are a number of effective therapies and exercises available to treat the symptoms of anxiety. Self-help exercises that you can practice to lessen the symptoms of your anxiety include guided meditation, breathing exercises and relaxation exercises.

Guided Meditations

 Meditation is a practice that is highly praised by business executives, religious leaders, spiritual healers and everyday people. The difference between guided and unguided meditation is that guided meditation give you a kind of script to follow while you meditate. You are given visual clues, encouragement and techniques to control your breathing and ease your stress.
Guided meditations can help you cope with anxiety as the technique has been shown to reduce the heart rate, create a sense of calm and well-being, and promote a positive self-image. The resources section at the end of this article provides links to websites that offer guided meditations for you to use at your leisure. When doing a guided meditation, remember you only need about five to ten minutes. If you're suffering from anxiety, it is helpful to try a meditation before entering into a situation that you find stressful, such as being around large groups of people or being in a small area.

Breathing Relaxation Technique

Breathing from your diaphragm creates a sense of well-being and calm. For this reason, when you begin feeling anxious, focus on slowing down your breathing and pushing that air deeper into your lungs. This will ease your rising tension and help you bring yourself back to the present.'s article "Breathing Exercises" suggests you stand with your feet shoulder width apart and inhale slowly while raising your hands above your head. Exhale, and turn your hands up toward the sky. Inhale once more and slowly rotate your hands back toward the ground, and slowly lower your arms while feeling the air rush out from your nostrils. You can repeat this exercise in sets for more effectiveness, as the technique forces you to focus on your breathing and your body, keeping your attention away from your worries.

Relaxation Exercises

The article "Relaxation Techniques" presents a number of relaxation techniques you can use when you feel your anxiety levels rising. You should also consult your physician or a mental health professional to give you addition tips and techniques, especially if you begin feeling uncomfortable or distressed while performing these techniques.
You can use visualization to reduce anxiety by imagining yourself in a serene environment. Visualization is a somewhat misleading term, because although you imagine what the place looks like, you also involve all of your senses and imagine what the place feels and smells like. For example, if your place of serenity is an open field looking out over a green valley, you'd not only see the valley but also smell the slightly sweet scent of clover in the air, and you'd feel the wind running softly against your skin. Initially, you may have difficulties making the "image" stick, but relaxation exercises take practice; the more you do them, the stronger they'll be.
You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, in which you tense up groups of muscles (such as your upper arm muscles) and slowly relax them. You can do this throughout your whole body starting with your feet and ending with your face. (You may be surprised how much tension you carry in your face.) Progressive muscle relaxation can also help you fall asleep if anxiety makes it difficult for you to fall asleep.