• 10 mg Valium will not last long and I would be careful with Valium, it can be very addictive. Try other methods, everything that helps you to relax will help.

    Relaxation procedures are especially important for changing the strong physical tension of anxiety. By reducing tension, the physical symptoms of anxiety such as

    • restlessness,
    • palpitations or
    • pressure on the chest

    often decrease significantly! Learn here how to overcome anxious feelings in seconds.

    Progressive muscle relaxation (PME)

    The most important relaxation methods include progressive muscle relaxation (PME) according to Edmund Jacobson, autogenic training according to Johannes Schultz and biofeedback methods. PME is action-active and therefore very well suited for people who have no experience with relaxation methods, because the practitioners can hold on to the movements, so to speak, and are not immediately confronted with their innermost feelings.

    Edmund Jacobson discovered that all mentally ill people suffer from muscle tension, that tension and exertion shorten the muscle fibers, and that relaxation counteracts states of excitement. Therefore, if it is possible to relax the muscles of the body, this would also have a positive effect on the mental state, was the approach of the doctor born in Chicago in 1888.

    In the exercises, certain muscle groups are tensed briefly and only gently, and this is done primarily in order to be able to consciously perceive the subsequent release and the associated relaxation. The point is to learn to perceive the difference between tensing and relaxing and to induce the relaxation oneself in a self-active way.

    Progressive means progressive. With regard to progressive muscle relaxation, this means, on the one hand, that more and more muscle groups are integrated into the exercises and, on the other hand, that after a certain period of practice, the muscle groups are combined in such a way that the practitioner can apply letting go in any situation in life, thus allowing relaxation to become more and more his basic attitude. This is also intended to progressively reduce residual tension.

    The autogenic training

    Psychiatrist Johannes Schultz, developed autogenic training in his study of hypnosis. Schultz discovered that in a state of relaxation, a person perceives his muscles as heavy and his body as warm, his breathing rate decreases and his heartbeat becomes calmer. Overall, thoughts become calmer and the person feels confidence and joy.

    Schultz recognized that a person can also self-actively induce this state of relaxation by means of inwardly silently spoken formulas. The more regularly and continuously one practices, the faster the practitioner can achieve the state of relaxation.

    Autogenic training requires more concentration than progressive muscle relaxation and is therefore not suitable if attention, affect and drive are severely disturbed, as is the case with mental illnesses such as emotionally unstable personality disorder of the borderline type, ADHD, severe depression or severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.

    In certain cases, progressive muscle relaxation is suitable as an introduction to relaxation techniques. Absolute contraindications are psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia, also lack of intellectual conditions, because the principle of the exercises cannot be understood and therefore the exercises cannot be performed.

    Those who are truly relaxed feel joy instead of anxiety. These relaxation methods are therefore also used psychotherapeutically. For example, Joseph Wolpe developed systematic desensitization. In this process, clients first learn a relaxation procedure. After they have induced the relaxation state, they are confronted with the fear-inducing stimulus in the presence of the therapist and experience that it no longer triggers fear in them.

    These relaxation procedures can be used consciously as coping skills. Over time, they enable people to evaluate certain situations differently and experience them in a more relaxed way overall.

    Using biofeedback to influence physical reactions

    It involves making physiological processes such as heartbeat, pulse, or even brain waves, which normally occur unconsciously, transparent in such a way that the client can see a connection between their attitudes or behavior and their physical reactions.

    The devices and apps used for this vary widely. For example, sensors are attached to the client’s body and connected to a computer via a cable. The client sees the measured values on the screen and can relate them to his own condition. In this way, he gets a relationship to how and also when his body reacts, for example, to thoughts or situations that are stressful for him.

    In order to positively influence the physical reactions, the clients use relaxation techniques during the biofeedback session, for example. In this way, they experience that they themselves can influence the values they see on the screen in favor of their health. The client thus perceives live how he or she can, for example, lower his or her pulse rate self-actively through the heaviness exercise of autogenic training.

    Reducing anxiety with sport

    Sport can also be a helpful measure to reduce anxiety and tension. In particularly dangerous situations, fear has a warning function and the resulting stress reaction prepares us for fight or flight in a matter of seconds. However, the increased release of hormones such as adrenaline, noradrenaline, insulin and cortisol must be reduced through activity, otherwise they burden the organism and a persistent stress reaction makes us ill in the long run.

    Sport reduces these hormones and releases endorphins instead. Also known as happiness hormones, endorphins make us feel good and relaxed and make us much more capable of responding to stress in a healthy way. Regular exercise, especially endurance sports, helps make us much more resistant to stress overall. Research has shown that as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day leads to a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.

    Self-help tips

    Above all, it is important to react early when anxiety occurs. Perhaps you observe fears in yourself that you actually consider to be exaggerated or nonsensical. You may find that you suddenly avoid places or situations that are not dangerous in themselves and that didn’t bother you before.

    What you can do

    1. If the fears are not too pronounced, you should consciously visit the fear-inducing places or situations again and again – in other words, you should face your fear. In doing so, you should stay in the situation until the fear has decreased significantly on its own. You should do without anything that could give you security in the situation (for example a talisman, an “emergency medicine” or a familiar person) during these exercises. By “confronting” the fearful situations or stimuli, you can experience that nothing bad is actually happening. This should cause the fear to disappear completely or almost completely over time.
    2. For example, if you have a fear of dogs, you should consciously stay near dogs and also touch or feed them. If you feel a sense of unease on the subway, you should consciously ride longer distances on the subway and not get off even when you feel fear and would prefer to flee. And if you have great “stage fright” before lectures or a public appearance, you should repeatedly put yourself in such situations, see them as a challenge and practice until the lecture or appearance comes easily to you and is perhaps even fun.
    3. In situations where it is “normal” to be excited or anxious, you can use breathing exercises or relaxation techniques, or talk yourself into it (for example, “I will manage. I’ve managed in similar situations.”).
    4. However, you should not hesitate to seek support if you find that you cannot manage anxiety on your own. There are a number of well-reviewed therapeutic approaches that usually work well to treat different types of anxiety. It is important that you do not simply resign yourself to your anxiety and limitations! You can find professional help, for example, from a doctor, especially a specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy, or from a psychotherapist. Participating in a support group can also be a good way to learn how to deal with anxiety.

    What you should not do

    1. Under no circumstances should you avoid the situations that cause you anxiety. As described earlier, this avoidance behavior causes anxiety to become entrenched and may even increase over time.
    2. Also, do not try to “treat” anxiety with alcohol, drugs such as marijuana, or tranquilizers (called benzodiazepines). While this self-medication may provide relief for a short time, it leads you to rely more and more on a particular substance to combat anxiety. Thus, you can quickly slip into dependence.

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