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Relaxation Techniques for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

written by: mmarler • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 3/30/2011

In addition to medication and therapy there are a variety of relaxation techniques that can help a person with generalized anxiety disorder find relief. Read on to find out more.

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    Anxiety & Panic Disorders - Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    Understanding and dealing with anxiety with relaxation techniques.

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder is estimated to affect over 13% of the adult population in the US according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The symptoms can include rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, irrational thoughts and fear, difficulty with breathing and tingling or numbness in the hands.

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    Generalized anxiety disorder relaxation techniques

    1. Squeezing an ice cube in your hand - the discomfort can distract and redirect your thoughts from the anxiety. You may also wrap the ice cube in a paper towel or cloth to avoid dripping water all over the place.

    2. Sucking on a lemon wedge or something sweet, again this provides a distraction.

    3. Music is another great way to help relieve or reduce the effects of anxiety. Carrying an mp3 player is a good idea. Load some music that you find relaxing - drowning out noise from around you can be a great to relieve anxiety.

    4. Breathing techniques will help slow the heart and can reduce anxiety effects. Try taking ten deep breaths and slowly exhaling. Do more as needed.

    5. Try to cut down or avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Stimulants can increase anxiety levels in general.

    6. Exercising, meditation or going for a walk can help as well as this focuses on something other than your anxiety.

    7. Get a hobby. Find something you love to do or always wanted to and take some time out of your day when feeling anxious. A hobby is an excellent generalized anxiety disorder relaxation technique.

    9. Therapy for generalized anxiety disorder is found to be one of the best relaxation techniques for GAD sufferers. Talking with a trusted therapist can reduce anxiety as well as possibly getting to the cause of your disorder.

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    What else can I do?

    With a mix of the above and some generalized anxiety disorder coping skills you can work with your therapist to create a daily plan to follow. Having a structured routine can greatly reduce the anxiety you experience throughout the day.

    Example of a daily routine:

    • 7:00 AM - Breakfast followed by a light workout or jogging.
    • 8:00 AM - Shower and get ready for work.
    • 12:00 PM - Lunch in a quiet place followed with some breathing exercises, meditation or music. (Remember your mp3 player)
    • 5:00 PM - Dinner followed by some time spent on your hobby or going for a walk.
    • 8:00 PM - Dim the lights, get comfortable and watch your favorite show or a movie.
    • 10:00 PM - More breathing exercises or some music while lying down to get ready to sleep.

    That was just an example, you can adjust yours around your time and what works best for you. Get into the habit of following your routine and you may find the generalized anxiety disorder relaxation techniques greatly reduce and possibly eliminate your GAD.

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    References

    Anxiety Disorders Association of America: Exercise for stress and anxiety.

    http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety

    Healthy Place: Relaxation techniques for relief of anxiety and stress by Susan M. Lark, M.D

    http://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/anxiety-self-help/relaxation-techniques-for-relief-of-anxiety-and-stress/menu-id-1216/

    Jacinto Obregon, MD - Thomas Medical Associates (Author's physician)



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