When we are under stress, it is natural to react by holding tension in the voluntary and involuntary muscles of our body. If we do this long enough, it can lead to stomach pain, asthma attack, tension headaches, migraines, diarrhea, constipation, back pain, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, and high blood pressure.
By practicing relaxation techniques, we can learn to relax the muscles and counteract the effects of stress on our body.
Here's a simple relaxation exercise you can do at home.
Lie quietly on your back with your legs spread hip-width apart and your arms at your sides with the palms turned upward. Lie quietly for a few minutes, focusing on your breathing, and allow your body to gradually sink into the floor.
Now, stretch out your right leg and raise it about one foot from the floor. Curling the toes under, tightly contract the leg muscles. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat on the left leg. Gently move your feet in a circular motion and relax.
Focus your attention on the right knee and thigh. Contract the muscles, hold for a few seconds, and release. Repeat on the left knee and thigh.
Squeeze the muscles in the buttocks as tightly as you can and release. Relax. Breathe.
Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding the abdomen, and bring the air down to the bottom of your lungs. Open your mouth and exhale, forcing the air out of your lungs. Relax.
Stretch out your right arm and squeeze your hand into a tight fist. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat on the left arm.
With your arms at your sides, curl the shoulders up toward your chin. Hold for a few seconds and release. Relax. Then gently roll your head around and return to center. Relax.
Stretch out your face, raise the eyebrows, open your mouth, and stick out your tongue. Hold for a few seconds and release. Relax. Then scrunch up your face as tightly as you can. Release, and relax.
Lie quietly and mentally scan your body from head to toe. If you feel any tension, repeat the exercise. Then wiggle your fingers and toes, and stretch out your arms and legs. Roll over onto your right side and sit up. Take a few deep breaths. Relax.
Dawn Pisturino, RN
March 14, 2007
Published in The Kingman Daily Miner, April 17, 2007
Copyright 2007-2015 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.