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Take a deep breath and relax
03/19/2010

Finding time to take relaxation breaks at a busy, stressful job may be difficult. Edward Health & Fitness Center's meditation expert Toni Gilroy will take you through this relaxation exercise. You can practice this exercise in a short period of time while sitting at your desk, and over time regular practice will have long-term benefits.

10 steps to relax

1. If possible, close your eyes. You may do the exercise without closing your eyes, but closing your eyes will help you relax a bit more. Do not clench your eyes shut. Let your eyelids fall naturally.

2. Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 5. Hold the breath for a count of 5. Breathe out slowly, counting to 5. Repeat.

3. This exercise is performed by tensing and holding a set of muscles for a count of 5, and then relaxing the set of muscles for a count of 5.

4. When you tense each muscle set, do it as hard as you can without hurting yourself. When you release the hold, be as relaxed as possible.

5. If there is any tension remaining go back and repeat the procedure on that part. When you have done this take a deep breath, hold it, then let it go slowly, blowing all tension out of your whole body. Concentrate on the relaxed feeling you have generally in your face. Enjoy the relaxed and comfortable, calm and peaceful feeling in your face as you let go more and more, becoming deeply relaxed. relaxed and resting. Smooth, gentle, regular breathing.

6. Now check back to see if any tension has crept in ... your face ... your neck ... your shoulders ... your chest ... your stomach ... your arms and hands ... your legs, feet and toes. If there is any tension, rid yourself of it by tensing, holding and letting go.

7. Concentrate and enjoy that calm, peaceful at ease feeling that goes with total relaxation. This feeling can be heightened by imagining pleasant, peaceful scenes such as relaxing on the beach, or in the country, or up in the mountains, or in a warm bath - whatever turns you on (or should we say off). Try to imagine it as vividly as possible. It will help you to let go, relax and take it easy and enjoy it.

8. The next time you begin to feel upset, remember how you feel when relaxed. When you want to relax, think about your forehead muscles, take a deep breath and let go all the tension you found in your forehead. Then go onto the other muscle groups in the same manner. Letting go helps you feel more peaceful and calm - so, if you do get worked up, anxious, upset, and angry or whatever, relax, let go, and listen to the music.

9. Maximize the relaxation benefits of this exercise by visualizing a peaceful scene at the end of the exercise. Visualize a scene (a place where you feel relaxed) in detail for at least 5 minutes.

10. Gradually start to come back and listen to the normal sounds around you. Slowly... slowly, when you feel ready, start to open your eyes. Open your eyes and stretch yourself out.



 

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801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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