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relaxation techniques
Introduction
Freeze Meditation
Frustration Meditation
Shoulder Exercises


introduction back to top

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to become tense during the course of your hectic and demanding lives? It could be that you experience this as physical, mental or emotional tension. Regular, deliberate relaxation, especially deep relaxation can help to prevent this. Exercises of this type can also be used to reduce tension and to help us cope with everyday life.

There are many benefits of relaxation, such as :

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Assists in pressure management

  • Promotes sleep

  • Alleviates muscular tension

  • Reduces pain

  • Slows heartbeat

  • Lowers blood pressure

  • Combats fatigue

  • Serves as a coping device or skill

  • Decreases or prevents physical and psychological effects of 'stress'

This document will help to guide you through some old tried and trusted relaxation techniques so that you can experience the benefits of deep relaxation and have several techniques at your disposal for whenever you need them.

FREEZE meditation   back to top

We rarely give ourselves (or each other) time to relax and calm down after a hard stressful day, yet it is so easy to become stressed in today's lifestyles. The SPOT mediation exercise is designed as a tool to help you to unwind a little and can be used at any opportunistic moment in your day (whilst sitting at your desk, perhaps before an important  meeting, an examination or before giving a presentation).

Instructions :

  • Tell yourself to 'Freeze' - (i.e. stand or sit and remain very still)
     

  • Maintain your posture but do NOT hold your breath
     

  • Think about your body from head to toe, and identify in your mind where there are areas of tension (tight grip, tight muscles, neck pain, etc)
     

  • Without doing anything else, think about how you are breathing (shallow breaths, fast breaths, holding your breath etc).
     

  • When you are ready tell yourself to 'defrost' and allow all of your muscles to relax and go 'floppy.'
     

  • Think in a relaxed positive way and make little adjustments to your posture to enable you to relax your muscles (such as sit or stand straighter, loosen shoulders, loosen your neck, close your eyes, let your abdominal muscles relax and unclench your hands etc.)
     

  • Don't stop relaxing from head to toe, be systematic. When you identify a technique for relaxing a part of your body then use this next time you try.
     

  • Take enjoyment from this spot meditation and fine tune your ability to relax each part of your body, you will eventually be able to do it in minutes rather than hours.
     

  • Take a deep breath and sigh as you breath out, breath regular breaths, no holding them or trying to force the breaths out quickly.
     

  • Feel yourself breathing. This will provide you with an awareness of stress free breaths and make you more aware of your body and how it responds under stress.
     

  • Try to give each breath more space and freedom.
     

  • Spare a thought for how the relaxation of your whole body from head to toe can have a positive effect on your mood.
     

  • Resume your former activity when you are ready but maintain an awareness of your body and its tensions.
     

  • This technique can be applied to a part of the body too. Just concentrate and focus. For instance if your neck and shoulders feel tense, then concentrate on these.

frustration meditation   back to top

This relaxation exercise can come in useful when you are late or in a hurry but things just don't seem to be going right. For instance, when you are rushing to work for an important meeting, but every set of traffic lights turn red and slow you down even more (ever had that panicked, raging, stressed out feeling?)!

Instructions :

  • Imagine you are sitting in your car driving along and the lights have just turned red as you approach them.
     

  • You try to smile even though you feel frustrated.
     

  • All you can do is to sit there and do nothing.
     

  • Let your mind and body relax and slow down.
     

  • Take deep breaths in and linger on letting the breath out again. This will help to calm you.
     

  • Relax you abdominal muscles, consciously and also your facial muscles. This will relive the tension.
     

  • Use the time that you are held up to breathe softly and slowly.
     

  • Be aware of your body and focus on the areas where you feel tense or the muscles feel tighter than normal. Consciously focus on this excess tension and on releasing it.
     

  • Move your body gently whilst sitting in your seat. Rotate or softly shake your arms, wrists and hands; your legs, ankles and feet; and slowly lift your head up, down, left and right to relax the tension in your neck.
     

  • Relax into your seat.
     

  • Look around you slowly.
     

  • Conclude the exercise when the lights turn green and feel relaxed enough to handle anything life throws at you, confident, relaxed, refreshed, and even.....look forward to the next red light!

     

Shoulder Exercises :   back to top

Did you know that stiff and aching shoulders and the upper back are one of the most common manifestations of stress and pressure. When we feel tense we tend to hold our shoulders stiffly, tightly or hunched over. We do this subconsciously, without even realising it. Sometimes we maintain this 'abnormal' posture for long periods of time which results in muscular pain and this, in turn can lead to painful joints.

This shoulder exercise will  help ease the physical tension in the upper body and, if done right will also help with general relaxation and 'letting go' of stress. If you get the breathing right then you will definitely benefit from this easy relaxation technique which can be done anywhere at practically any time!

Instructions :

  • Sit with your back straight but not stiff.
     

  • Breath in deeply through your nose and, at the same time, push your shoulders back and then lift them up towards your ears.
     

  • Hold this position and also your indrawn breath for a count of five.
     

  • Breath out slowly and slowly relax your shoulders, letting your shoulders fall slowly downwards and let your head tilt forward (as though you are looking at your feet).
     

  • Slowly resume your normal posture.
     

  • Wait a few moments and then repeat the exercise again up to six times.
    On the last time you do this exercise relax forwards for a minute or so, with your head gently bowed forward and your hands folded in your lap.

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By Mel of Melswebs

 

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