7 Relaxation Exercises to Help Manage Anxiety

Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
Aura Health Team
Written by
Aura Health Team
7 Relaxation Exercises to Help Manage Anxiety7 Relaxation Exercises to Help Manage Anxiety

When living within the whirlwind of modern life, the effects of anxiety can sometimes be overwhelming. Anxiety is an emotion that everyone experiences to varying degrees, yet for some, it can become debilitating. Luckily, there are tools available to help us manage this aspect of our emotional wellbeing, particularly through relaxation exercises. This article will introduce you to seven such techniques, explaining their benefits and providing practical guidance to incorporate them into your day-to-day life.

Understanding Anxiety: Causes and Symptoms

Anxiety, by definition, is a complex combination of negative emotions that include fear, apprehension, and worry. These feelings are common and universal, as they are often linked to our survival instincts. Anxiety becomes problematic when it is constant or overwhelming, affecting our daily activities and overall quality of life.

But what exactly causes anxiety? The causes can be multifaceted and differ from person to person. Some common causes include:

  • Genetics: Research suggests that there may be a genetic component to anxiety. If you have a family history of anxiety disorders, you may be more prone to developing it yourself.
  • Brain Chemistry: Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, play a crucial role in regulating mood. Imbalances in these chemicals can contribute to the development of anxiety disorders.
  • Environmental Factors: Certain life events, such as trauma, abuse, or significant stress, can trigger anxiety. These experiences can leave a lasting impact on our mental well-being.
  • Personality Traits: Certain personality traits, such as being highly self-critical or having a tendency to overthink, can make individuals more susceptible to experiencing anxiety.

Recognizing the symptoms of anxiety is the first step to managing it effectively. Symptoms can vary from person to person but often include feelings of restlessness or uneasiness, trouble concentrating, rapid heart rate, and disrupted sleep patterns. Physical symptoms can also manifest such as headaches, stomach aches, and muscle tension.

However, anxiety is not just limited to these common symptoms. It can also impact various aspects of a person's life. For instance, anxiety can affect relationships, as individuals may struggle with expressing their emotions or may become overly dependent on their loved ones for reassurance. In the workplace, anxiety can lead to decreased productivity and difficulty in making decisions. It can also interfere with social activities and hobbies, causing individuals to withdraw from the things they once enjoyed.

It is essential to remember that anxiety is a treatable condition. Seeking professional help from therapists or counselors can provide valuable support and guidance. Additionally, self-care practices such as exercise, mindfulness, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help alleviate anxiety symptoms.

By understanding the causes and symptoms of anxiety, we can work towards creating a more compassionate and supportive environment for those who are affected by it. Remember, you are not alone, and there is help available.

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The Importance of Relaxation Exercises in Managing Anxiety

The Science Behind Relaxation and Anxiety

Relaxation techniques can act as a powerful antidote to anxiety. When we relax, our body's natural relaxation response, a state of deep rest, can decrease stress hormones, slow heart rate and breathing, lower blood pressure, and bring a sense of calm and well-being.

But what exactly happens in our bodies when we engage in relaxation exercises? Let's delve into the science behind this phenomenon. When we are anxious, our body's stress response is activated, triggering the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones prepare us for a "fight or flight" response, causing our heart rate to increase, our breathing to become rapid, and our muscles to tense up.

However, when we consciously engage in relaxation exercises, we activate the body's relaxation response. This response triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood elevators. As a result, our heart rate slows down, our breathing becomes deeper and more regular, and our muscles gradually relax.

Benefits of Regular Relaxation Exercises

Regular utilization of relaxation techniques can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety over time. These skills can help slow your thought processes, allowing you to manage your feelings and actions more effectively. The benefits extend beyond the immediate moment of relaxation, often enhancing mood, boosting confidence, and improving overall mental health.

But what are some specific benefits that regular relaxation exercises can bring? Let's explore further. One major benefit is the reduction of muscle tension. When we are anxious, our muscles tend to stay in a state of constant contraction, leading to discomfort and even pain. By practicing relaxation exercises, we can release this tension and experience a greater sense of physical comfort and ease.

In addition, regular relaxation exercises can improve our sleep quality. Anxiety often disrupts our sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. By incorporating relaxation techniques into our daily routine, we can calm our minds and bodies before bedtime, promoting a more restful and rejuvenating sleep.

Furthermore, relaxation exercises can enhance our ability to cope with stress. When we are anxious, our ability to think clearly and make rational decisions may be impaired. By regularly practicing relaxation techniques, we can train our minds to remain calm and focused even in the face of stressful situations, allowing us to respond more effectively and adaptively.

Finally, engaging in relaxation exercises can provide us with a much-needed break from the demands and pressures of everyday life. Taking the time to relax and unwind allows us to recharge our mental and emotional batteries, reducing the risk of burnout and improving our overall well-being.

In conclusion, relaxation exercises play a crucial role in managing anxiety. By understanding the science behind relaxation and the numerous benefits it offers, we can empower ourselves to incorporate these techniques into our daily lives. Whether it's through deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation, finding the right relaxation technique for you can make a world of difference in your journey towards managing anxiety and achieving a greater sense of peace and tranquility.

7 Effective Relaxation Exercises for Anxiety

Now that we understand the basics of anxiety and the science behind relaxation, let's delve into some of the most effective relaxation exercises for managing your anxiety.

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can manifest as feelings of unease, worry, and fear, and can have a significant impact on daily life. Fortunately, there are several relaxation exercises that can help alleviate anxiety symptoms and promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Deep Breathing Techniques

Deep breathing is a simple yet powerful relaxation technique. It's easy to learn, can be practiced anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your stress levels in check. Deep breathing works by sending a message to your brain, signaling it to calm down and relax.

To practice deep breathing, find a comfortable position and take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs with air. Hold your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth, releasing any tension or stress. Repeat this process several times, focusing on your breath and allowing your body to relax with each exhale.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body. This exercise can help you become more aware of physical sensations and aid in relaxation.

To practice progressive muscle relaxation, start by finding a quiet and comfortable space. Begin with your toes and gradually work your way up, tensing and then releasing each muscle group. Pay attention to the sensations in your body as you tense and relax, and notice how your muscles feel as they become more relaxed. This exercise can be particularly helpful for individuals who experience muscle tension as a result of anxiety.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery is a two-part relaxation technique. It combines the use of visualization and relaxation techniques to produce a calming effect on the mind and body.

To practice guided imagery, find a quiet and peaceful environment. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a serene and tranquil setting, such as a beautiful beach or a peaceful forest. Engage all your senses in this visualization, imagining the sound of waves crashing or the scent of fresh pine. Allow yourself to fully immerse in this calming mental imagery, letting go of any stressful thoughts or worries.

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are ancient practices that involve a combination of physical postures, breathing exercises, and focused attention. Regular practice can reduce anxiety levels and promote a sense of peace and balance in your life.

Yoga incorporates gentle stretching, strengthening, and balance exercises, along with deep breathing and meditation. It helps to release tension in the body, increase flexibility, and promote relaxation. Meditation, on the other hand, involves focusing your attention and eliminating the stream of thoughts that may be causing anxiety. It can be practiced in various forms, such as mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or transcendental meditation.

Autogenic Training

Autogenic training is a relaxation technique that uses visual imagery and body awareness to reduce anxiety. By repeating words or suggestions in your mind, you learn to relax and control bodily functions such as heart rate and breathing.

To practice autogenic training, find a quiet and comfortable space. Close your eyes and repeat a series of calming phrases to yourself, such as "I am calm and relaxed" or "My body is at ease." As you repeat these phrases, focus on the sensations in your body and imagine yourself becoming more and more relaxed with each repetition.


Biofeedback therapy involves monitoring and controlling certain physiological functions, as a way of promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. This might involve using equipment to measure your heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, muscle tension, and other variables.

During a biofeedback session, sensors are attached to your body to measure these physiological responses. The therapist then provides feedback on your body's responses, allowing you to learn how to control them. By becoming aware of your body's reactions to stress and anxiety, you can develop techniques to regulate these responses and induce a state of relaxation.

Mindfulness and Acceptance

Mindfulness teaches us to focus on the present moment without judgment. This acceptance and awareness of the present moment can help manage and reduce feelings of anxiety.

To practice mindfulness, find a quiet and comfortable space. Close your eyes and bring your attention to the present moment. Notice the sensations in your body, the sounds around you, and the thoughts that arise without judgment. Allow yourself to fully experience each moment as it unfolds, accepting it without trying to change or control it. Mindfulness can be practiced through formal meditation sessions or by incorporating mindful moments into your daily activities, such as eating, walking, or even washing dishes.

In conclusion, relaxation exercises can be powerful tools for managing anxiety. By incorporating techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, yoga and meditation, autogenic training, biofeedback, and mindfulness into your daily routine, you can reduce anxiety symptoms and cultivate a greater sense of calm and well-being. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you, and remember that consistency and practice are key to reaping the full benefits of these relaxation exercises.

Tips for Incorporating Relaxation Exercises into Your Daily Routine

Setting Aside Time for Relaxation

We understand that in today's fast-paced world, it can be hard to find time for relaxation. However, even just a few minutes each day can make a significant difference in your mental health.

Creating a Relaxing Environment

Where you choose to practice your relaxation techniques can also play a part in how effective they are. Consider finding a quiet, comfortable space where you feel at ease and free from distractions.

Supplementing these practices with resources such as the Aura Health app can also enhance your relaxation efforts. This comprehensive mental health app offers personalized mindfulness and meditation exercises. It features an expansive library of resources designed to help you better manage anxiety and foster a sense of calm. So why not explore Aura today and join the millions already benefiting from these relaxation techniques?

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July 1, 2023
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