Health & Wellness

Managing Somatic Anxiety Symptoms to Ease Mind and Body

Anxiety is a complex experience that affects both the mind and body. Sometimes, the stress and worry you feel inside can manifest as physical discomfort, known as somatic symptoms of anxiety.

The good news is that there are somatic exercises you can do to help manage these symptoms and find relief. In this article, we’ll explore simple and effective somatic exercises to help manage the physical symptoms of anxiety.

In This Article

Managing Somatic Anxiety Symptoms

When you’re anxious, your body can react in various ways. You might feel tense, experience rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, muscle tension, stomach discomfort, or other physical sensations.

These physical symptoms can be distressing and make it harder to cope with anxiety. Understanding the connection between your mind and body is the first step in managing somatic symptoms of anxiety.

1. Deep Breathing

Calming Your Nervous System One of the most powerful tools for managing anxiety is deep breathing. When we’re anxious, our breathing tends to become shallow and rapid, which can contribute to feelings of panic and physical tension.

Deep breathing exercises can help calm your nervous system and reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Try this Simple Exercise

sit or lie down in a comfortable position, place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, then take a slow, deep breath in through your nose, allowing your stomach to rise as you fill your lungs with air.

Hold the breath for a moment, then exhale slowly through your mouth, feeling your stomach fall. Repeat this deep breathing exercise for a few minutes whenever you feel the physical symptoms of anxiety creeping in.

2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Releasing Physical Tension Progressive muscle relaxation is an effective somatic exercise for managing anxiety. This technique involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body to help release physical tension.

Start by finding a quiet space where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Begin with your toes, tensing them for a few seconds and then releasing the tension, allowing them to relax completely.

Move on to your calves, thighs, abdomen, shoulders, and so on, working your way up through your body until you reach your head.

This exercise can help you become more aware of the physical tension in your body and learn to release it, promoting a sense of calm and relaxation.

3. Mindful Movement

Yoga and Tai Chi Engaging in mindful movement practices such as yoga, tai chi, or qigong can also be beneficial for managing somatic symptoms of anxiety.

These practices combine gentle physical movement with focused attention and deep breathing, promoting a sense of relaxation and grounding.

Yoga, in particular, has been shown to have positive effects on both the mind and body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety while improving physical flexibility and strength.

Consider trying a beginner’s yoga class or following along with a gentle yoga video at home to experience the calming effects of mindful movement for yourself.

4. Visualization and Grounding Techniques

Staying Present Visualization and grounding exercises can be powerful tools for managing somatic symptoms of anxiety.

Visualization involves creating mental images that promote a sense of peace and relaxation, such as picturing yourself in a serene natural setting or imagining a warm, comforting light surrounding you.

Grounding techniques focus on connecting with the present moment and your immediate surroundings to help you feel more centered and stable.

One simple grounding exercise involves using your senses to focus on your environment: name five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

This exercise can help bring your attention away from anxious thoughts and back into the present moment, reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety.


In conclusion, somatic exercises can be valuable tools for managing the physical symptoms of anxiety. By incorporating deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, mindful movement, visualization, and grounding techniques into your daily routine, you can help ease the physical tension and discomfort associated with anxiety, promoting a greater sense of calm and well-being.

Everyone’s experience with anxiety is unique, so it’s important to explore different somatic exercises and find what works best for you.

With practice and patience, you can learn to manage somatic symptoms of anxiety and cultivate a greater sense of peace and balance in your mind and body.

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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