Contact Information:

Jason Best, LCSW

Email
JasonBestLCSW@gmail.com

Phone
847-271-1222

Address
4753 N. Broadway Suite 608
Chicago, IL 60640

Sunday
Mar312013

Anxiety Management Exercise: The Fastest Way to Relax.

Many of my patients need help with managing anxiety.  Intense Anxiety can be be very uncomfortable, with racing heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, or feeling very flushed.  This is is a misfiring of the body's fear response system, and can represent the effects of chronic or intense stress. There are several ways to slow these autonomical responses down and to calm the body (and mind!) In an earlier exercise we discussed deep breathing, which slows the body down by mimicing what the body does naturally when relaxed. However, there is another technique that can work even more quickly: wetting your face with cool water.

Optimally, you submerge your face in a basin of cool water making sure the forehead and both cheeks are in the water, but if can't do that you can achieve similiar results by covering the face with a cool wet towel. The water shouldn't be so chilly that it is painful or really uncomfortable. As you need to breath, raise your face out of the water and then submerge it again.  Many see big changes in just 30-60 seconds of this.

This exercise works by effecting the nerves in the face responsible for the body responding to temperature changes in the environment. When the face is cold and wet the body assumes we're in a cold and wet environment (for example, swimming in the ocean), and slows down our heart rate and breathing and pulls blood from our exteremities to our core body. As such, it breaks or greatly diminishes the anxiety response.

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