Techniques to Ease Anxiety

4 techniques to ease anxiety

Simply yoga ways for dealing with stress and anxiety.
By Anna Brook

We live in uncertain times. Within a very short space of time we have had vast shifts to adjust to: social distancing, unemployment or huge changes in our work life and isolation for some, alongside the threat of illness.In the pre-Covid 19 world, anxiety and depression competed to be the number one mental health problem in western society, with 10% of us having suffered from a form of anxiety in the past year. However, with big changes impacting society, it is inevitable that some of us will experience more anxiety than usual at the moment.

Here are four techniques to ease anxiety:

1. 7/11 breath

This is a simple yet powerful technique. Closing the eyes, you simply:

• Inhale to a count of 7

• Exhale to a count of 11

• Aim for 10 rounds of the 7/11 breath each time you practice.

The reason this helps us feel calmer is that the longer exhale helps to stimulate the body’s relaxation response (parasympathetic nervous system).

Altering the sensation

Close your eyes and notice where you
feel anxiety in your body.

• Visualise what colour and/or shape the anxiety would be.

• Now imagine how the colour and shape would need to change for the feeling of anxiety to be manageable and okay.

Shaking off the stress

When we experience anxiety, the stress hormones of adrenaline/cortisol run through our bodies. To break down these hormones we anxiety need to move, so shaking the body is a very effective way to release anxiety.

• Simply shake your arms, legs or torso vigorously, focusing on areas that feel uncomfortable. You could put some of
your favourite music on!

Dialling down

Close your eyes and imagine a dial with the numbers 1 – 10 on it, as vividly as possible.

• See or sense the needle registering at the number that best represents how anxious you feel right now.

• Then look at the dial and choose to turn it down to the amount of emotion you feel is appropriate to the situation.

Anna Brook is a yoga teacher based in Margate (