How To Release Anxiety From Your Body (Without Leaving Your Bed!)
Our amygdala (the oldest part of our brain, responsible for survival instincts) kicks on, and we respond to the threat by fighting, fleeing, or freezing. If our brains don’t tell us that we can survive by fighting or fleeing, we will freeze. When we can’t avoid the aggressive boss or angry client, we might freeze to avoid losing our jobs.
Animals know to naturally release stress from the body: Let’s say a dog encounters a larger predator in the woods. If it’s brain sends messages that the dog won’t survive by running or fighting, the dog will freeze (or, as we know it, “play dead”). Once the threat passes, the dog will shake, whine, and physically release any remaining tension from its body. Then, it will continue on with its day.
Unfortunately, most of us haven’t been taught effective ways to release stress from the body, which means that it often stays trapped – keeping us exhausted, irritable, and tense. Moving intuitively will do a phenomenal job of actively releasing tension from our bodies, but not everyone has the time, ability, or event wants to exercise. Plus, what if it’s our rest day?
That’s where a progressive muscle relaxation comes in handy! Next to physical activity, this is one of the most efficient ways to release stress from the body. And the best news? You can do it right from your bed or couch!
- Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold, and begin to clench your toes as hard as you can (releasing if you feel any pain) – send energy/tension into the squeezing toes for 4 seconds, and then breathe out as you release the squeeze. Visualize tension leaving your body and melting out of your feet as you exhale.
- Repeat this step with your calves, thighs, glutes, core, chest, biceps, hands, shoulders, neck, jaw, lips, eyes, and forehead.
- Take a few seconds to relax in between muscle groups to body scan, notice how your body feels as you travel up the body to actively breathe tension out.
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