Monday, March 31, 2008


This is to help people with a high level of anxiety or tension who have difficulty relaxing. It also helps me to get to sleep.

Start by either lying flat on your back with your arms at your sides with the palms down, or sitting up straight in a chair, feet flat on the ground and palms flat on your legs.

Begin breathing slow, deep breaths. For these to be "properly deep" breaths, your stomach area should move and fill before your chest starts to move. This can take some practice, and some do it easier than others. Don't work too hard at it, though, or get frustrated by it; that will ruin the point of the exercise.

Think about somewhere warm. This sounds silly, I know. But even thinking about being warm can increase your circulation marginally and help you relax.

Now, starting from your toes and working your way up, tighten and tense your muscles. Hold, for example, your toes/feet tense for a couple seconds, then release. This helps you to realize what parts of you are tense, and the difference between relaxed muscles and tense muscles. Sounds silly, but you can be tense and not know it. Slowly work your way up your body, doing everything from your lower back, hands, arms, to forehead. Do it slowly, take your time. Then work your way back down, making sure to fully release your tension each time.

Done properly, this whole process can take about fifteen to twenty minutes.

I hope this helps someone. I'm really swamped with work at the moment, so this is all you're getting out of me for a few days!


Anna said...

I do this (or something very much like it) to help me get to sleep as well.

A visual that might help with the full breathing thing is to think of your lungs/chest cavity like a glass that someone is pouring air into, much like you'd pour a glass of water - the bottom fills up first and then fills up the rest of the glass. This kind of breathing should make your stomach and ribs expand - it should *not* make your shoulders rise up towards your ears. (If you're breathing in and hunching up your shoulders, that actually *creates* more tension!)

Good luck getting all your work done!

Ferocious Bite said...

Sounds very Yoga-ish! Other things to add: Allow the bed to support the entire weight of your body. It's amazing how one can continue to 'hold' their body up while lying down. Also, think about relaxing each body part from the feet up, ending with your face/head. To deepen the relaxation in your face, relax the area behind the eyes and allow the eyes to receed, relax your inner ears, relax your teeth and gums, then 'allow' the brain to sink to the back of the skull. These sound weird, but they will completely relax your face and head.

Caleb said...

Not a comment for this article, just for your blog. I found it recently (through resto4life i think) and I've really been enjoying it. Its got more flair than your average blog.

Even though my 2 chars are hunter and feral druid, I look forward to reading new entries in your blog more than the other 20 or so wow blogs I read :)

Bell said...

@anna, ferocious bite - those are very good additions! I'll make sure to practice them.

@caleb - awww...thank you :) I'm glad you like it and I hope you will continue to.

Alyse said...

Awesome. I actually use a happy pleace (as lame as that sounds) and focus on breathing. I'm suppose to try this method next session :)