Arrange to spend some quiet time in a room where you will not be interrupted. Try to practice this relaxation technique at least three times during the next week. Proceed through the eight groups of muscles in the list below, first tensing each for 5 seconds and then relaxing each for 15 to 20 seconds.
Settle back as comfortably as you can, take a deep breath, and exhale very slowly. You may feel most comfortable if you close your eyes. Notice the sensations in your body; you will soon be able to control those sensations. Begin by focusing your attention on your hands and forearms.
• Squeeze both hands into fists, with arms straight. Then relax hands.
• Flex both arms at the elbows. Then relax arms.
• Shrug shoulders toward head. Tilt chin toward chest. Then relax shoulders and neck.
• Clench jaw, gritting your teeth together. Then relax jaw.
• Close your eyes tightly. Then relax eyes.
• Wrinkle up your forehead and brow. Then relax these muscles.
• Harden your stomach muscles, as if expecting someone to punch you there (continue to breathe slowly as you tense your stomach). Then relax stomach.
• Stretch out both legs, point your toes toward your head, and press your legs together. Then relax legs.
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