- by Dr Gowher Yusuf
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- Feb 09 2017
Teens: How do you learn to cope up your anxiety? Activity 24
Source: The Anxiety Workbook for Teens by Lisa M, SCHAB, LCSW
Certain types of physical movement can help people relieve anxiety and feel more peaceful. When you practise these movements on a regular basis, you can keep anxiety at a lower level.
Here are three common types of peaceful movement.
1.Relaxed stretching: simply the gentle, sustained movement of elongating your muscles. When you stretch your muscles, you help to dissipate the stress chemical that have collected in them and you increase the blood circulation in your body, both of which help relieve anxiety, if you breathe peacefully and deeply while you stretch, you help bring oxygen to all of your muscle groups, also relieving anxiety.
Stretching is one of the easiest anxiety-reducing techniques you can use because you can stretch almost any muscle group at any time, almost anywhere you are. You don’t need special equipment or a large block of time. You don’t need any particular athletic skill or ability.
It is important to stretch slowly and gently so that you don’t overextend your muscles. If you stretch a little everyday on a regular basis, you will help keep your anxiety level low. If you take a stretching break when you are feeling particularly tense about something, it will help you release and manage feelings of anxiety. Stretching all of your muscles will keep them relaxed and flexible. Stretching the particular muscles where you hold most of your tension will help to bring relief in the particular area.
2.Yoga: Yoga is a science of life that originated in India thousands of years ago. Its philosophy strives to unify body, mind and spirit through exercise, breathing and meditation in order to maintain in balance and health in life.
The physical exercises, or postures, learned in yoga are designed to increase the health of the glandular system in your body. The stretching involved tones your muscles and joints as well as your entire skeletal system. Breathing exercises help to increase and maintain your health through breath control, bringing energy to your body and developing peacefulness. Meditation develops a quiet mind and releases anxiety as well as increasing your mental power and concentration.
The goal of yoga is to develop a state of inner peace. Practise does not involve any special equipment or clothing, but some beginning instruction is necessary to learn the postures and correct the positioning of your body.
3.T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi is a practise of movement stemming from Chinese culture. While historically it was considered a martial art and a form of non violent self-defense, it is widely practised in western cultures today as a form of “moving meditation”. Movements in T’ai Chi are performed softly and gracefully with smooth, even transitions between them.
Along with stimulating the flow of “chi”, or energy, throughout the body and increasing health and vitality, T’ai Chi movements fosters a calm and tranquil mind, help you to relax and relieve tension, and reverse the effects of stress on your body and mind. The slow meditative movements of T’ai chi make it helpful practise for relaxation, balance, and physical and emotional health.
As with yoga T’ai chi requires instructions to help you begin, but once you learned a number of movements, you can continue to practise alone, for either prevention or management of anxiety.
Even just a few minutes of peaceful movement when you wake up in the morning can set a peaceful tone of your whole day. The same activity at midday can help you re-enter yourself and come back to a place of balance. Done right before you go to sleep at night, peaceful movement can help you sleep more deeply and restfully.
You can learn how to do relaxed stretching, yoga, and T’ai chi by taking classes through your school, park district, fitness centre, or other educational facility. You can also try out and of these activities first by asking if you can visit a class or by watching tapes or DVDs that you can buy, rent from a video store, or borrow from your library. Trying out these activities first can give you an idea of which one you feel most comfortable with and which one suits you the best.
1.Tell which of the movement activities you liked best, and why.
2.Tell which of the movement activities you liked least and why.
3.Rate the 3 activities in the order of their effectiveness for lowering your anxiety level, with 1 being the most 3 being the least effective.
_____ Relaxed stretching ______ Yoga ______ T’ai Chi.
4.Tell how easy or difficult it was for you to do a slow-moving activity and why.
5.Sometimes people actually get a little more anxious when they first try a peaceful movement activity. They may be nervous about doing it “right’ or they may not be used to having their bodies moving so quietly or slowly. If that happened to you, describe your experience.
6.If any of these movement activities were enjoyable or helpful in lowering your anxiety level, try to practise them for 5 minutes a day or more, on a regular basis. That will help you release anxiety and stay more peaceful throughout the whole day. Write down a time of day that you could spend 5 minutes practising peaceful movement.
It can take some people a number of tries before they become comfortable with peaceful movement activity. Try not to give up until you have really given it a chance.
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