Everyone experiences stress and anxiety, so it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms and learn some skills to cope. Consider how stress and anxiety affect your life, and what you can do to reduce their impact.
The Mind-Body Connection
Mind-body practices are known to reduce stress and anxiety. One such practice is coherent breathing, according to Richard P. Brown, MD; Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD; and Philip R. Muskin, MD, the authors of the book How To Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health Care.
Describing it “a modern adaptation of the ancient practice of breathing at approximately five breaths per minute,” the authors recommend this type of breathing to reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression, and other disorders. Coherent breathing is safe for everyone—children, older adults, people with medical illnesses, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
A well-known and often popular mind-body practice is yoga. Many people who take yoga classes report improvements in mood and well-being, according to the authors. Yoga, they explain, “reduces anxiety, overreactivity, and sleep difficulties.” It helps people “learn how to master anxiety through self-soothing,” which they say often leads to reduced dependence on therapy or medication.
In addition, the authors discuss how different methods of meditation have helped adults reduce stress and negative emotion, as well as manage insomnia, unwanted thoughts, and pain.
Listen to the podcast Mind-Body Practices in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders.
Find out more
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (National Institutes of Health)
- How To Use Herbs, Nutrients & Yoga in Mental Health Care, by Richard P. Brown, MD, Patricia L. Gerbarg, MD, and Philip R. Muskin, MD, (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 2009)
- One Less Thing to Worry About: Uncommon Wisdom for Coping with Common Anxieties, by Jerilyn Ross, MA, with Robin Cantor-Cooke (New York: Ballantine Books, 2009)
- Have a Healthy Mind for state-of-the-art information on complementary, alternative, integrative approaches to mind health