September 15, 2022

At-Home Exercises for Stress and Anxiety

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Anxiety, Stress Management and with tags: anxiety, exercises

stress and anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 40 million people in the United States experience an anxiety disorder. This number translates to about 18% of the total population.

Despite the prevalence of this type of disease, those who suffer can find ways to reduce the effects caused by anxiety and stress. While the Mayo Clinic recommends 30 minutes of exercise daily three to five days a week to reduce anxiety symptoms, smaller amounts might make a difference.

We’ve included several best at-home exercises and tips to get you started.

Physical Exercise

The physical benefits of exercise are vital to maintaining mental fitness. When finding the best at-home exercise to combat stress and anxiety, it’s best to choose one you enjoy the most.

The reason is that you’ll be more likely to regularly stick to it and be more likely to engage in it compared to an activity that makes you feel uncomfortable or you hate. For example, if you enjoy the solitude that comes with yoga but hate the idea of running, opt to practice yoga.

Brisk Walking or Running

One of the simplest ways to experience some stress-busting exercise is to get outside and go for a brisk walk. Walking gives you time to think and get away from stressors, and your body will release endorphins, which tend to improve your mood after exercise.

Even if you’re not an avid runner, lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement can help you clear your mind while reducing stress. These combined factors can help you reduce anxiety.

Running is an excellent way to escape from your daily routine and do something entirely for yourself. Even running for 15 minutes can be enough time for your brain to focus on something other than whatever stressors are a part of your life.

Cycling

This activity is easy on your joints and can provide a heart-racing workout. You can ride on a stationary bike at your own pace or connect to a subscription program to participate in a virtual class. If you’re heading outside for cycling, remember to grab your helmet before you set out on the road or bike path.

Gardening

You might not think of gardening as an exercise, but you can work up a sweat when gardening. Working in the garden can get you moving and physically active since you’ll be bending, digging, stretching, and carrying plants and tools. Transporting watering cans and lifting bags of soil can also work various muscles and elevate your heart rate. You’ll beautify your space while clearing your mind of your worries.

Practicing Yoga and Tai Chi

When you think of ways to reduce stress and anxiety, you might immediately think of yoga since this exercise combines meditation techniques and core exercises. As a result, your mental and physical health will benefit from these practices.

This gold standard for stress reduction and anxiety relief involves deliberate movement and breathing exercises. These breathing exercises can help you calm down and recenter yourself.

Similar to yoga, tai chi involves a series of breathing techniques and flowing body movements. Despite the moves resembling something you’d find in martial arts, tai chi can calm your mind and condition your body.

This exercise also has other benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, increasing bone density, and boosting your immune system. Once you master a few basic moves, tai chi is an easy activity you can complete just about anywhere.

Focused Exercises

Known as anxiety exercises, focused exercises address your body’s response to stress. These exercises replace rapid breathing, tense muscles, and an increased heart rate with techniques to make your body feel more relaxed without overexertion.

Concentrated Breathing

You might notice that your heart and breathing rates increase whenever you feel anxious or stressed. You might also start to feel dizzy or lightheaded. To focus on your breathing, follow these steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable location. Place one of your hands on your chest and the other on your stomach.
  • Take a regular and slow breath in through your nose. Watch your hands as you breathe. The one on your chest should remain still, while the one on your stomach should move slightly.
  • Breathe slowly out of your mouth.
  • Repeat this pattern a dozen times until you feel less anxious and more in control.

Counting

One of the simplest ways to reduce anxiety is to count. When you feel your anxiety begin to take over, find a comfortable place to sit and start to count to 10. If you’re still feeling anxious, keep counting. Counting gives you something to concentrate on other than your anxiety.

Visualizing

You might know the mantra about finding your happy place when dealing with stress or anxiety. The purpose is to get you to picture a location that makes you content and at peace. Think of your ideal location and relax. Imagine every specific detail and envision yourself in that place. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and continue focusing on that place until you feel less anxious.

How Often Should You Complete These Exercises?

No standard amount of time or exercise can magically rid you of stress. Instead of concentrating on how often you should complete these exercises, you should strive to do them as often as necessary.

Participate as often as your schedule allows for physical activity without risking injury. If you can only manage a few minutes daily, that’s a better option than making an excuse not to work out at all.

Anxiety and stress can cause mental and physical symptoms affecting your daily life. You might find that you’re disconnected from others or lack the joy you typically experience as you perform activities. These physical and focused exercises can help you manage your stress levels and anxiety.

However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need additional guidance to support you, let Eddins Counseling Group help. We can arrange in-person and online therapy to help you with stress and anxiety counseling and treatment.

 

Confident fit ethnic woman training with other sportswomen in modern fitness studio
by Andrea Piacquadio is licensed with Pexels

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