Muscle Relaxation

You’ve probably exercised to lose weight, increase your stamina, keep your cholesterol under control, but have you ever thought of exercising as a way to relax. Yes, after a hard day’s work there’s nothing like some muscle relaxation. Lastly, research shows that complete muscle relaxation requires you to reduce your concentration and mental imagery. The three basic ways to achieve low-level muscle activity are to:

       Reduce mental imagery.

  • Focus your thoughts away from the problems that are causing your muscles to be tense. Also, another way to reduce mental imagery is to focus your thoughts on a meaningless word thus reducing mental images of stressful things.

    Reduce respiration.

  • To help achieve low-level muscle activity, try to slow down your breathing rate. Firstly, simply count the number of times you normally breathe per minute. Also, concentrate on decreasing that number by several breaths.

      Recognize tension.

  • If you can recognize it, you can learn to reduce it. Contracting and releasing of muscles reduce tension. Additionally, this feeling of “letting go” helps you recognize the difference between tension and relaxation.

Here are some exercises and activities that can contribute to your good health by reducing muscle tension and induce relaxation. Also, try to set aside a special time each day to do them.

Elephant Swing

  1. Stand with your feet wider apart than your shoulders.
    2. Bend forward at the waist, allowing your arms and head to hang down loosely.
    3. Gently sway your upper body from side to side, allowing your arms to swing.
    4. You may allow your heels to alternately lift off the floor as your weight shifts from side to side.
    5. Keep your neck loose.
    6. After several swings to each side, let your upper body bob slowly up and down. Repeat this several times.
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Pen Drop

  1. Sit in a comfortable chair, preferably one with arms.
    2. Slouch slightly, allowing your legs to rest in a comfortable position.
    3. Hold a pen or pencil in your hand as you would hold it to write.
    4. Close your eyes and allow your head to hang forward.
    5. Tighten the muscles of your legs. Then let the muscles relax
    6. Next, slowly try to decrease your breathing rate.
    7. Lastly, continue until you hear the pen or pencil hit the floor as it falls out of your hand.

Float

  1. Lie on your back on the floor, on a couch or on a bed.
    2. Spread your arms and legs to your sides, and spread your feet apart.
    3. Get comfortable and close your eyes.
    4. Contract your leg muscles. Then let them relax.
    5. Next contract your arm muscles and let them relax.
    6. Slowly roll your head from side to side several times. Then simply lie still for a few seconds.

Practice these techniques and see how they relax both your body and mind.