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How To Relax


Updated November 24, 2008

Relaxation and Meditation

Relaxation and Meditation

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Herbert Benson and his group at the Mind-Body Medical Institute have been studying the relaxation response since the 1970s and have linked its use to reductions in high blood pressure. The idea is simple: just as the body responds to certain cues and situations with a stress response, it can also respond a relaxation response. With 20 minutes a day, you can learn to use the relaxation response to reduce stress and to improve blood pressure.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 20 minutes a day

Here's How:

  1. Sit

    Find a comfortable place to sit. Sit with you back straight and feet on the floor. Be comfortable, but alert.

  2. Close your eyes

    Just relax. Close your eyes. Let everything fall away.

  3. Breathe in

    Breathe in through your nose. Feel the breath fill your body.

  4. Breathe out

    Exhale through your nose. Feel your body collapse. Breathe out fully.

  5. Repeat

    Continue breathing. After each time your breath in and out, say (or think) the word “One”. Continue for 20 minutes. You can change the word to anything meaningful for you.

  6. Practice daily

    Repeat this everyday. Have a set time to do it. Don’t worry about setting an alarm, just have a clock nearby that you can see. If you start drifting in thought, gently return to your breathing.

  7. Mini-relaxations

    During your day, stop a few times and ‘do a mini’. Just breath in and out for about a minute. This will relax you and begin to teach your body how to respond to stress in a calm way.

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What You Need

  • Place to sit
  • 20 uninterrupted minutes
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