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Relax Already: Active Relaxation

I know that it seems like a contradiction of terms, but active relaxation is a real technique for getting rid of unwanted tension. Stress creates muscle tension so actively relaxing your muscles can really help clear your mind and ease your level of anxiety.

Hold the following positions for 5 seconds and focus on the sensation of muscle tightness. Then actively release the position and focus on the sensation of tension leaving the muscles. These moves can be done sitting at your desk and I recommend doing them each a couple of times.

Lower body:
(Start with your right foot, then repeat on the left side)

  • Scrunch your toes and point your toes inward
  • Flex your toes and pull them toward your head
  • Straighten your knee, so leg is parallel to the floor and tense your thigh, relax the leg back down

For your torso:

  • Squeeze your bum
  • Tense your stomach, make it feel tight like a ball
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together

To see what else you can do for your shoulders just read more

For your arms and shoulders:

  • Make fists with both hands
  • Squeeze your arms into your sides
  • Raise your shoulders to your ears

For your face and neck:

  • Squint your eyes and wrinkle your nose
  • Pull your lips in
  • Open your mouth as wide as you can
  • Raise your eyebrows as high as you can

Now I know the facial "moves" are quite conspicuous, so they might be hard to get away with in a small office, but they are great for your car ride home. Once you tense and relax all these muscles, you should feel both an ease of body and mind. So go on, relax already.

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