Brain Train: Studying for Success

By Richard Palmer | Go to book overview

APPENDIX C SOME SIMPLE RELAXATION AND FITNESS EXERCISES
There are few things more maddening than being cheerily told 'Relax!' when you're feeling like an over-wound watch-spring. It usually seems about as sensible and tactful as telling someone who's depressed to 'cheer up!'. Nevertheless, there are ways in which you can reduce physical tension at least; and that can often ease the mind's jangling as well. So here's a simple routine that you will find calms you down quite effectively and pleasantly.
1. Lie down on your back, or sit in a chair which fully supports your back.
2. Close your eyes.
3. Think about your head. Feel the forehead-muscles relaxing. Relax your eyelids, and let your jaw go slack. Let your tongue fall to the bottom of your mouth. Start to take deep breaths.
4. Now move down to your shoulders. Let them go loose, and allow your arms to go limp.
5. Relax your neck: let your head roll gently until you find an agreeable position.
6. Let your stomach go slack. It is probably the tensest part of you at such times, so take your time. Concentrate on smoothing away all the creases that seem to line it inside.
7. Tense and relax your right arm, several times. Then tense it once more, and slowly relax it from the top of the shoulder to the finger-tips.
8. Do the same with your left arm.
9. Tense and relax your right leg several times.Then tense it once more, and slowly let the tension go, from hip down to toes.
10. Do the same with your left leg.
11. Now listen to any sound from within your body-heartbeat, breathing, stomach. Pick one such sound and focus on it. Block out all other sounds and thoughts.
12. Tense and relax your whole body, at five-second intervals. Do this twice more. Then, slowly open your eyes and sit upright. Take a long slow 'stretch'.

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