Monday, December 29, 2008

Progressive relaxation

You can banish stress from your system in several ways, including exercise, meditation, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga. But one of the quickest and most effective ways is a technique called progressive relaxation. It focuses on each muscle group, from your toes to your head, and releases tension. I walk you through the process, step by step. Still seated in your comfortable chair, with your eyes gently closed, start with the tips of your toes. Repeat each muscle group sequence twice.
  1. Make a fist of your toes. Squeeze. Hold. Release slowly. Repeat.
  2. Roll each foot slowly, all the way around from the ankle, clockwise.Then roll each foot slowly counterclockwise. Point your toes, then flex them. Repeat.
  3. Tense and relax your thighs. Repeat.
  4. Make a fist of your buns. Hold tight. Relax. Don’t forget to inhale deeply through your nose, exhale through your mouth. Repeat.
  5. Tighten your stomach muscles. Relax. Repeat.
  6. Lift your shoulders up to your ears as high as you can. Now, a bit higher. Slowly lower both shoulders as far as you can, pushing them down gently, using only your shoulder muscles. Repeat.
  7. Make a fist with your hands. Clench your biceps. Slowly extend your arms out. Relax. Repeat.
  8. With arms extended at shoulder length, flex your hands, palms facing the far wall, fingers reaching straight up to the ceiling. Press out. Relax. Repeat.
  9. Turn your head all the way to the left and then all the way to the right. Be sure to keep your shoulders pressed down. Repeat.
  10. Scrunch your face up into a ball. Slowly relax it. Repeat.
  11. With your eyes still closed, slowly rotate your eyeballs clockwise. Then counterclockwise. Repeat.
Your whole body should feel very heavy. That’s good. Now, before you open your eyes, you need to do one final thing: Visualize.

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