In today’s hectic world, tension is a common ailment experienced by many people. We can carry physical and psychological tension and these tensions can feed off of one another. When you’re stressed or you mind is racing a hundred miles per minute, your muscles can become tight and tense. Both intermittent and chronic tension can be a literal pain for anyone. Relaxing your body physically can help relieve psychological stress and relaxing your mind can help you to physically relax and release tension in your body.
If you suffer from tension, however, there are several options that can help to alleviate it.The below exercise helps you notice tension in your body and relax your muscles.
Set aside about 15 minutes to complete this exercise. Find a place where you can complete this exercise without being disturbed. For the first week or two, practice this exercise twice a day until you get the hang of it. The better you become at it the quicker the relaxation response will kick in when you really need it! You do not need to be feeling anxious when you practice this exercise. In fact, it is better to first practice it when you are calm. That way, it will be easier to do when feeling anxious
Find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down, then close your eyes or focus on a spot in the distance and let your body go loose.
During this exercise, you will be working with almost all the major muscle groups in your body. To make it easier to remember, start with your feet and systematically move up (or if you prefer, you can do it in the reverse order, from your forehead down to your feet).
Take about five slow, deep breaths before you begin.
The first step is applying muscle tension to a specific part of the body. This step is essentially the same regardless of which muscle group you are targeting. **Be Careful! Take care not to hurt yourself while tensing your muscles. You should never feel intense or shooting pain while completing this exercise**. Make the muscle tension deliberate, yet gentle.
Start by clenching your toes as much as you can for a few seconds then releasing them. Notice the difference between the two feelings. After about 5 seconds, let all the tightness flow out of the tensed muscles. Exhale as you do this step. You should feel the muscles become loose and limp, as the tension flows out. It is important to very deliberately focus on and notice the difference between the tension and relaxation.
Move up your body to your things, your stomach and all the way up to your shoulders and face, clenching and relaxing each muscle in turn. Take time to notice any parts of your body that feel tense, tight or tired. You can repeat these steps if you still feel tense.
Match this to you breathing. Tense each muscle as you take a deep breath in and release as you breath out.
Take a moment to relax, then slowly and gently begin to move. When you feel ready you can stand up slowly. Once you've discovered how to relax, you should experience less overall stress.
The final step is learning how to maintain a state of relaxation and learning how to relax again quickly after you deal with future stressors and tension. Though it may feel a bit tedious at first, ultimately you will gain a skill that will probably become a very important part of managing your challenges in your daily life.