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Progressive muscle relaxation
- Choose a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.
- Before you start, do a few gentle stretching exercises to relieve muscular tension.
- Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down.
- Start to breathe slowly and deeply, in a calm and effortless way.
- Starting with your feet and working your way up to your face and head, gently tense your muscles for 5 seconds, then relax them for 5 seconds – repeat 3 times for each part of your body.
- As you focus on each area, think of warmth, heaviness and relaxation.
- Push any distracting thoughts to the back of your mind; imagine them floating away.
- Don’t TRY to relax; simply let go of the tension in your muscles and allow them to become relaxed.
- Let your mind go empty. Some people find it helpful to visualise a calm, beautiful place such as a garden or meadow.
- Stay like this for about 20 minutes, then take some deep breaths and open your eyes, but stay sitting or lying for a few moments before you get up.