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Relaxation techniques in anxiety (Research Paper Sample)
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Relaxation Techniques and anxiety Name Institution Introduction This paper takes a close look at relaxation techniques and anxiety. It covers research done on the subject including the methods used for relaxation as well as types of anxiety attacks and how they are controlled. It then goes on to analyze the research done as well as the findings and conclusions. A number of interviews are discussed to highlight how people feel about the topic and to get the viewpoint of different types of people. The questions this paper seeks to address are: Can people deal with anxiety attacks by predefined relaxation techniques? If so, are there a number of proven relaxation techniques that have been applied successfully and with consistent results? The paper will be divided into five major sections. The introduction and objectives will cover the first section. After the introduction, literature review focusing on past studies on the subject will then be covered. The literature review will involve about four conclusive studies on the topic of anxiety and relaxation techniques. This will be analyzed, and conclusions made about them. Next the research methodology will be covered which outlinesÂ the research method used. Lastly, the recommendations and a conclusion will be offered. Objectives Anxiety is a serious problem that afflicts many people around the world. Recent changes in society have led to rising cases of anxiety attacks, which makes it a serious problem that should be addressed. People with anxiety disorders are often unable to fit in society making it impossible for them work, socialize or even maintain stable relationships. For the benefit of everyone in society, it is important to study how to deal with anxiety so as to help those with the problem become better members of society. Literature review Anxiety is closely linked to stress. Both anxiety and stress affect the normal functioning of the human body but anxiety leads to adverse effects on the human brain. According to Strong (2003), anxiety confuses the brain which leads to an overreaction to a minor situation. Therefore, anxiety is thought of as a fear based condition since it is what sparks an anxiety attack. Treatment for anxiety is directed towards helping to stabilize the brain to reclaim normal functionality. For a therapist to deal with an anxiety attack, they need to know its origin. Different anxiety attacks have different causesÂ therefore,Â divergent ways have to be developed to deal with them. As indicated by Simpson, Neria, Lewis-Fernandez, & Schneier (2010), it is not easy to classify anxiety attacks since many of their symptoms overlap. An example of a common anxiety attack is health anxiety. This is a term coined to describe the wide range of excessive health-related concerns. A person with health anxiety will exhibit out of proportion reactions to a mild health problem. The best way to deal with anxiety is to unload the mind of its worries and create an environment where the person with the anxiety attack can relax. According to Payne & Donaghy (2010), "relaxation is the art of doing nothing" (p. 2). Many people find it difficult to relax due to the busy schedules and deadline oriented tasks that they have to deal with on a daily basis. It is for this reason that different relaxation techniques have been developed. According to research by Strong (2003),Â the most common form of anxiety disorder is panic disorder. It has symptoms likeÂ an increase in the heart rate, difficulty in breathing and sweating. Someone who has constant feelings of panic, for example, the fear of dying, is deemed to be suffering from a panic disorder. Continued exposure to situations that can trigger the attack is discouraged since recurring attacks can in the long run lead to severe effects on the body. The second most common form of anxiety attack is social phobia. Although not as severe as a panic disorder, social phobia renders people unsocial and untrustworthy of others. It's characterized by a fear of embarrassment which makes them avoid situations in which they are required to appear in a public gathering. Such people will avoid public speaking eating in restaurants, using public restrooms among other public activates. Such a person, when faced with a circumstance where they have to appear in public, will suffer great embarrassment feelings of disillusionment. The best way to deal with this condition is to minimize social interaction to a minimal and slowly confront such situations on a small scale. This should continueÂ to the point when they can deal with the situation comfortably. The last most common anxiety attack is obsessive compulsive disorder. This describes a situation where a person repeatedly engages in a situation that they think will calm their fears. For example, people who fear contamination will develop a habit of washing their hands repeatedly an unlimited number of times on a daily basis. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it becomes a problem when it affects the person's normal operation, or when the person in question affects the people next to them negatively. People experiencing OCD are usually aware of their actions but feel like they cannot controlÂ their actions. There are other kinds of anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder both of which have negative effects on the victim. Post-traumatic stress usually follows a traumatic event which leaves the victim unable to cope. A person with PTSD will suffer an anxiety attack when in a situation that reminds them of their traumatic event. To control the occurrence of such attacks, the victim needs to be kept away from situations that can trigger memories of their suffering. As indicated by Leahy (2012), the best way to relax is to find a hobby. A hobby should provide a relaxed environment devoid of deadlines which allows the mind to open up and get into a state of calm. A hobby should not be tasking but instead should be something that the person enjoys doing. This can involve the person engaging in activities they find exciting such as playing computer games, swimming or even eating. In general, all activities which give pleasureÂ can be categorized asÂ hobbies. The basic idea behind a hobby is that it should be characterized by an absence of stress. In most cases, people with anxiety attacks tend to have an underlying fear that makes it impossible for them to engage in hobbies and other relaxation methods. It is for this reason that other methods to relax have been developed. This include activities such as hypnosis, yoga and more detailed ones such as the Alexander technique. These methods create different levels of relaxation and thus they are divided into two main categories; those that create deep relaxation and those that create brief relaxation. Relaxation methods which create deep relaxation are those that induce feelings of wellbeing that last for a long time. They are usually performed when the patient is lying down in a calm environment with very few distractions. An example of a relaxation technique which induces deep relaxation is autogenic training. It is a system based on the user repeating a set of visualizations at least three times a day which are designed to induce a state of relaxation. It has predefined positions which the patient can try out to find the most comfortable posture. As indicated by Simpson, Neria, Lewis-Fernandez, & Schneier (2010), the method has proved to alleviate a number of stress related issues with a very high success rate. The other major classification of relaxation techniquesÂ isÂ those that create brief relaxation. These methods are designed to produce immediate effects to ease tension. Techniques that fall in this section include exercises such as; toe tensing, deep breathing and quiet ears. Toe tensing involves alternatively tensing and relaxing ones toes repeatedly for defined intervals. As indicated by Leahy (2012), this exercise can relieve tension from the rest of the body. Deep breathing involves controlled breathing exercises that are designed to relax a person. It is mostly employed in yoga and martial arts. Lastly quiet ears is a relaxation technique which involves a person closing their ears for about 10 minutes as they listen to the flow of their blood. Research done by Payne & Donaghy (2010) indicated that quiet ears managed to calm down many people within a short time. Research methodology The main method used to obtain information about anxiety attacks and relaxation methods was interviewing. Five medical practitioners were interviewed to get information about what anxiety attacks were and their prevalence in modern society. Three of the five interviewed doctors also provided information about past anxiety attack records in their hospitals. Interview questions were open ended while others were close ended. Open ended questions were designed to get more information about a subject and a personal view of the same while close ended questions were designed to get factual data such as numbers and dates. Most of the interviews were administered personally while two doctors who were away opted to fill in forms and later on sent them to me. To gauge the effectiveness of relaxation methods a...
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