Dr. Paul Standal helps his clients identify sources of stress while educating and coaching them in strategies for coping with stress.
PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION FOR REDUCING STRESS
A very effective technique for reducing the physiological symptoms of stress is the use of progressive relaxation techniques. Although there are many variations of these techniques, they are all based on a similar observation that the nervous system cannot be both stressed or hyper-aroused and relaxed simultaneously. As one increases relaxation in the body, hyper-arousal is decreased in an equivalent manner. Systematic or progressive relation exercises act to put the participant into a mindful, present time context. At the same time it acts to alter the practitioner’s state of consciousness, reinforcing the parasympathetic nervous system. That system puts the brakes on our hyper-arousal.
Progressive Relaxation Process
(Simultaneous Use of Relaxing Music Recommended for Optimal Benefit)
Sit comfortably and allow your concentration to rest on your right foot. Wiggling your toes can help you to focus on this area.
Now, relax your foot and allow your attention to move to your right calf. Is there any tension there? If so, let it go by tensing the muscles and then freeing them.
Now, move your awareness up to your right thigh, then your buttocks, then the abdomen, then your chest, then down your right arm to your hand and back again to your shoulder, then to the muscles of your face and finally to the crown of your head. Be aware in each case of any tension and let it go. Concentrate on how each part of your body feels. Be aware of both the sensation on the skin and deeper sensation in the muscles and ligaments themselves.
Now, continue the process by moving down the neck to the left shoulder, the left arm, the back and down the left leg to the foot.
Stand up and shake out your arms and legs.
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