De-Stress & Relax Instantly With This '10 Step' Exercise

ELIMINATE STRESS & PANIC ATTACKS By Luisa Martinez (Page 4)

Coffee breaks are not the only times when you can take a moment for yourself. Experience has taught me that coffee breaks can actually add to the stress you feel when you're at work.

Here's a tried and proven method to help you relax at work. This exercise is performed by tensing and holding a set of muscles for a count of 5, and then relaxing the set of muscles for a count of 5.

When you tense each muscle set, do it as hard as you can but without hurting yourself, and when you release the hold, be as relaxed as possible.

Before You Begin

First and foremost, find a place to sit. Sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair, your feet flat on the floor, and your hands resting lightly on your thighs.

If possible, close your eyes. Although you can do this exercise without having to close your eyes, closing your eyes will actually help you to relax that little bit more. But don't clench your eyes shut, just let your eyelids fall naturally.

Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 5. Hold the breath for a count of 5 and then breathe out slowly, counting to five. Repeat.

Now Perform These '10 Steps'

(1) Begin by tensing your feet. Do this by raising your feet and toes off the floor towards you while keeping your heels on the floor. Hold for a slow count of 5. Release the hold and let your feet fall gently back. Relax for a count of 5.

(2) Next tense your thigh muscles as hard as you can. Hold for a count of 5. Relax the muscles and count to 5.

(3) Tighten your abdominal muscles and hold for a count of 5. Relax the muscles for a count of 5. Be sure that you continue to sit up straight.

(4) Tense your arm and hand muscles by squeezing your hands into fists as hard as you can. Hold for a count of 5. Relax the muscles completely for a count of 5.

(5) Tighten your upper back by pushing your shoulders back as if you are trying to touch your shoulder blades together. Hold for a count of 5. Relax for a count of 5.

(6) Tense your shoulders by raising them toward your ears as if shrugging and holding for a count of 5. Relax for a count of 5.

(7) Tighten your neck first by gently moving your head back (as if looking at the ceiling) and holding for 5. Relax for 5. Then gently drop your head forward and hold for a count of 5. Relax for a count of 5.

(8) Tighten your face muscles. Open your mouth wide and hold for a count of 5. Then relax for a count of 5.

(9) Raise your eye brows up high and hold for 5 and relax for a count of 5.

(10) Finally clench your eyes tightly shut and hold for 5. Relax (with eyes gently closed) for a count of 5.

Finish-up With Controlled Breathing

Finish the exercise with controlled breathing. Breathe in slowly through your nose, counting to 5. Hold the breath for a count of 5. Breathe out slowly, counting to five. Repeat 4 times. And that's it!

Perform this exercise whenever you need to relax. Over time, if performed regularly, this exercise will help you recognize tension in your body.

You'll be able to relax a select group of muscles at any time rather than performing the entire exercise. For long-term results, perform this exercise at least twice a day.

Maximize the relaxation benefits of this exercise by visualizing a peaceful scene at the end of the exercise. Visualize a scene - a place where you feel relaxed - in detail for a few minutes. Remember the happy place? Go there and enjoy it!

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