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Health and Wellness Resources

Health and Wellness Resources

Health & Wellness Resources



Stress & Anxiety Relief


By Lynne Couchara

Anxiety is defined as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.  Feelings of anxiety can lurk in the background, or they can seem to pop out of nowhere.  Either way, anxiety is unpleasant and its causes are not always easy to pinpoint.

There are methods based on yoga and meditation that are helpful for managing anxiety.  Since our emotions are directly reflected in our breathing (think about how you breathe when you are angry or upset), we can directly impact how we feel through controlling our breath.  Thus, one method of controlling anxiety is to examine and control the breath. To do this, close your eyes, and focus your attention on your breath.  Notice its rhythm. Notice its texture.  Notice if it is deep or shallow.  Slowly, begin to intentionally deepen and lengthen your inhales and exhales, without forcing it.  The idea is to take deeper breaths, but not so deep that you feel light headed. Breathe this way for 1-2 minutes and notice how your feel as a result.  To learn more about this technique, a certified yoga instructor would be able to help.

Similar to our breath, the way we hold our bodies reflects our thoughts and feelings.  Anxiety causes the body to tense up. A second method that helps control anxiety is a regular relaxation practice. If you have ever gone to a yoga class, you may have experienced a guided relaxation at the end of class. Two relaxation techniques that can help with anxiety are tension/relaxation, where specific areas of the body are intentionally tensed and relaxed, and progressive relaxation, where muscular tension is intentionally relaxed sequentially from head to toe.  This may be done alone, with an instructor, or by listening to a recording.  Click here for a guided relaxation recording.

When we are anxious, our minds are focused on worrying about a future that does not exist. Thus, a third method that helps control anxiety is mantra meditation, where the mind is focused on a mantra, or sound.  This takes the mind away from the future and into the present moment. Here is an article on how to practice meditation.

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