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

12 Ways to Destress Amidst Holiday Madness

By Melody WarnickEmploy these easy reenergizing techniques when you need them most this season   The most wonderful time of the year, huh? So why do the holidays sometimes feel like a month-long panic attack? "During the holidays, people have such high expectations for things to be perfect," says Jon Abramowitz, PhD, professor of psychology and director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In other words, we take on too much, then feel anxious...

Read the 12 Ways to Destress Amidst Holiday Madness 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

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

feet
Solutions for 19 types.
row of colored highlighter pens
Tips for living better.
build a better butt
How to build a better butt.
man with indigestion
How to keep yours at bay.
MS Overview
Recognizing symptoms.
stressed working woman
And how to fix them?
brain scan with soda
Tips to kick the habit.
richly colored hair
What your hair says about your health?
Woman running
10 ways to boost your metabolism.
lone star tick
How to identify that bite.
young woman in sun
What to watch for.
Girl drinking orange juice
What's in your glass?

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.