Managing Stress: Body Tension Reducers

Forehead
Arch your eyebrows as high as you can. Hold them there for 10 seconds, then release them suddenly. Relax. Now frown deeply, lowering your eyebrows as far you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Release suddenly. Relax.

Eyes
Close your eyes tightly. Hold for 10 seconds, then open them quickly. Relax.

Nose/Cheeks
Wrinkle up your nose and raise your cheeks at the same time. Hold for 10 seconds. Release quickly. Relax.

Mouth
Press your lips together as tightly as you can. Feel the tendons under your chin getting taut. Hold 10 seconds. Release suddenly. Relax.

Tongue
Bring the tip of your tongue up against the roof of your mouth, behind your upper teeth, pressing hard. Muscles around the jaw and under the chin should feel taut. Hold 10 seconds, then let go quickly. Relax.

Neck
In a high-back chair or lying down, press your head back. Hold 10 seconds, then release quickly. Relax. Or rotate your head in a semi-circle from side to side. Begin with the ear pressed toward the shoulder, roll forward and then reverse directions.

Shoulders
Raise your shoulders in a shrug, as high as you can. At the same time, extend your arms stiffly behind you and angled outward, with your palms facing back and thumbs pointing down. Hold 10 seconds, then relax shoulders.

Chest
Slowly draw the deepest breath you can. Hold it at least 6 seconds. Exhale quickly. Relax. Do this four times.

Upper Arms
Touch your fingertips to your shoulders, while tensing your biceps. Hold tense for 10 seconds, then let go. Relax.

Lower Arms
Hold your arms straight out in front, palms down. Bend your hands upward at the wrist, until your hands and forearms make a 90° angle. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax.

Hands
Extend both arms in front, palms up. Make tight fists and hold tense for 10 seconds. Release quickly. Relax.

Abdomen
Push your stomach muscles out as far as you can. Hold for 10 seconds. Release. Now draw in all your stomach muscles, keeping them tight for 10 seconds. Release and relax.

Thighs
Press your upper legs together tightly, but don’t let the area below the knees touch. Hold for 10 seconds, then relax.

Lower Legs
Sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you, put your feet together and point your toes forward. Hold 10 seconds. Now using your ankles, bend your feet back toward your body as far as possible. Hold for 10 seconds. Relax.