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4 Relaxation Techniques That Will Leave You Saying Ahh

Whether you just woke up and have some time before work, are stretched out for some down time in your hammock, or getting ready for bed, it’s always beneficial to do a relaxation technique to clear your mind and calm your body. You’ll feel rejuvenated with more energy and positive emotion.


Here are 4 relaxation routines that you can do…

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  • Lie down on something comfortable, like your bed or a cushy floor mat.
  • Mentally tune out your surroundings.
  • Tense and relax each of your muscles as follows:
    • Forehead – Wrinkle your forehead, trying to make your eyebrows touch your hairline for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Eyes and Nose – Close your eyes as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Lips, Cheeks, and Jaw – Draw the centers of your mouth back and grimace for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Hands – Extend your arms in front of you. Clench your fists tightly for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Forearms – Extend your arms out against an invisible wall and push forward with your hands for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Upper Arms – Bend your elbows. Tense your biceps for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Shoulders – Shrug your shoulders up to your ears for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Back – Arch your back off the floor for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Stomach – Tighten your stomach muscles for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Hips and Butt – Tighten your hips and butt muscles for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Thighs – Tighten your thigh muscles by pressing your legs together as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Feet – Bend your ankles toward your body as far as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.
    • Toes – Curl your toes as tightly as you can for 5 seconds. Relax.


2. Self-Massage (from Darrin Zeer, author of Lover’s Massage and Office Yoga)

  • Place both hands on our shoulders and neck.
  • Squeeze with your fingers and palms.
  • Rub vigorously, keeping shoulders relaxed.
  • Wrap one hand around the other forearm.
  • Squeeze the muscles with thumb and fingers.
  • Move up and down your elbow to fingertips and back again.
  • Repeat with other arm.


3. Body Scan

  • Lie down on something comfortable, like your bed or a cushy floor mat.
  • Notice which body parts are pressing down and relax, or “soften”, those areas.
  • Mentally tune out your surroundings.
  • Start with your left toes and focus on them to become aware of the sensations – whether they’re painful, tense, warm, or relaxed. Don’t visualize or move your toes, just notice them. Now relax them.
  • Once you’ve “scanned” your left toes, move up to the next body part – your left foot. Do the same thing as with the toes.
  • Keep moving up your body – left ankle, calf, knee, thigh, hip, torso, chest, shoulder.
  • Cross over to your right shoulder and down your body to your right toes.
  • Finish with your neck and head.
  • After you scan your head, feel how your body is connected – how your head is connected to your neck, neck to torso, torso to arms, etc.


4. Four-Square Breathing

  • Slowly inhale through your nose for 4 seconds.
  • Hold your breath for 4 seconds.
  • Slowly exhale for 4 seconds.
  • Do nothing for 4 seconds. (If your mind wanders, bring it back to focus on your breathing.)
  • Repeat until you feel calmed down.

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