Many people with social anxiety carry around a lot of tension in their bodies. If you can learn ways to relax your body when not in social and performance situations, then you will be less likely to be tense when faced with those situations. In particular, when life stress gets high, it’s critical to be able to relax your body. Below I’ve included some of the ways that work best for me. Obviously, everyone is different and you’ll need to find what works for you.
Seven Ways to Relax Your Body
1. Go in a hot tub (or take a bath). If you have a hot tub or access to one, the soothing hot jets are sure to ease tense muscles. If you don’t have a hot tub, a bath will also do the trick. If you think you can’t afford a hot tub or don’t have space for one, I can tell you there are options! I personally have the inflatable mSPA, which is perfect for a small space and is extremely easy to set up and maintain. In our cold climate, I take it down each winter, but if you live somewhere warm you could use it all year round.
2. Do some high-intensity exercise. Have you heard of high-intensity interval training (HIIT for short)? It involves short bursts of intense exercise mixed with more moderate sessions. My personal favorite exercise programs come from Kelli and Daniel Segars at Fitness Blender. They have hundreds of free workouts and also paid programs that you can purchase, where they assemble between two weeks and eights weeks worth of workouts in a specific order. One purchase I made to get the most out of their workouts is a set of Powerblocks. The set I own goes up to 24 pounds in each hand and is what Kelli uses in the workout videos.
3. Do some stretching exercise. Another shoutout to FitnessBlender—I purchased their “FB Reach” program, which includes all stretching routines. This is a perfect way to relax your body at the end of a stressful day.
4. Rub lotion on your feet. Give yourself a foot massage at night while in bed but before you fall asleep. I like this lotion by Freeman’s called “bare foot.” You could also buy a foot roller to give yourself a foot massage while you sit at your desk. A couple of golf balls would also work.
5. Lie down on the floor. This one is extraordinarily simple and requires nothing more than some empty carpeted floor space. Lie down on the floor, place your arms at your sides, and feel the force of gravity pulling you into the ground. Let every part of your body relax and really feel what it’s like to have gravity pulling you down. Once you feel more relaxed, you can slowly stand back up.
6. Kiss. We know that the love hormone (oxytocin) is released during close contact with a partner, and kissing is no exception. A good makeout session with someone who you have a spark with or who you love should be enough to get you feeling more relaxed.
7. Laugh (or cry). Try watching a funny show or movie to get some laughter going. If that doesn’t work, you could always try a laughter yoga class. A good cry can also be cathartic and relieve stress—watch some sort of inspirational show (think episodes of Oprah or similar) or listen to an inspirational podcast (I like the Radical Transformation podcast) and let out your emotions if it feels right.
What are your favorite ways to relax your body?