If you’re the type to start gnawing on fingernails when stress hits or walk around with permanently hunched shoulders, chances are you need to learn to relax. Since it’s far more easily said than done, we thought we’d offer you a quick, easy exercise you can do almost everywhere (though a private, quiet spot may be best).
This progressive muscle relaxation exercise takes only a few minutes and helps you become more mindful of how a tense muscle feels as opposed to one that’s relaxed. Go though the whole exercise once. Don’t breeze through it! The point is to get you to chill just long enough to get you to loosen muscles, take some deep breaths and realize that the situation may not be as dire as you think.
You can go through the entire exercise or just do parts of it the next time you’re feeling anxious. If you get a little panicky during finals, just put the pen down, close your eyes, clench your fists for a few minutes and breathe.
This exercise was read by Ruth Cruise, a Clinical Fellow and Doctoral Student at the Boston University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. The Center offers cognitive behavioral therapy for people with anxiety and related disorders. It is located at 648 Beacon Street in Kenmore Square and can be reached at 617-353-9610.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise by firstname.lastname@example.org