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Coping: Eight "two-minute" relaxation techniques

Muscle Relaxation
Relaxing your muscles systematically toe-to-head or head-to-toe is a powerful way to relax. Tense each set of muscles and then relax them. If time is short, focus on the muscles involved in breathing and talking.

Remember that deep inside us is a place of pure calm. Day-to-day events may make waves like on the surface of a deep, deep pond, but below the surface there is a certain, safe calm. Whatever happens outside in the world, deep inside the world, deep inside I am safe, sure, good.

Bring a picture into your mind and dwell there. Let it seep into your body. Use images like the centring one above or a place you have been or go to now which is safe and comforting. A place where you can let everything go, can take a holiday and tap into a sense of relaxation and well being that you can take with you into a potentially stressful situation.

Smile and Laugh
Strange as it may seem, smiling and laughing trigger chemicals in your body that make you feel better. So smile and especially laugh, even if you don't mean it. You will.

Feeling Complete
Remind yourself: You are complete in yourself. You know your boundaries. You don't need "success" to know you are worthwhile. Whatever happens, you are a complete and caring person. If you don't need to lean on external events, or friends, to feel good about yourself, to make you whole, then you won't lose balance. You know who you are already.

Creating Pause
Before doing anything that might be stressful, give yourself a moment of silence. Of pause. Of pure relaxation without thinking of anything. Just feel the warmth of well-being. In a short time the stressful event will be over.

Make a positive statement about yourself. Pause. Let it sink in. Accept the compliment; it's true. Smile to yourself.

Breathing Exercise
Take a deep breath slowly counting to six. Hold your breath counting to three. Breathe out counting to six. Hold counting to three. REPEAT. Breathe normally for a few minutes and repeat exercise.

  • Note: If you feel dizzy, stop breathing deeply and breathe normally for a few minutes.

Source: Vancouver Community College

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