Relaxation techniques are learned skills that help calm your body and mind. They really work and most are easy to do. So let’s get started.

Learn to deep breathe. It’s your first and foremost relaxation technique and it really helps generalized anxiety. While the technique for breathing correctly is easy, it does take practice. This is how it’s done. Sit comfortably. Take a deep breath through your nose while keeping your mouth closed. Hold the breath for a count of three. Make a small circle with your mouth and slowly exhale the breath. The key is in the ‘slowly.’ The breath must be released in a very slow and controlled fashion. Do your deep breathing three times. Feel your shoulder muscles relax.

Deep muscle relaxation is another technique which helps catapult anxiety into the stratosphere. Again, the technique is simple. Starting at the top of your head and working to your toes, tighten each big muscle group. Hold for a count of three, then release and shake out. Repeat three times for each group. When I do this, I start by tightening my face, then move onto my right shoulder, then left shoulder. From there, I move onto my right upper arm, lower arm, hand and fingers…

Another excellent relaxation technique that sends anxiety flying is visualization. The way I instruct my clients in visualization is like this:

Close your eyes and think of a place, any place, where you have felt totally relaxed. This may be a vacation spot, a place in the yard, your room growing up, your bed, the beach, a county fair… Once you have the place in mind, simply sit there. With your eyes closed, look around. Is it sunny outside? Or is it so dark you can see a sky full of stars? See the whole scene. Breathe in deeply and see if you can catch the smells. If you are at the ocean, can you smell the seawater? Listen for any sounds. If you are in your yard, can you hear your dogs barking? Put your hand out and with your fingers, touch what is around. If you are in your bed, in the bedroom where you grew up, can you feel the softness of your blanket? See if you can taste anything. If you are back at your childhood county fair, can you taste the Cotton Candy? Continue relaxing in your special place with your eyes closed. Tell yourself that you feel safe. Tell yourself that you feel good. Feel yourself happy.