Everyone holds stress differently in the body. Some hold it in the neck and get tension headaches; others hold it in the shoulders and get a sore back. Where do you hold your tension? It may be that you hold it in more than one place. Releasing built up stress from the muscles and cells throughout the body can help you feel significantly better. It also strengthens your immune system and makes you less susceptible to “bugs” that are going around. It will make you happier too. So pull up a comfy chair and shut off your phone for 15 minutes. Put a timer on for 10 to 15 minutes so that you don’t have to look at your watch. Just do the exercise until the timer rings.
1. Find a comfortable position and allow your body to settle into your chair or couch. Close your eyes. Let your body melt into the chair and be fully in contact with it. Feel yourself supported and held up by the chair rather than just sitting on the chair.
2. Starting at your feet, slowly scan all of your body right up to the top of your head. Notice where you feel tight or tense.
3. Focus on your breath. Pay particular attention to how you are breathing: how quickly and deeply you breathe. Begin to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Don’t force the breathing or hold it out longer. Keep your mouth softly closed. Open your mouth enough to breathe out. Keep your jaw relaxed.
4. Become more aware of your breathing by paying attention to where your body moves with each breath and where it may be stuck and not moving. Feel the oxygen moving through your whole body. Let your diaphragm do the breathing for you. Feel your lungs filling up and pushing your abdominal area down. Feel your body absorb oxygen on the inhalation. On the exhale feel the blood releasing stress and toxins into the lungs and push them out.
5. Let the breathing and oxygen flow relax your whole body. Feel where it may be stuck or tight and send oxygen to that point until it opens up and moves with the breathing. Scan your body again to find any tight/tense spots and breathe into them until they relax.
6. At the end of 15 minutes, breathe deeply and slowly three times. Each time as you inhale feel your breath going all the way down to your toes and finger tips and as you exhale flush out any tightness that is left. Pause and when you are ready, open your eyes.
What is stress doing to you?