Vee, a woman in her forties, had a very hectic life.
She was a type A personality: driven, energetic,
ambitious, competitive, impatient, dominating
She was an attractive woman, but looking at
her you could recognise certain stress related
characteristics on her face.
When I met her that morning, I could not but
notice how tense her face was; with her tight
lips and her dark under-eye circles.
When she talked I could not avoid observing
some beads of sweat on her forehead.
I knew her job was very demanding and stressful,
and she felt really overwhelmed by it.
At the same time, she did not have any time at
all to concentrate to her personal life and other
I knew she was feeling isolated and troubled,
as well as suffering from chronic stress and
“ I do need to find the best and most suitable way
for me to minimise this stress and anxiety I suffer
chronically now “, she said looking serious.
The Physical Stress
Anxiety is the consequence of the freeze response
when we are under chronic and intense stress.
You feel powerless, and completely unable to
change the problematic situation that is crippling
you; and at the same time, it is impossible for
you to escape from this.
Basically, you are a prisoner of your own mind
and overwhelming emotions.
In this situation, you definitely need to break
away from your head, and connect with your body.
It is amazing how exercise can influence the way
you feel mentally; since it promotes total pleasure,
enjoyment, contentment and peace of mind.
Our physical and mental health are interconnected.
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, so you
feel calmer, it relaxes the muscles, and breaks the
negative thinking and worry cycle.
According to research, exercise is a natural, free
and powerful anti-anxiety treatment.
Certainly, you will need to exercise for a minimum
of thirty (30) minutes, at least for five (5) days a
week, and for not less than eight (8) weeks in order
to see any desirable results.
Practically, any reasonably demanding physical
activity will offer positive results, but specific
ones are more effective than others.
In general, aerobic exercise is the primary solution
to your mental peace.
Consider the following exercises to relieve your
stress and anxiety:
a) Hatha Yoga
You focus internally and on deep breathing, in
combination with the asanas.
It clears the mind and reduces stress and anxiety.
It releases all natural euphoric chemicals in
Being in nature reduces all stress hormones, and
increases alertness and openness.
Focusing on breathing and your strokes to relieve
A grounding activity, you become aware, and
keep your mind under control.
Certainly physical fitness will enhance mental fitness;
and this has been proven repeatedly.
But there is also the mental approach exercises,
which definitely reduce mental tension, and promote
relaxation, as well.
1) Breathing Exercise
Sit somewhere comfortably.
Breathe in slowly, pushing your abdomen outwards.
Hold your breath momentarily.
Exhale slowly, repeating the word “relax” in your mind.
Repeat this exercise five (5) times.
2) Quick Meditation
Sit comfortably without any distractions.
Keep breathing naturally and slowly.
Close your eyes and remove all thoughts from your mind.
Keep repeating a mantra like “peaceful”.
Continue this for at least ten (10) minutes.
3) Progressive Muscular Relaxation
Lie comfortably on a mat, or your bed.
Starting from your feet, tighten each muscle for
a few seconds and release slowly.
Continue in the same way moving to your calves,
your thighs and buttocks, to your abdominal area,
your stomach and chest.
Continue with your hands and arms, moving to
your neck and total face muscles.
This exercise should take you ten (10) minutes.
View any exercise as your best and most effective
instrument to manage your stress and anxiety,
and be a happier person altogether.
Also note that the benefits of exercise are not
only immediate, but also long term.
By exercising, you will certainly feel much
calmer; and you will notice that your mood
will be greatly enhanced, even from the first
Obviously, the most suitable activities for you
will be the ones you enjoy more; and thus
you continue doing them on a regular basis.
So the best thing to do is to experiment with most,
and finally focus on the ones you really like