Donald L. Merand

Working on Anxiety

I am often anxious and it manifests in bodily tension. With help from various physical therapists, chiropractors, and craniosacral therapists I've come up with some strategies to help mitigate this tension. I'm putting them here as my own reference, and in case they are helpful for anybody with similar issues. It should print out pretty well.


focus on separating breath from tension. find a way to keep breathing steady even if your muscles pull.

notice your diaphragm, your chest, and your belly. breath should enter and exit all of these places mostly without noise. if it does not, this is an indicator that you’re holding tension.

tongue on the roof of the mouth can help breath flow. use it if it works.

be a comfortable temperature, for me that’s extra warm. it’s hard to be calm if i’m cold.

smiling can help to relax. it even works if you’re alone.

tension will enter your awareness. allow your body to do what it needs to - don’t fight tension with active relaxation. instead keep breathing and see where the tension is guiding you - it’s usually the opposite of where you are.

allow the tension but don’t stop breathing well. you might feel shaking. this is muscles vibrating from over-fatigue.

feel gravity pulling your muscles down. be aware of your entire body.

allow vocalization to happen during breathing if you can. humming stimulates the vagas nerve.

take the time you need. five minutes helps, but an hour helps more.

things rarely feel better the day you shake them out. Usually it takes a day or two to realize you’ve made an improvement.