Relaxation Techniques To Reduce Anxiety

How Relaxation Can Reduce Anxiety

Our bodies respond to anxiety provoking thoughts and feared situations with muscle tension. When an anxious person interprets a situation as threatening the fight or flight response is triggered , hormones are released and the involuntary nervous system gets the muscles tense ready to help the individual to respond to danger (Andrews, Crino, Hunt, Lampe & Page,1994).

Constant muscle tension can make people feel cranky, fatigued & apprehensive and develop muscle pain and soreness as well as headaches (Andrews et al, 1994)

People are more likely to have a panic attack when they are in a constant state of tension as they are already highly stressed so a minor  event could cause further tension which results in hyperventilation and panic (Andrews et al,1994).

Relaxation is the voluntary release of muscle tension or psychological tension (Andrews et al, 1994)

The benefits of relaxation include

  • Feeling calm
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Lowered heart rate
  • Decreased output of hormones that increase the flight or fight response
  • Reduced perspiration
  • Breathing more slowly
  • Sleeping better (Davis, Eshelman, & McKay, 1995)

Different relaxation techniques for anxiety

  • Slow breathing
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Isometric relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Visualization
  • Self hypnosis (Davis, Eshelman & Mc Kay, 1995)

Please note this list is not exhaustive and you may need to try a few different types of relaxation techniques until you find one that you feel is suitable for you.

Relaxation is a skill, and like other skills such as playing the piano or tennis, your ability to relax will improve with regular, repeated practice.

Stress management techniques,  such as those mentioned above, are most beneficial when practiced regularly or when implemented as soon as you detect any increase in your tension or anxiety levels.

If you want to reduce the role anxiety plays in your life, a trained clinical psychologist can help. For a Melbourne psychologist based in Hawthorn call us at 0429 88 3671.

Andrews, G., Crino, R., Hunt, C., Lampe, L. & Page, A. The Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. Cambridge University Press. Melbourne. Australia.

Davis, M., Robbins Ehselman, E. & Mc Kay, M. (1995) Fourth Edition. The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. California, USA.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Anxiety Australia is an anxiety clinic in Hawthorn, Melbourne that is run by Catherine Madigan, who is a clinical psychologist. She primarily focuses on treating anxiety disorders and stress management techniques to individuals and businesses through one on one consultations and stress management workshops.

She offers professional, discreet and confidential treatment options that work.

Catherine’s effective anxiety treatments offered in Melbourne can help you overcome disorders such as:

Call now for an appointment on 0429 883 671

The website provides information about anxiety disorders and the treatment options available. You will also find contact details for other psychologists around Australia who have substantial experience in and/or work primarily with anxiety disorders.

Catherine Madigan is a Melbourne based Clinical Psychologist. She is passionate about empowering clients with confidence. The reason her focus is primarily on the treatment of anxiety disorders is that she gains great satisfaction by witnessing the freedom and life changing results her therapies can deliver.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia, with 1/7 people (14% of the population) reporting having had an anxiety disorder in the last 12 months. Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder than men, 18% vs 11%. ABS National Survey of Mental Health & Wellbeing, Summary of Results 2007.

Anxiety or fear is a normal response to a present or imagined threat. Mild fear can be helpful as it enables us to respond quickly when faced with a dangerous situation and to be alert in difficult situations (e.g. exams). However, excessive fear may lead to people being paralysed e.g. soldiers under attack may be so afraid they can’t move to take cover, public speakers may find they go blank, forget their lines and are rendered speechless.

Anxiety is a normal emotion as it affects most people and is widespread. You would be abnormal if you didn’t experience fear sometimes. However, if your anxiety is out of proportion to the situation you are experiencing and/or persists in the absence of threat, e.g you worry about events months ahead or are experiencing anxiety long after the danger has passed, you may need professional help.

Some people are more prone to experiencing anxiety than others and it is not caused by just one thing but by a combination of factors including: genetics, family environment and traumatic life experiences. Sufferers may have unhelpful thinking patterns such as perfectionist standards. Nevertheless, you can learn to manage your anxiety more effectively.

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