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taken from helpguide.org
Relaxation technique 1: Deep (Tummy) Breathing
With its focus on full, cleansing breaths, deep breathing is a simple, yet powerful, relaxation
technique. It’s easy to learn, can be practiced almost anywhere, and provides a quick way to get your
stress levels in check. Deep breathing is the cornerstone of many other relaxation practices, too, and
can be combined with other relaxing elements like listening to music. All you really need is a few
minutes and a place to stretch out.
Practicing deep breathing meditation
The key to deep breathing is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as
possible in your lungs. When you take deep breaths from the abdomen, rather than shallow breaths
from your upper chest, you inhale more oxygen. The more oxygen you get, the less tense, short of
breath, and anxious you feel.
Sit comfortably with your back straight. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your
Breathe in through your nose. The hand on your stomach should rise. The hand on your chest
should move very little.
Exhale through your mouth, pushing out as much air as you can while contracting your
abdominal muscles. The hand on your stomach should move in as you exhale, but your other
hand should move very little.
Continue to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to inhale enough so
that your lower abdomen rises and falls. Count slowly as you exhale.
If you find it difficult breathing from your abdomen while sitting up, try lying on the floor. Put a small
book on your stomach, and try to breathe so that the book rises as you inhale and falls as you exhale.
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taken from helpguide.org
Relaxation technique 2: Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Progressive muscle relaxation involves a two-step process in which you systematically tense and relax
different muscle groups in the body.
With regular practice, progressive muscle relaxation gives you an intimate familiarity with what
tension—as well as complete relaxation—feels like in different parts of the body. This awareness helps
you spot and counteract the first signs of the muscular tension that accompanies stress. And as your
body relaxes, so will your mind. You can combine deep breathing with progressive muscle relaxation
for an additional level of stress relief.
Practicing progressive muscle relaxation
Before practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation, consult with your doctor if you have a history of
muscle spasms, back problems, or other serious injuries that may be aggravated by tensing muscles.
Most progressive muscle relaxation practitioners start at the feet and work their way up to the face.
For a sequence of muscle groups to follow, see the box below.
Get into a comfortable position.
Take a few minutes to relax, breathing in and out in slow, deep breaths.
When you’re relaxed and ready to start, shift your attention to your right foot. Take a moment
to focus on the way it feels.
Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of
Relax your right foot. Focus on the tension flowing away and the way your foot feels as it
becomes limp and loose.
Stay in this relaxed state for a moment, breathing deeply and slowly.
When you’re ready, shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle
tension and release.
Move slowly up through your body, contracting and relaxing the muscle groups as you go.
It may take some practice at first, but try not to tense muscles other than those intended.
The most popular sequence runs as follows:
1. Right foot*
2. Left foot
3. Right calf
4. Left calf
5. Right thigh
6. Left thigh
7. Hips and buttocks
11. Right arm and hand
12. Left arm and hand
13. Neck and shoulders
* If you are left-handed you may want to begin with your left foot instead.
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taken from helpguide.org
Relaxation technique 3: Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the ability to remain aware of how you’re feeling right now, your “moment-to-moment”
experience—both internal and external. Thinking about the past—blaming and judging yourself—or
worrying about the future can often lead to a degree of stress that is overwhelming. But by staying
calm and focused in the present moment, you can bring your nervous system back into balance.
Mindfulness can be applied to activities such as walking, exercising, eating, or meditation.
Meditations that cultivate mindfulness have long been used to reduce overwhelming stress. Some of
these meditations bring you into the present by focusing your attention on a single repetitive action,
such as your breathing, a few repeated words, or flickering light from a candle. Other forms of
mindfulness meditation encourage you to follow and then release internal thoughts or sensations.
Practicing mindfulness meditation
Key points in mindfulness mediation are:
A quiet environment. Choose a secluded place in your home, office, garden, place of
worship, or in the great outdoors where you can relax without distractions or interruptions.
A comfortable position. Get comfortable, but avoid lying down as this may lead to you falling
asleep. Sit up with your spine straight, either in a chair or on the floor. You can also try a
cross-legged or lotus position.
A point of focus. This point can be internal – a feeling or imaginary scene – or something
external - a flame or meaningful word or phrase that you repeat it throughout your session.
You may meditate with eyes open or closed. Also choose to focus on an object in your
surroundings to enhance your concentration, or alternately, you can close your eyes.
An observant, noncritical attitude. Don’t worry about distracting thoughts that go through
your mind or about how well you’re doing. If thoughts intrude during your relaxation session,
don’t fight them. Instead, gently turn your attention back to your point of focus.