How somatic interventions can help to manage anxiety

Feb 22, 2023
J W Unsplash

It is estimated that one in four people will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. This makes anxiety disorders one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. And it's not just adults who are affected. Anxiety disorders can start as early as childhood, and often continue into adulthood. 

Somatic psychotherapy is a form of body-mind psychotherapy that has been shown to be effective in helping to manage symptoms of anxiety. Somatic interventions focus on the mind-body connection, and aim to help people become more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.

Here are six of the most effective somatic interventions for managing anxiety

1. Mindfulness: One of the core principles of somatic psychotherapy is mindfulness. This involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in a non-judgmental way. Mindfulness can help you to become more aware of your anxiety triggers, and also to deal with anxiety in the moment.

2. Breathing: The way we breathe has a big impact on our body and mind. When we're anxious, our breathing tends to become shallower and faster. This can make our symptoms worse. Learning to breathe deeply and slowly can help to calm the mind and body, and reduce anxiety.

3. Relaxation: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) can be very effective in managing anxiety. PMR involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in the body, while focusing on the sensations that are created. This can help to release tension from the body and mind, and reduce anxiety.

4. Visualization: Visualization involves creating a mental image of a calm and relaxing place. This can be somewhere you have been before, or somewhere you imagine. When you're feeling anxious, you can close your eyes and visualize this place, in order to help you feel more calm and relaxed.

5. Movement: Movement is another key principle of somatic psychotherapy. This can involve anything from gentle stretching to dance or yoga. Moving your body can help to release tension and improve your mood, both of which can help to reduce anxiety.

6. Connecting with nature: Research has shown that spending time in nature can help to reduce anxiety. This may be because it helps us to feel more connected to the world around us, and less alone with our thoughts.

Somatic interventions such as these can be very effective in helping to manage anxiety. If you're struggling with anxiety, consider seeking out a body-mind psychotherapist who can help you to explore these techniques further. And if you want to learn these techniques, yourself, so that you can help either yourself, your family, your friends, or those you love – feel free to check out one of our courses available on this website. :-)

Photo credit: J W @ Unsplash

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