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Easy Stress-Busting Strategy #2
Easy Stress-Busting Strategy #2: Progressive Muscle Relaxation
If you missed the Deep Breathing post yesterday, check it out here. Since we hold tension in our bodies, we can use our bodies to release it. A quick, easy option is progressive muscle relaxation--which is simply tightening and releasing your muscle groups. This should never be painful. If something hurts, stop immediately. It only takes 10 minutes and feels really good. Ready to try?
Sit in a comfortable chair with your feet planted on the floor. Relax your body and breathe deeply throughout the exercise.
Open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can and raise your eyebrows high. Hold 5 seconds and feel the tension. Then release for 10 seconds. With each step, pause to notice the difference between the tension and the release..
Now scrunch up your face as tightly as you can and hold 5 seconds, then release for 10.
Gently lean your head back and look at the ceiling. Hold 5 and release for 10. Your goal is to feel tightness without straining--and then to feel the release of that tension.
Now gently roll your head around tilting forward with your chin resting on your chest. Hold 5. Release 10.
Clench your fists and hold 5. Release 10.
Tighten your biceps in a body-builder pose and hold 5. Release 10.
Tighten your triceps with arms out straight for 5. Release 10.
Pull your shoulders up as if you could touch your ears. Hold 5. Release 10.
Bring your shoulders forward, crossing at the elbows. Hold 5. Release 10.
Push your shoulders down and back, shoulder blades together. Hold 5. Release 10.
Tighten your stomach and arch your lower back and hold 5. Release 10.
Next tighten your buttocks and hold it for 5. Release 10.
Tighten your thigh muscles, bringing your knees together as if holding a book between your knees. Hold 5. Release 10.
Flex your feet, pointing your toes up and stretching the backs of your calves. Hold 5. Release 10.
Point your feet down, tightening your calves. Hold 5. Release 10.
Curl your toes under and tighten your feet. Hold 5. Release 10.
Finally picture a gentle release of tension starting at the top of your head and spreading like a warm glow down your body to your feet as you slowly breathe in and out.
This daily 10-minute investment can help you quiet your mind and relax your body. You can also do it lying down in bed first thing in the morning and last thing at night. With time you can train yourself to notice where you are holding tension in your body and be able to release it.