Student Wellness
Student Wellness

Relaxation Techniques

Try These Techniques!

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)
PMR involves alternating tension and relaxation in all the body’s major muscle groups. It can be used as an anxiety-reduction technique or simply for relaxation, stress or tension. PMR was first described in the 1930s by Chicago physician Edmund Jacobson. Jacobson had noted that hospital patients were tense before surgery and designed the PMR technique to enable them to discriminate the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. The method has been found to not only relax muscles, but the mind and other internal organs as well. *Prior to beginning any type of relaxation training exercise, a doctor’s consultation is suggested for those who suffer with medical conditions.*

How to Practice PMR
1. Find a quiet place from distractions. Lie on the floor or recline in a chair, loosen any tight clothing and remove glasses or contacts. Rest your hands in your lap or on the arms of the chair
2. Take a few slow even breaths.
3. Forehead. Focus your attention on your forehead. Squeeze the muscles in your forehead, holding for 15 seconds. Be careful only to tense the muscles of your forehead and to leave the rest of your body relaxed. Feel the muscles becoming tighter and tenser. Then slowly release the tension in your forehead while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the difference in how your muscles feel and the sensation of relaxation. Continue to release the tension in your forehead until it feels completely relaxed. Continue breathing slowly and evenly.
4. Jaw. Now shift attention to your jaw. Tense the muscles in your jaw holding for 15 seconds. Then, release the tension slowly while counting for 30 seconds. Notice the feeling of relaxation and
continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
5. Neck and Shoulders. Now, shift attention to your neck and shoulders. Increase tension in your neck and shoulders by raising your shoulders up toward your ears and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly
release the tension as you count for 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away.
6. Arms and Hands. Slowly draw both hands into fists. Pull your fists into your chest and hold for 15 seconds, squeezing as tight as you can. Then, slowly release while you count for 30 seconds.
Notice the feeling of relaxation.
7. Buttocks. Slowly increase tension in your buttocks over 15 seconds. Then, slowly release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension melting away. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly.
8. Legs. Slowly, increase the tension in your quadriceps and calves over 15 seconds. Squeeze the muscles as hard as you can. Then, gently release the tension over 30 seconds. Notice the tension
melting away and the feeling of relaxation that is left.
9. Feet. Slowly, increase the tension in your feet and toes. Tighten the muscles as much as you can. Then, slowly release the tension while you count for 30 seconds. Notice all the tension melting
away. Continue breathing slowly and evenly.
10. Enjoy the feeling of relaxation sweeping through your body. Continue to breathe slowly and evenly.

Visual Imagery
Find a quiet and comfortable place. Leave aside all your other activities for at least half an hour. If possible, the place should not have any sources of possible distraction, such as telephones, small children playing, and so on. You may choose to lie down or sit.

1. Close your eyes.
2. Recollect the last time you were extremely happy. It may be that you were with someone; it may be that you had been somewhere; it may be that you got something. Whatever made you happy,
mentally imagine that scene.
3. Forget about everything else and just become engrossed in imagining that happy moment and scene.
4. Remain with this feeling mentally for at least 10 minutes.
5. Now imagine any event that you may not have experienced but that you believe will make you happy.
6. Mentally enjoy the feeling of being in that event.
7. Be with this feeling for at least 10 minutes.
8. Now open your eyes and feel the relaxation and recharging of the body and mind that has taken place.

Autosuggestion, or talking with oneself, is a powerful means to develop self-confidence and build healthy lifestyles. Dr. Emile Coue, a French psychotherapist, was the first to come up with the best known phrase for autosuggestion – “Day by day in every way, I am getting better and better” (Patel, 1993).

Reflect upon the following ideas for possible autosuggestions within the context of bringing relaxation in your life. After thinking through this list, you may wish to come up with a personal list
of autosuggestions for yourself. These autosuggestions can be repeated to yourself during your free time or routinely during morning and evening or coupled with other relaxation methods.
• I am happy, healthy, and relaxed.
• I am in harmony with my surroundings.
• I work efficiently and sufficiently.
• I enjoy complete peace of mind.
• My sleep is sound, refreshing, and relaxing.
• My relationship with self and others is cordial.
• I stay calm and relaxed even in potentially tense situations.
• All the organs and organ systems in my body are working and relaxing optimally.

Stress Balloons
You will need: Balloons, Funnel, & Flour.

1. Blow balloon up a little and release the air (this stretches the balloon).
2. Place the balloon over tip of funnel.
3. Pour flour into the funnel.
4. Push flour into balloon (make sure to squeeze out the air).
5. When balloon is desired size, take balloon off the funnel and tie it.

Neck Rolls
You will need: Knee length sock, Rice or any legumes, lavender, sage, or other relaxing scents, and wide mouth funnel.

1. Fill socks with rice, add scent, and secure end.
2. Microwave for 10-20 seconds.
3. This provides stress reducing comfort for the neck.

Bath Salts
You will need: ¾ cup Epsom salts, ¼ cup baking soda, 1 ½ cup coarse sea salt, and 10 drops essential oils.

1. In a large bowl, combine salts and baking soda.
2. Add food coloring and scents.
3. Stir mixture together. The drop of food coloring will break up and distribute the salt.
4. Pour salt through funnel into large glass bottle.