Deep Relaxation goes far beyond what we normally think of as relaxation. It’s not going to a movie or taking out time to read magazines (although these kinds of activities can be helpful too!). Deep relaxation is a special skill that takes time to learn.
Breathing is, of course, the most natural of acts but overlooked as a great source of instant control. Many people who quit smoking don’t realize that part of what they are missing is taking the same deep breathes that they took each time they inhaled smoke. Stopping that deep breathing can result in increased tension. It is important to practice deep breathing on a daily basis. It is a great tool to use on the spot where ever you are!
EXAMPLE: Place your hand on your abdomen Inhale feeling your stomach expand Hold for the count of 3 and exhale slowly Repeat until you have a feeling of relaxation
Another name for this method is “Progressive Muscle Relaxation” which is achieved by tensing and then relaxing various muscle groups. By practicing this method you will learn to recognize and control muscles for deeper relaxation.
EXAMPLE: Clench your fists. Hold for seven to ten seconds and then release for fifteen to twenty seconds. Inhale while clenching and exhale as you release. Continue with other muscle groups:
Biceps Triceps Forehead Muscles around eyes
Jaw Shoulders Chest Stomach
Back Buttocks Thighs and calves Feet
Stretching is the opposite of squeezing. You use smooth, gentle movements to achieve relaxation. Yoga is a good example of this method!
Meditation is nothing more than shutting out distractions. It doesn’t take much to practice meditation, just a quiet corner and a few minutes. Close your eyes and use your imagination to picture something that is pleasing to you. Doing this ten minutes a day can lower your heart rate and blood pressure!
Exercise is a GREAT method of reducing tension and one of the best methods to reduce cravings. It is always recommended to discuss with your Physician before starting an exercise program.
Deep relaxation is a bodily response you CAN learn!
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