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eringSocalAxty13 ones. As you become more adept at these relaxation techniques.

it will aplying take less practice time and become more a matter of refining and your skills
Stage 1: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) The goal of this first stage is to recognize the difference between

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how your muscles feel when they're tense and how they feel when they're relaxed. You might think you'd automatically know this, but many people experience chronic muscle tension without even realizing it. By practicing PMR you'll begin to quickly scan your body for muscle tension and you'll be able to relax any trouble spots on command. To learn PMR. you may find it helpful to tape-record the instructions below. Another option is to purchase a professionally recorded relaxation audiotape. Refer to the "Resources" section to find out how to order one. After you've gone through the procedure several times. though. you'll become familiar with the procedure and you may not need a tape. These are the instructions: 1. Find a comfortable, quiet place to sit or lie down.

2. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm. 3. Tense each muscle group following the list below. Notice what the tension feels like. Hold the tension for five to ten seconds. 4. Release the tension. Focus on how relaxed the muscle feels. 5. Take another deep breath. 6. Repeat procedure with each muscle group. Below are the major muscle groups. Tense and release each one in order. If you experience pain in any of the areas, stop immediately and omit them in the future. In particular, people with back or neck pain should be cautious when tensing the muscles in these areas.

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Your head:

Clench your teeth and pull the corners of your mouth back in a forced smile. Close your eyes tightly. Open your eyes as wide as you can.
Your neck and shoulders:

Press your head to your right shoulder, then your left. Press your chin toward your chest. Tilt your head toward your back. Don't force it too far. though. Raise your shoulder up toward your ears in a big shrug.
Your arm s and hands :

Tighten your hands into fists. Tighten the muscles in your upper body by making a fist and bending your arms up at the elbows. Press your hand firmly into the surface where you're practicing.
Your chest:

Take a deep breath and puff out your chest. Tighten your chest muscles.
Your heck:

Arch your back.


Your abdomen :

Push your abdomen out as far

you can.

Pull your abdomen in tight toward your spine.


Your hips, legs, and feet

Tighten your buttocks.

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Push the soles of your feet down into the floor. If you're lying down, press your heels. Point your toes downward. Flex your toes upward. Practice relaxing your body this way at least once a day. It should take approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to go through the entire process. Remember, the goal at this stage is to really notice the dif erence between tension and relaxation. This will make it easier to master the next. stage.
Stags 2: Release-Only Relaxation In this stage you omit the fast part of PMR, the tensing part, and instead focus only on relaxing each of the muscle groups in turn. This will shorten the time the process takes and allow you to reach a state of deep relaxation more quickly. Begin in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes. Concentrate on taking deep breaths from your diaphragm. Now progress through the muscle groups and gently tell yourself to relax each muscle and allow the ten sion to slip effortlessly away. You can intensify the relaxation by imagining the muscle being heavy and warm. After you've progressed through your entire body, spend a few minutes breathing deeply. Scan your body for any remaining tension. Focus on any muscles that are still tense and spend a moment relaxing those area. Try not to rush through this stage. It may seem easier than progressive muscle relaxation, but its actually more difficult because you're relaxing the muscles entirely through the power of your mind. Stage 3: Cue-Controlled Relaxation The next stage in applied relaxation training is called "cuecontrolled relaxation." It's a simple idea that involves pairing a word with a relaxed physical state. With enough repetition of this pairing, the body learns to associate the relaxed condition with the word. With

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