Produced by Bupa's Health Information Team, January 2009.
This video is for adults who want to learn more about simple relaxation exercises.
Learning to relax can help you stay calm in a number of ways. It can help with the symptoms of stress, anxiety and also during difficult times it can give you a technique where you can just help yourself relax a little bit more.
Raise your arms up above your head and stretch out your body. Then let your shoulders and arms relax into a comfortable position. Shrugging, wriggling and shaking all help your muscles to stop tensing and relax. Let go of the tension in your feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, chest, arms and neck. Allow yourself to feel as if the chair is supporting your whole weight. Feel yourself letting go.
Loosen your jaw and face. A bland expression will help your face muscles to relax. Focus on your breathing, feel its rhythm, its depth and its speed. Put one hand on the upper part of your chest and the other just below your ribs on your abdomen. Slowly exhale. Gently breathe in so that you can feel your abdomen rising under your hand. Exhale for a little longer this time feeling your abdomen fall under your hand. Pause for a few moments, and then inhale again. Repeat, keeping your breathing deep and regular. Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful scene, perhaps a hot sandy desert island or a cool lush green forest, or somewhere where you have been and found it quite relaxing.
Try to practise relaxation techniques as often as you can, they only take 10 minutes.
You'll know that you’re following the technique correctly if the hand on your abdomen moves up and down but the hand on your chest remains still.
If you find it difficult to focus on the deep breathing exercise or uncomfortable, then please don’t use it.
This video is intended for general information only. It shows an example of one person’s experience. Your circumstances may be different so not everything may apply to you. It does not replace the need for personal advice from a medical practitioner.
This information was published by Bupa's Health Information Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition. The content is intended only for general information and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional. For more details on how we produce our content and its sources, visit the About our Health Information page.
Publication date: January 2009