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Author Topic: How Does One Relax?  (Read 323 times)

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Offline RedQ

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How Does One Relax?
« on: February 11, 2014, 03:34:26 AM »
So quick back story: I've had anxiety issues since forever, and it's brought on Depression and Depersonalization/Derealization besides. I've been through therapy enough that I could practically open up my own practice now. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was especially helpful, and I've learned how to deal with negative and/or exaggerated thoughts so well that I really don't have an issue with them any more. Sometimes my emotions still sneak up on me and take over, but I can talk myself back down again, and remain aware that they're irrational or overblown even in the heat of the moment. All that is a great success story, right?

There's just one problem: I'm still tense. I have constant muscle tension. Sometimes it's worse and other times it's better, but I literally cannot relax my muscles. I can tell them to relax, and if I really concentrate, I reduce the tension by 50-75%, but I can't fully let go. I've tried self-hypnosis and relaxation techniques, I do yoga and meditate regularly, and as I mentioned before I'm pro at thought control and analysis. The only thing I haven't mastered is dealing with my emotions, but I am doing better at that. So how do I relax? The only things that have ever brought up to 90% relaxation are:

1) extremely long candle lit baths coupled with relaxing music and yoga/meditation either before and after, but those only give me relief during, and the tension quickly ramps back up to usual after I'm done.

2) alcohol, marijuana, herbal or prescription drugs - but I HATE relying on anything external and REFUSE to develop a dependency on any of these or even to use them with any remote regularity.

3) full blown disconnect due to DP/DR - but I can't live my life off in another world or believing this one isn't real.

So far the only thing that seems remotely promising is pursuing a meditative and decidedly Buddhist course, but that's been fairly slow going. I'd like to have something I could do at any given moment and preferably avoid going the substance route. Any suggestions? What do you do to get your body to take it easy? Maybe I just have to keep up the slow and stead pace with meditation and relaxation techniques, but if that's the case, I'd rather like to learn some new ones - just for the sake of keeping things interesting. Which ones work for you?
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Offline Lunatone

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 09:10:13 AM »
Ive found that to relax, I need to resolve the physical changes anxiety causes. I do this by intentionally scaring myself. Then all those changes can run their course, having found something that was a recognizable threat and resolving it.

The fear is controlled, completely. I do it by reading scary stories, ones which have a start, middle, and ending. It's a bit funny actually. I read or listen to creepy stories to help me sleep better.

This may or may not work for you but... You know, worth a shot! Here's a fun one if you want to try. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FztuiSqZPMg
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Offline clippergoodwill

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 12:05:15 PM »
That's the million dollar question - how to relax. I'm still trying to find the answer to that myself. Sometimes it seems what works one day, doesn't work the next. Another one of anxiety's clever tricks I suppose, to keep us guessing. I think, in the end, what the brain needs is distraction from the anxiety. If you can keep it occupied and engaged on an activity, that's the key.

Deep, focused breaths seem to help me. I also have a cheap $10 scalp massager, it seems to work wonders to relieve tension in my head and neck, but it's only temporary. It's also good to have hobbies to keep your mind engaged for an hour or so at a time.
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Offline worldbeat99

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 11:19:04 PM »

I think sometimes getting a massage can relax a person.  Or doing aerobic exercise can help.  Getting a hug from a friend doesn't hurt either.   :yes:
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Offline Lara71

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 06:19:51 AM »
I have issues with relaxation too. I always feel tense. I've decided to finally do something about it.

I haven't gotten fully relaxed yet, but this has helped.

1. A relaxing bath at the end of the day with lavender. I try to take one every day from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. A half bath or full. Depending on the time I have and how stressing the day was.
2. Deep breathing.
3. Exercise. Right now I am on my recumbent bike 10 minutes in the morning, and 15-20 in the evening. I also make sure I walk around a lot at work. Once it gets warm, I will start walking again
4. Medication. I'm not a big fan of medication but I wasn't functioning. I also drink camomile tea.
5. My husband and friends talking me down.
6. Cutting my caffeine to one cup of tea a day (hell on a caffeine addict)

Looking into: Yoga, Massage, cognitive therapy, neuro-emotional therapy (NET), mindful meditation stress relief, changing some of the situational issues that cause my anxiety.


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Offline liveitup898

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 07:20:32 PM »
practice makes perfect.

writing positive thoughts on a piece of paper can make a huge difference in the moment of fear.

im having a bit of anxiety now, and will take my own advice.....lol.

will reply with updates! :)
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Offline cookies

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 07:53:08 PM »
Hi,
 I have the same problem,even with medication.
  I usually,go on my computer and surf the internet,so it makes me focus on something.
  I have recently download,a meditation mp3 and I am going to give that a try.
  Hopefully it will help my breathing and bring down my anxiety.
 Actually the other thing I try and do is watch comedy,I have a lot of stand up comedian dvds.
 I hope you can find something to relax you,it's a very difficult dilemma as your mind will not switch off,
I think that's why you have to find something to focus on.So your mind is not running off in a hundred different directions.
 See if you can try some of the things mentioned on the posts here.
 Fingers crossed for you.
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Offline liveitup898

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 08:34:56 PM »
well update...

writing the positive thoughts down really kick my anxiety's a/s/s just now.....

anxiety wins if we let it....it likes to focus on fake negative thoughts and situations, and tries to make us think those negative thoughts are REAL. 

the truth is that it is NOT real......anything that makes you feel ANXIOUS in a negative way is NOT REAL.  I GUARANTEE IT.

THere is a difference in anxious states.....if you are anxious or nervous about a POSITIVE SITUATION then it's ok.....just as long as it is a POSITIVE STATE OF ANXIOUSNESS.

However IF the anxiousness turns to a feeling of negativity (and you WILL know when it's negative), then you need to remind yourself that the negative thoughts are NOT real...no matter how real they seem, they are still complete BULLSHlT in the end and only a waste of your time.

Love life, and it will love you back.  Don't be scared to face your fears because you will always come out on top. 
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"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Offline msgb98

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 08:53:52 PM »
I have a hard time relaxing.
I know this and actually so do many of my family members.
I have a hard time sitting still.
I just do not know how to calm down and that is not a good thing.
What does help and or get me to relax some is taking an epsom salt bath (but only for a 15 minute soak at the most--epsom salts are magnesium)
I knit as well and try to get into that --it is sortof zen.
I will say that acupuncture is what gets me there as far as there is for me
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Offline JTD88

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2014, 09:49:39 PM »
Lately it's been very  hard to relax myself. Anytime I know I am going to be in a very busy social situation and not be able to easily "escape" it if I have a panic attack (Grocery Store, Traffic, Concerts, bank teller taking forever, etc) I immediately start to freeze up, get jumpy, find myself causing myself this own fear. The worst thing for me is being in a grocery store or in traffic, there really is not much you can do to escape said situation.

When it comes to relaxing...
- I have been doing A LOT of Yoga, mainly at night before going to bed, and then for a good amount of time over the weekend. It seems to be helping, but very slowly.

- Going outside helps TREMENDOUSLY. Just getting a nice deep breathe of fresh air may be the best medicine. I am coming down from the flu, and had a major panic attack at the grocery store tonight. Got really hot, and everyone being around me was just making it worse... I made a good call to go to the outdoor nursery and just relax there, not a single soul there either. It helped.... until I had to go back inside  :spineyes:

- Stretching! This is something helps me get through the day at work. Not even yoga stretches, but just normal work out stretches. My nerves/muscles tense up so much during anxiety that it causes me an extraordinary amount of pain, so stretching out really helps my body relax.

- Talk to yourself! I know many people think of this and then reply with "Well what if someone sees me and thinks im crazy?" Well whatever! It really helps, just talk yourself down. It is VERY hard, I know, it takes a lot of time to do this successfully, but you can do it.

- Just "go for it"! This is hard to explain, but anxiety and nervousness is really caused by holding yourself back and fearing the repercussions of "OMG WHAT IF I MOVE THIS WAY WILL I GET DIZZY!?" You just need to GO FOR IT. It's easier said than done, yes, but you just need to believe in yourself and don't hold back. Today throughout the day I was feeling very up and down, weak, tense, everything in the book.... but I just put my head back, put a smile on, and forced myself to be as energetic and happy as possible! It's possible to psych yourself into fear, but it is also possible to psych yourself into feeling GREAT! :)
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Offline tivis14

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Re: How Does One Relax?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2014, 01:29:44 AM »
I love listening to music, like the carpenters' songs,  and  watching comedy movies to relax, I try to jogging every day that can help me a lot, I feel better both physically and mentally  :spineyes:
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