Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Relaxation Exercises

Font Size

Topic Overview

Certain breathing exercises and body muscle relaxation exercises help reduce stress.

Practice relaxation exercises 10 to 20 minutes a day.

Recommended Related to Mind, Body, Spirit

Improve Your Memory

Sometimes I think my memory is actually too good. Like when I realize I still know the lyrics to nearly every song released in the '80s. Or that I can recite, verbatim, lines from at least half a dozen episodes of Seinfeld and Sex and the City. But then I'll go to transfer a load of laundry into the dryer and discover that it's already dry; seems I forgot to ever turn on the washer. Or I'll forget my neighbor's name — again. Could it be that sitcom dialogue and song lyrics are taking...

Read the Improve Your Memory article > >

  • Tell others in your house that you are going to practice your relaxation exercises. Ask them not to disturb you.
  • Do your exercises in a comfortable place, away from all distractions and noise.
  • Lie down on your back or sit with your back straight.
  • Concentrate on your breathing. Make it slow and steady.
  • Inhale through your nose. Exhale through either your nose or mouth.
  • Breathe deeply, filling up the area between your navel and your rib cage. Do not breathe with your chest.
  • Do not hold your breath.
  • Continue this breathing pattern for 5 to 10 minutes. Notice the feeling of calmness throughout your whole body.

As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, relax by doing the following for another 5 to 10 minutes:

  • Tighten and relax each muscle in your body. You can begin at your toes and work your way up to your head.
  • Imagine your muscle groups relaxing and becoming heavy.
  • Empty your mind of all thoughts.
  • Allow yourself to relax more and more deeply.
  • Become aware of the state of calmness that surrounds you.

When your time is over, you can bring yourself back to alertness by moving your fingers and toes, then your hands and feet, stretching and moving your entire body. Sometimes people fall asleep during relaxation. They usually wake up shortly afterward.

During relaxation, you can play soothing, relaxing music.

Always give yourself time to return to full alertness before you drive a car or do other activities that might cause an accident if you are not fully alert. Never play a relaxation tape while driving a car.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 07, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Relaxation Exercises Topics

Hot Topics

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

tea
What you should eat.
Woman sitting in front of UV lights
Is yours working?
woman using breath spray
What's causing yours?
colon xray
Get the facts.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
bowl of yogurt with heart shape
Eat for a healthy heart.
woman doing pushups
To help you get fit.
Colored x-ray of tooth decay
Know what to look for.
Woman sitting with child
Do you know the symptoms?
fruit drinks
Foods that can help you focus.
Sad dog and guacamole
Don't feed this to your dog.
Thyroid exam
See how much you know.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.