Relaxation technique to reduce stress, improve your health and make you feel better!
- Sit down or lie down, put on relaxing music or just quiet
- Close your eyes
- Think about your feet – concentrate on them – toes, nails, soles, instep and ankle. Are they cold, sore, relaxed?
- Move up to your calf and knees – concentrate and feel them, think only about them
- Now your thighs – are they relaxed, warm, comfortable? If not, relax them consciously!
- Now hips and stomach area – tension? Relax by wiggling your hips slightly side to side; if you feel tension or sickness from your stomach it could be stress; so take a deep breath in right to your stomach – then release it slowly.
- Now your chest, breast and lungs – deep breaths in and release slowly out; Breathing through your nose minimises harmful things getting inside you, and opening your mouth to release lets all the air out fully! Or just gently blow out until it’s gone and then breath steadily again.
- Now relaxed your shoulders because you are conscious of them, and can feel the tension. Recognising this now can be something to take forward and identify when you are tense or stressed, anxious and worried. So jiggle them, lower them and raise them slowly and carefully, and lower and relax them.
- Head and neck – pains in the neck (back or sides) often means tension from the stress response of preparing for fight or flight from a threat (i.e. sabre tooth tiger or a nagging boss, noisy children or work that has to be done sooner rather than later!) Again, circle your neck slowly and very carefully, let your head loll back onto the pillow or chair back – take the weight of your head and thoughts off your neck for a short time at least! Bend your head forward and backward, side to side gently and slowly to release that tension.
- Arms and hands relaxed at your side? Or across your chest or stomach? As long as they are relaxed that’s fine. If not, agitation or tension is stress from the fight/flight response you are feeling – running from it and hiding, or staying and fighting that internal battle of words or feelings, or physical preparation to stand and fight.
- Fingers twiddling – making fists and loosening out, spreading your fingers wide and relaxing them. This is a simple exercise that can help you respond to the fight or flight response, along with twisting your feet at your desk or on the bus, whilst nursing baby or eating dinner. Both these will remove the toxic adrenalin that prepares you for protecting yourself from real or perceived threats!
- You can even exercise your face now! Open your eyes wide and then tightly close them a few times; pinch your cheeks and skin gently on your face, neck and ears; open your mouth really wide and then close it – and again! Stretch it! Tighten your jaw and release it, move your lips/mouth side to side like swilling water in it. Now pat your face not to hard all over. Feel good? It gets the circulation going and helps with relaxation and health.
I hope you feel better now!