Stress Self-Help

Relaxing muscles

Relaxing muscles

Body rest and muscle relaxation are closely related. We tense muscles to move and relax them to rest. This practice makes you aware of the close relationship. It also encourages you to consciously relax your muscles to facilitate the practice of rest.

When you take a deep breath, you naturally contract some muscles and release them as you exhale. This practice takes advantage of this natural process of tensing and releasing breath-related muscles to encourage the releasing and relaxing of all movement-related muscles in the body.

Posture and softness

While the goal of this practice is to engage in wakeful rest, not to invite sleep, you should aim to soften your muscles without relaxing them to the point of complete laxity. This muscle softness should facilitate the practice of rest yet maintain enough muscle tone to support your restful sitting or standing posture.

If you practice rest while lying down, your muscles may soften to the point of completely laxness. This can be helpful in supporting your ability to soften your muscles. However, you may also find that you fall asleep more easily during the lying-down practice of rest. If you did fall asleep, enjoy it, but once you awake, do another practice of wakeful rest.

Softening the face

This practice emphasizes the softening of your face since it is often easier to relax muscles in your face than elsewhere in your body. Furthermore, for various neurological reasons, the relaxation of facial muscles appears to naturally invite the softening of muscles in other areas of your body.

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