Saturday, November 28, 2009

Relaxation Technique 4: Envisioning a Peaceful Scene

Some of you may remember Adam Sandler going to his "happy place' in the movie Happy Gilmore. Here's the script:
Chubbs: You must clear your mind
of everything else and stay focused.
Happy Gilmore: How can I do that?
Chubbs: Think of a place
that's really perfect.
Your own happy place.
Go there and all your anger
will disappear.
Although portrayed with humor, the idea is still a concrete one and works with more than just anger. It can help you with your anxious thoughts as well. 

A peaceful scene could be envisioning yourself on a quiet beach, a stream in the mountains, laying in a meadow of wild flowers, sitting next to a cozy fire wrapped in a blanket on a cold winter day, or wherever you consider to be a peaceful place. As long as you can see everything in detail and completely absorb yourself in the setting, any place real or fantasy will do.

Edmund J. Bourne says, "Allowing yourself to be absorbed in a peaceful scene will deepen your state of relaxation, giving you actual physiological results. Your muscular tension lessens, your heart rate slows down, your breathing deepens, your capillaries open up and warm your hands and feet, and so on."

It helps to write out your peaceful scene on paper. Using all of your senses- sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste, describe the scene in full detail.

You can also record your voice describing what you have written so that you can conjour it up without effort.

Here is an example of a peaceful scene described by Edmund J. Bourne from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook:

The Beach Scene
"You're walking along a beautiful, deserted beach. You are barefoot and can feel the firm white sand beneath your feet as you walk along the margin of the sea. You can hear the sound of the surf as the waves ebb and flow. The sound is hypnotic, relaxing you more and more. The water is a beautiful turquoise blue flecked with whitecaps far out where the waves are cresting. Near the horizon you can see a small sailboat gliding smoothly along. The sound of the waves breaking on the shore lulls you deeper and deeper into relaxation.You draw in the fresh, salty smell of the air with each breath. Your skin glows with the warmth of the sun.You can feel a gentle breeze against your cheek and ruffling in your hair. Taking in the whole scene you feel very calm and at ease."
Sigh. That seems so nice. 

Once you have your own ideal peaceful scene imagined out, return to it whenever you finish any relaxation technique such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation for example. Over time this will enforce the image and it will solidify in your mind, making it easier to call upon on the spur of the moment and help to drive away anxious thoughts.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the Winners Are...

I use a random contest winner generator at Buzz My Blog in order to pick winners for the giveaways at random. The three winners of the November's Relaxation Giveaway- new owners of the iphone app MiHeart, are:

Blue Morpho



Thanks to everyone who participated. I can't wait to hold another one soon. I hope to feature these winners in a future post, but I wanted to get the announcement out for anyone desperately waiting lol :)

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving. If its a hard holiday for you like it is for me, remember to prepare ahead of time with a gameplan.


Monday, November 23, 2009

4 Great Reasons to Track Your Meditation Efforts in a Log or Journal

I like the idea of being held accountable for whether or not I do my weekly yoga since that was a goal I made for myself during this monthly challenge. A lot of you have said that taking walks in the mornings have really helped you.

The fact is, if I don't have to report to anyone, or keep track of my progress, than the likelihood of me sticking with it will plummet. I tend to like lists. So I thought about how we reward our kids with charts and when they do a chore they get to put a sticker on it and thought, why not?

So I did a little research into logging meditation efforts. I found alot of exercise logs that help you track your weight lifting routine, workouts, or diet but an all out exercise regiment is not what I am focusing on right now. We'll save that for another month.

I specifically want to focus on when I do my yoga to make sure I am doing it once a week. I found a log that you can print out here that will allow you to track how often you do flexibility training as well as track any other kind of exercise you may be working on.

I also came across the idea of keeping a meditation journal. I realize that I am not an expert or doctor and so a lot of what I share on this blog is articles or information that I have found from real experts or doctors.

"Mindfulness is about knowing where we are (being in the moment) and also about maintaining an awareness of where we have been (reflection) and where we are going (having goals). A meditation journal can help us with all of those areas of awareness, helping us to have a more unified awareness of ourselves." -wildmind

Here are 5 great reasons to track your meditation efforts in a log or journal:

Reason #1: It  Helps You ”Keep It Real"

Keeping a meditation journal helps us have a more definite sense of what is actually going on. The act of recording when you do your meditation techniques ensures that you are conscientious of what you are actually doing versus what you think you are doing. You'll know exactly how often you take this time out for yourself. You will be able to know if you are not doing it enough, or if you need to try a different kind of meditation technique.

Reason # 2:  Journals Give You The Big Picture

Logs and journals don’t have to be just for recording when you take the time out to meditate. A good log can also contain notes about miscellaneous items like the amount of sleep you got the night before, your energy levels before and after, what your mood was like, the amount of time it lasted, etc. You can track when your anxiety is really high and how your meditation is effecting it. Do you always have less anxiety after meditating? Is it better when you meditate in the morning or right before bed? Being aware of the effect your meditation has on your anxiety can help you make lifestyle adjustments that can improve your progress and help you lead a healthier, more satisfied, life.
 "When we sit down after meditation and take a few minutes to journal what we’ve been experiencing, it makes it pretty obvious how effective we’ve really been. If we examine our experience, honestly and with a desire to learn, then we become much more aware of what our meditation practice actually is. We can become more aware of our weaknesses and our strengths, and have a much more penetrating understanding of what we need to be working on." -wildmind

Reason #3: Logs Keep You Motivated

One of the great things about journals or logs is that when you’re feeling a little less motivated than usual, you can page back through your past efforts and learn about yourself and see the progress you’ve made over time.

Perhaps when you first started you struggled with different breathing techniques or yoga poses, or struggled just to find the time. If you are tracking your mental thoughts before and/or after, maybe at the beginning you were really having a hard time everyday with feelings of doubt, low self esteem, or just anxious thoughts, and now its only every once in awhile that you have a bad day. Perhaps now you have a regular schedule, even daily. Sometimes this is all it takes to get you fired up about trying again.
Reason # 4: Helps Us to Set Goals

"Our journaling can help us to set goals. It’s not that we try to pin down our experience before it happens – that’s rarely if ever going to work and it’s more likely to result in frustration than in any progress in our meditation practice. Instead what we’re trying to do in setting goals is to develop a stronger sense of where we want to go in our meditation practice. Through looking back at our past experience we can see what we need to work on. Perhaps it’s forgiveness or patience that we need to develop. Perhaps it’s more persistence. Or more calmness.

Perhaps we’ll discover that we are lazier than we thought, or perhaps that we try too hard, or perhaps even that we fluctuate in our efforts. We may discover that there are particular distractions that are much more common that we had recalled.

Whatever changes we want to make, having clear goals will help us attain them." -wildmind

If you want to do a meditation journal a simple spiral notebook will do. You can have a journal online if that's your thing, or even take the time to decorate a journal to make it more personal and special.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! It ends TODAY!!!!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Being Held Accountable

I just wanted to report that I did my yoga today so I have accomplished my goal of doing it once a week so far. It helps to know that I am being held accountable to my goals by sharing with all of you. And the yoga felt so good but I know I am going to be sore tomorrow.

Has anyone else made any goals for incorporating relaxation techniques into their life? Anyone else trying to do yoga? If so how often?

If you don't want to share online, share it with someone because it helps to not do it alone.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Why Having An Anxiety Disorder Does Not Mean You’re Crazy

I'm always excited to hear and learn from members of our community. Today I am blog swapping with a fellow anxiety blogger named Paul from and I am thrilled to feature a really great post from him. Enjoy.

Hi I’m Paul Dooley from and today I’ll be talking to you about a subject that plagues many anxiety sufferers; the fear of going crazy. Not surprisingly this is one of the most common complaints from people living with anxiety and it’s a thought that never really seems to go away altogether.  And due to Aimee’s generosity I’ll be able to share with you what I think is a very important insight into this very common fear.
First and foremost I’d like to reiterate that the fear of going crazy really is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorder.  The reason I’d like to highlight this fact is because I hope it helps to put things into perspective for you. In other words, you’re not the one off weirdo that has developed an unheard of reaction to chronic anxiety, quite the contrary. Although you may sometimes have the sense that you are losing your grip on reality and that you are literally on the verge of a mental breakdown things are not as bad as they seem. The truth of the matter is that anxiety disorder(s) can cause a deep seeded fear that sooner or later you're simply going to go mad. However despite this overwhelming fear of possible insanity, the fact that you fear it and are aware of insanity as a state of being is precisely why you are not crazy.
Crazy means a lot things to a lot of people, however for the sake of clarity let's say that for our purposes crazy means a mixture of insanity and psychosis . Let's look at insanity first and how it is normally defined. In the United States insanity is no longer a medical term and in fact is mainly used in legal definitions. You have heard people say that someone is "legally insane" generally meaning that they cannot comprehend the meaning of "right" and "wrong". They simply don't understand what it means to do something horrible, like killing another human being for example.
Under this definition of crazy or insane would you qualify as such a person? If you have an anxiety disorder the answer is no. You have your mental faculties in order and know exactly what right and wrong mean. You know the social norms of society and you follow them. In other words, you don't walk around with your underwear on your head because you know that society views this as unacceptable behavior. The second and highest level of so called crazy is a mental state of delusion and abstraction known as psychosis.
In the past "insanity" was associated with conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These conditions fall under the psychotic types of mental illness. These conditions are debilitating brain disorders that can seriously hinder ones life. When someone is psychotic they may hear voices or have hallucinations. In addition they might have a serious paranoia and a feeling that everyone is out to get them.
When someone is deemed psychotic they exhibit disorganized thinking and strange behaviors of various kind. Their very perception of reality is not what you would call normal. It is seriously distorted and disconnected from normal definitions of reality. Moreover one of the most critical aspects of psychosis that does not affect anxiety sufferers is a lack of insight.
Having a lack of insight is just another way of saying that you don't know that you are behaving or acting strangely. As an anxiety sufferer you spend a lot of time thinking you're crazy or on the verge of crazy but if this were true than you wouldn't know it. You simply would not be aware of the fact that your thoughts and behavior were strange or "crazy".
When you have anxiety you are certainly filled with dread and worry. You experience psychosomatic sensations that make you feel terrible and frequent physical symptoms of all kinds. But the bottom line is that your level of mental fitness is not the same as someone that is psychotic or crazy - it's much better. You have the ability to make sound decisions, you don't hear or see things that aren't there, and you know the difference between real and unreal. Even if you experience feelings of unreality or dream like states you are still aware of them as such.
Unfortunately if you were to ask someone tagged as crazy if they were actually crazy, they would probably say something like "crazy, who me?". They just wouldn't know that they were in mental distress the same way that you would be able to know. As you can see you just don't fit the profile of an insane or psychotic person. So the conclusion must be that you are not crazy. When you have anxiety disorder will you have tricks of vision? Yes. Will you have strange sensations and worry all the time? Yes. But despite this your condition is a completely different tier of mental ailment. You have an anxiety disorder and you will not graduate to a greater and more terrible mental state. You're an excessive worrier racked with tremendous amounts of stress, but you are not crazy by any stretch of the imagination.

Paul Dooley


My Redeeming Moment on Facebook

As I am sure you are aware from previous posts, alot of my anxiety deals with feelings of rejection. I worry about people rejecting me and so I try to avoid it. I think the times in my life where someone has rejected me really scarred me and left deep wounds which later manifested as panic attacks and severe anxiety.

However, I had a really great experience with Facebook yesterday. Here's a little story about when I was just a girl. I have always been a bit boy crazy and when I was in elementary school, I had a huge mega crush on this one particular boy. Only problem, he wanted nothing to do with me. He was in love with this little girl that all the boys were in love with. She was French and had recently moved into the area. This boy even paid another boy to "ask me out" (at that age it was just a title of boyfriend/girlfriend but you didn't actually do anything) just so I would leave him alone. Oh the drama of 9 year olds. It's not like I was a stalker or anything. I don't remember even telling him that I liked him, but I must have been staring at him or something to give him the creeps. Also, being the youngest of 9 I was a bit neglected as a child so I never matched, always wore 10 year old hand-me-downs and my hair was probably a bit unkempt as well. Anyway, eventually the boy moved away and I went on to have other crushes and life moved on.

Yesterday I got a friend request on Facebook from this boy-now-man. I have no idea how he found me. I don't use my maiden name, and we have no mutual friends on facebook. It took me awhile to even figure out who he was. Here is the best part. He left me this message with the friend request:

"Am i wrong, or did we go to elementary school together? lol god, you look great:).".

What?!? Is this for real? It was such a good feeling of finally being accepted by someone who rejected me for so long. It felt like one of those wounds finally healed and disappeared.

The thing about Facebook or any social networking website is that its a place to say "This is who I am" and you have control over what pictures are listed and any other information you want to share. So of course me being the way I am, I am very picky to post only the best pictures and most of those pictures I have photoshopped (I do photography on the side) and let me tell you, photoshop can do wonders. I would never post a picture of the way I am right this minute- no shower, no makeup, in my pajamas. Everyone tries to show their best face on Facebook. It's your way of saying "I have arrived."

His comment really made me feel good about myself. What felt even better? I wasn't asking for it. I didn't look him up. He found me. My sister once told me the best revenge is not giving that person another thought. And I really hadn't in this scenario.

Although it felt really nice, the reality of life is that not everyone that rejects you will someday think you are great. And unfortunately there are a lot of people from my past that rejected me that I can't help but think about. I have dreams almost every night about being rejected over and over again by these people, never feeling good enough. And I will never heal if I continue to wait for that acceptance day that will never come.

I need to learn how to heal without their acceptance. To love myself even if others don't. To feel that I am good enough just the way that I am. And that is the hardest battle I struggle with everyday.

Has anyone else had similar experiences with Facebook or any other social networking site?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Relaxation Technique 3: Yoga

I have written about yoga enough in the past that I will simply leave a couple of links for you to brush up on if you haven't already read them. It as an important relaxation technique, so I think its worth mentioning again.

The Benefits of Yoga
Yoga For Workaholics
Another Testimonial of the Awesomeness of Yoga

I have tried to do yoga on a regular basis in the past but have found it hard to stick to it. So I have decided to try a realistic goal for me to do it once a week. Then if I can get that down, perhaps I will add another day.

Don't forget to enter in the relaxation giveaway!


Monday, November 16, 2009

November's Relaxation Giveaway!

I am so excited to be able to offer a giveaway with this month's challenge of learning to relax. There are multiple ways to enter, all easy. The giveaway ends on Friday so hurry hurry before you forget. There will be THREE WINNERS!!!


Bradon Harwood is sponsoring a free application for your iPhone or iPod, for three lucky winners:

MiHeart (My Heart): For relaxation, meditation, exercise, and sleep.
MiHeart was developed using ancient Buddhist principles and the latest medical studies. When you lay next to someone you love, your heart literally begins to sync with theirs. Eventually, two hearts are beating as one. MiHeart mimics this phenomenon by producing realistic heartbeat sound and vibrations at a rate of 50, 60, or 75 BPM. Taking advantage of this wonder of the human body, slow heart rates can be utilized to coax the body into a state of deep relaxation.
50 BPM imitates a heart in sleep or deep meditation. Lay your iPhone on your chest, and allow the rhythmic, natural heartbeat to relax away your worries. Or, place the device under your pillow and feel yourself lull to sleep! For those who meditate, this app is a great tool for assisting you in reaching a meditative state. Use headphones for the full effect!
60 BPM is a more normal, yet still relaxed heartbeat. Great for unwinding after (or during) work!
75 BPM was designed with exercising in mind. This mode has a faster rhythm and higher frequencies of sound. Perfect for keeping your heart rate under control at the gym, 75 BPM is also a good starting rhythm to help your heart transition down to 50 BPM.
New mothers will find this app excellent at calming down infants and helping them lull to sleep. Create a relaxing environment for your newborn baby by mimicking your own heartbeat.
-Beautifully designed heart with a pulsating animation
-Many frequencies and wavelengths were tested for the heartbeat sound. Through trials and experimentation, we found the optimal range for relaxation, realism, and effectiveness
- Rhythmic vibration completes the relaxing heartbeat effect
-On/Off switches for the vibration and sounds. Customize your heart! (Note: some find using just the vibration or turning the sound volume down to be an optimal setting for sleep).
-Speed settings: 50, 60, and 75 BPM. Some people tend to find 50 BPM to be the most relaxing, but try them out for yourself! 75 BPM is great for exercising. The faster speed and higher sound frequency are optimized for keeping your heart rate at a reasonable level while experiencing a cardio workout.
-Quick-loading, simplistic, and easy to use.
-Proven and effective sleep enhancer. Much more simplistic and cost effective than "noise makers" like sleepstream.

*Please Note: The vibration only functions on iPhone models.

Thanks Bradon!


  1. Add any Reality of Anxiety button picture from my sidebar to your blog or website (email me to let me know if you do this) Don't know how to do this? Click here for a tutorial.
  2. Post a comment anywhere on the discussion forum. This can be a new topic or a reply to an already started topic in any area of the forum. Only one entry will count no matter how many posts you leave.
  3. Leave a  comment at the end of this post telling us what the biggest help has been to help you relax.(only one entry will count no matter how many comments you leave.)


11:59:59 PM (MST) on Monday, November 23, 2009.


THREE Grand Prize winners will be selected from all eligible entries. To be eligible to win, comments must be relevant, appropriate, and substantive relative to the blog topic at hand. The winner will be notified by email and also featured on the blog.


Giveaway open to anyone, anywhere.

If you have any questions feel free to email me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SPOILER ALERT! Giveaway coming really soon!

A Special Heads Up: Monday morning I will be announcing another giveaway. And this time there will be THREE WINNERS! It's only going to last for one week, so be sure to check back so you can enter to win! There will be more than one way to enter, and they are SuPeR easy.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Relaxation Technique 2: Calming Music

First off, I want to apologize for the lack of posts lately. First my internet went down and I had to replace my modem and router and I went through a few days of serious internet withdrawals. Now my husband has been sick with strep throat and possibly the swine flu-ahh! Tonight is the first time I feel like I have some time to relax and actually think. So my relaxation hasn't been where I have wanted it to be so far this month, thats for sure. I have made the deep breathing techniques one of the first things I do when I start to panic so I am glad that I have already been able to incorporate that into my normal routine.

Awhile back I used to have a player on the site that had some music that I found to help me to relax. Music has a way of lifting depressed moods and touching souls.

Edmund J. Bourne says, "Whether you use music while driving, as a background while at work, or in the foreground when you want to take time out to relax, it is one of the most powerful and time-honored methods for letting go of anxiety or worry. If you use the music to assuage anxiety, be sure to select pieces that are genuinely relaxing rather than stimulating or emotionally evocative" (bold and italics added)

I grew up playing the piano and used to teach lessons. I have always found that playing the piano and listening to piano music really helps me to get lost from my daily worries and really feel at peace.

A couple of my favorite piano musicians are John Schmidt and Jim Brickman. I feel a little vulnerable sharing this with you for some reason. I think its just because its so special to me, and its a part of me, a part of my heart, and I don't want people to think its stupid. But I'll take the risk because I think the following is worth it.

While this song isn't Jon Schmidt's most relaxing one, it is the most AMAZING peice I have ever heard. He is so talented and I have been trying to learn this song for years, but its sooo hard. He actually uses his entire arm for several of the notes near the end. Its titled, All of Me. You can check out a live performance here:

Here is another one of my favorites by him:

Just listening to these to put on here is putting me in such a happy mood, I love it.

And now for a really relaxing one, this is by Jim Brickman. The song is called Lake Erie Rainfall and it has a special place in my heart because I grew up literally down the street from Lake Erie and that lake truly is home to me. Being away from it now for 9 years really makes me homesick when I listen to the song, but its also a very peaceful song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

And finally, the first Jim Brickman song that I ever heard is still one of my all time favorites. Its just a beautiful song.

The following are some songs that aren't necessarily relaxing like Enya or Yanni relaxing, but they are cool songs that I used to listen to to help me feel better about my anxiety:

Natasha Bedingfield- Wild Horses:

Frou Frou- Let Go

Daniel Bedingfield- Gotta Get Through This (acoustic):

And finally, Jem- It's Just a Ride:

I like to listen to music in the car, when getting ready for the day, and when cooking dinner. Most of what I listen to is on the more mellow side specifically because it helps me to relax more. Thanks for listening! What kind of music do you listen to, to unwind and relax? I've also started a topic about this on the forum if you would rather leave your suggestions there.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

I am going to be in SELF Magazine!

In January's Edition of Self Magazine, they are having an article on how you may think that you have insomnia, but it may actually be something else. I don't know how much of it will be contributing to anxiety, but I have been talking with editors from the magazine and they want to put my story in! They may or may not mention the blog, but I am super excited, and super nervous too! When I told my sister she said she was jealous of my 15 min. of fame and I said, "Oh yeah, I'll be famous for having a mental illness, real glamorous!" lol

In the past I have posted about my experiences with insomnia and anxiety if you are interested in the topic.

I am thinking it will be in newsstands at the beginning of December, but I don't know for sure. Be sure to check it out and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Relaxation Technique 1: Abdominal Breathing

One of the easiest and very effective things you can do to get into a deep state of relaxation quickly is to take deep breaths.
What is abdominal breathing?
Abdominal breathing is a way to breathe from your stomach area (abdomen) to fill your entire lungs with air. Your lungs are like balloons that should fill up and empty all the way. Your body gets the most benefit when you use your entire lungs. Many people who are under stress breathe in short and shallow breath from the chest. This is not the best way to breathe because it only uses the upper parts of the lung. Breathing from your chest can increase muscle tension.

How to Breathe From Your Abdomen and Not Your Chest:
Place your hand on your abdomen. Breathe in deeply from your nose, slowly pulling in as much air as you can. Keeping your hand on your abdomen, slowly release the air through your mouth. Make sure you release the air from your abdomen area. You should feel your hand depress slightly as this happens.

The Calming Breath Exercise:
One of the easiest things to do when you start feeling anxious is to focus on your breathing. Most people with anxiety tend to breathe in short quick breaths. If your like me, in a horror movie when you get scared you might hold your breath altogether. In movies you see when people start hyperventilating (or taking quick short breaths) they have them breathe out of a brown paper bag. That actually works because it forces you to take deeper breaths because of the lack of oxygen.

So here is a really simple exercise that can help you out tremendously.

  1. At least once a day either when you are anxious or just when you have a time that you can sit and focus, breathing from your abdomen inhale through your nose slowly to a count of 5.
  2. Then HOLD YOUR BREATH for a count of 5.
  3. Release the breath slowly from your nose or mouth, counting to 5 again (or counting backwards from 5 to 1, whichever you prefer). Make sure to exhale fully.
  4. Take two breaths in your normal rythm and then repeat steps 1-3 for 3-5 minutes, or until you reach a 0 on your anxiety scale.

Another tip that you can do while you exhale is to say a phrase or a positive affirmation in your head that is meaningful to you. Something like “this too shall pass” or “I can do this” or “I can take as small a step forward as I choose”; whatever works for you. When you do these actions it forces your body to react in the opposite way you would if you were scared or frightened which in turn can make your anxiety symptoms calm down. It’s also a nice trick you can do no matter where you are, subtly, without having to make a scene. Once you get really good at it, you can do it right in front of someone as they are talking to you and they won’t even notice. I have done this in restaurants, church, in meetings at work, everywhere.

Some other breathing exercises include:

  • Watch your breath. This is called mindfulness. Sit or lie in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Focus your attention on your breathing, and do not try to change it. Watch it go in and out. If it changes, keep being aware of it, almost like you are watching someone else. This is a way to relax and balance your body and mind. This method can also work to decrease pain.
  • Focus on breathing out. Keep watching your breath, and do not try to change it. Think only of breathing out. When you push more air out, you will automatically take more air in. Breathe deeply and feel yourself relax.
There are not too many down sides to abdominal breathing exercises. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you do too much at once, you could pull a muscle that isn't used to being worked very hard or, at the very least, make yourself feel a little lightheaded. Take your time standing up from the prone position.

Time Frame:

Abdominal breathing exercises only take a few minutes every day. Spending 10 minutes a day or every other day can make you healthier. Use these relaxing breathing techniques before you go to bed or first thing in the morning. You'll feel relaxed and rejuvenated.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monthly Challenge: November 2009- Relax!

Thanks to everyone who participated in last month's challenge of learning more about our brains and anxiety. I learned so much and it brought me a sense of empowerment and understanding that is !

For this month's challenge, I want to focus on learning more about how to relax. While taking a hot bath or watching TV can be relaxing, in order to really have a noticeable effect on our anxiety we need a regular daily practice of some form of relaxation that will decrease all of the things that get raised when we are in the fight or flight mode (heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, muscle tension, etc.)

"If you have an especially stressful life, your sympathetic nervous system may always be poised to react to a crisis, putting you in a state of constant tension. In this mode, you tend to react to small stresses the same way you would react to real emergencies. The energy that accumulates in the body to meet this "emergency" must be discharged in order to bring your body back into balance. Repeated episodes of the fight or flight reaction deplete your energy reserves and, if they continue, cause a downward spiral that can lead to emotional burnout and eventually complete exhaustion."

This month I want to learn and share with you any relaxation techniques that help me with my anxiety. I'll be posting about things like abdominal breathing, visualization, calming music and sounds, etc. Anything that will help someone achieve deep relaxation. The challenge is for you to make the time to try them out and/or have your own journey to find relaxation techniques that work for you- and incorporate these techniques in some form or another into your daily life. Then post what you have learned on the discussion forum so we can all try it out! 

"Regular practice of deep relaxation for 20 to 30 minutes on a daily basis can produce, over time, a generalization of relaxation to the rest of your life. That is, after several weeks of practicing deep relaxation once per day, you will tend to feel more relaxed all the time." -Edmund J. Bourne
Some other benefits of deep relaxation include:
  • reduction of general anxiety
  • preventing stress from accumulating
  • increased energy level and productivity
  • improved concentration and memory
  • reduction of insomnia and fatigue
  • increased self confidence
and more. So who is with me? Who is ready to take this on and make it a priority in your life? Couldn't we all use a little more down time?


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