10 Science-Based Relaxation Techniques Can Help You Decrease Anxiety

Most of us are strapped to our phones 24-7, overwhelmed by work, and feeling uncertain about the future of our country or the planet. We feel our well-being slipping (take this well-being quiz to check yourself) and we’re in need of some good relaxation techniques. But how do we know that the strategies we want to try will work? Well, to start, we can try science-based relaxation techniques.

Here are 10 relaxation techniques that science says can help you increase calm or decrease anxiety.

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is one technique that can help reduce stress. It involves tensing muscles as you breathe in and quickly releasing those muscles as you breathe out. Go through one set of muscles at a time so that each muscle group gets tensed and then relaxed a few times.

One study found that 20 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation on Monday through Friday for 6 months led to significant reductions in cortisol, an indicator of stress. So progressive muscle relaxation may be an effective way to decrease stress.

2. Adult Coloring

There has been a lot of interest in adult coloring in the last few years. Well, it turns out that coloring can actually be an effective relaxation technique. One study showed that using adult coloring books can reduce anxiety, as long as the shapes that are being colored in are sufficiently complex. So if you’re looking to color for calm, try grabbing a coloring book with complex mandalas or details to get the calming benefit.

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