Everybody is different and so one relaxation technique may work better for you than others. We are going to help you make that first step in taking control of your stress by giving you three examples of well-known relaxation techniques to start you off.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Our last two relaxation techniques focussed on the breath. Now we are going to focus on the muscles. A lot of the time we are holding onto tension in one part of our body without really being aware of it. With a muscle held taught in our body it is difficult to truly relax. This exercise will teach you to scan your body slowly releasing all of that tension, all of the worries from the day and all of the stress.
- Sit or lie down somewhere comfortable. Let your breathing slow to a normal pace. Start by focussing on your toes. Curl them all together as tight as you can and hold the tension for 5 seconds. Feel the muscles clench and grip. 1-2-3-4-5. Release them and let the tension flow out of your body.
- Next tense the muscle in your calves by pulling your feet up towards your knees. Feel the tension in the back of your legs and feet. Hold for 5 seconds, 1-2-3-4-5, and relax.
- Now push your thighs together and hold, tense, for 5 seconds. Release. Pull your buttocks together and hold them tense for 5 seconds. 1-2-3-4-5. Relax and let the tension flow out.
- Next suck your stomach in and hold the muscles tight. 1-2-3-4-5. Relax.
- Squeeze the muscles in the whole of your back and hold for 5. Note the tension. 1-2-3-4-5. Relax.
- Make a fist of each hand. Feel the tension in the back of hand, the fingers, the thumb. Hold for 5 seconds. 1-2-3-4-5. Relax.
- Bring your shoulders up to your ears, tense as much as you can for 5 seconds. Be aware of that tension. 1-2-3-4-5.And relax.
- Open your jaw as widely as you can squeeze your facial features into a grimace. Move the jaw around to increase the tension in different place. Notice every muscle that is being held taught in your face. Hold this for 5 seconds. 1-2-3-4-5. And relax.
- Shut your eyes as tightly as you can, feel them screwed together. 1-2-3-4-5. Relax.
- Now raise your eyebrows as high as you can, feel the tension in your forehead and eye socket. Hold this for 5 seconds. 1-2-3-4-5. And relax.
- Sit still for 10 seconds and allow any tension to flow out of your body leaving your muscles soft and relaxed.
These are just some of our suggestions to help you get started on your mission to take control of your stress. There are lots of other relaxation techniques and you may find that one of these works better for you than others. Or you may come up with some of your own. Let the Pip guide you as you try out different techniques until you find that will melt stress away and leave you feeling calm and relaxed.