The world is a complicated place, becoming more complicated day by day. With the advent of the internet, we now have a 24/7 world, with news updates happening live or within minutes of a breaking story. What once took a day now happens immediately. Everything happens faster and with cell phones you're now expected to be available anytime, anywhere.
The world is interactive and buzzing with activity at all hours. It's no surprise that this constant bombardment of media and messaging has created a generation of anxious and almost neurotic youth. It has also driven the working generation into a "fight or flight" response to all of this. You're expected to be "on" all the time. You can either learn and adapt and figure out how to reduce anxiety, or get sick and wither away. So how do you reduce anxiety?
First and foremost, you need to make the mind-body connection and learn how to slow things down and shut them out for some amount of time daily. This does not mean just finding time for slowing down when it's time to sleep, but rather finding some block of time during the waking hours to pay attention to your inner self and learn to slow things down.
Breathing exercises are a great way to start out your practice to reduce anxiety. First learn to get yourself away from all or as many distractions as possible. Find a quiet place and just practice standing, or even sitting, and just taking long, deep breaths. Listen to your breathing as you inhale deeply.
Inhale as deeply and as slowly as you can, then exhale slowly and carefully. An anxious person may sense shaking, or even trembling, during these exercises. The goal is to keep practicing this a little bit every day, so that you can train yourself to complete these breathing exercises as smoothly and calmly as possible. Imagine the sound of waves on the beach rolling in and going out as you breathe in and out.
Another way to try to reduce anxiety is by doing slow movements, as in Tai Chi or Qigong movements, which very slowly extend limbs and bring them back, inhaling and exhaling slowly and regularly. Breathing in slowly, as if pulling air from the bottom of your feet, up your legs, your groin and belly and lower back and up your back and diaphragm up to your chest and out your arms and hands and up your neck and head and then back down the same way it came up.
Imagining this revolution of breathing up and all over and back down the body is a hallmark of traditional Qigong and Tai Chi. Slowly moving limbs while you breathe this way is another extension of the breathing and takes you further into the world of Tai Chi and Qigong and a quest towards anxiety reducing exercises.