Mini-relaxations can help reduce fear or pain while you sit in the dentist’s chair or lie on an examining table. They’re equally helpful in thwarting stress before an exam, an important meeting, while stuck in traffic, or when faced with people or situations that annoy you. To get the full benefit of the techniques it is important you practice them. Here are a few quick relaxation techniques to try.
When you’ve got 1 minute. Place your hand just beneath your navel so you can feel the gentle rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. Exhale. Breathe in slowly. Pause for a count of three. Breathe out. Pause for a count of three. Continue to breathe deeply for one minute, pausing for a count of three after each inhalation and exhalation.
Or alternatively, while sitting comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths and quietly repeat to yourself “I am” as you breathe in and “at peace” as you breathe out. Repeat slowly two or three times. Then feel your entire body relax into the support of the chair.
When you’ve got 2 minutes. Count down slowly from 10 to zero. With each number, take one complete breath, inhaling and exhaling. For example, breathe in deeply saying “10” to yourself. Breathe out slowly. On your next breath, say “nine,” and so on. If you feel light-headed, count down more slowly to space your breaths farther apart. When you reach zero, you should feel more relaxed. If not, go through the exercise again.
When you’ve got 3 minutes. While sitting down, take a break from whatever you’re doing and check your body for tension. Relax your facial muscles and allow your jaw to fall open slightly. Let your shoulders drop. Let your arms fall to your sides. Allow your hands to loosen so that there are spaces between your fingers. Uncross your legs or ankles. Feel your thighs sink into your chair, letting your legs fall comfortably apart. Feel your shins and calves become heavier and your feet grow roots into the floor. Now breathe in slowly and breathe out slowly. Each time you breathe out, try to relax even morr
Source: Stress Management: Techniques for preventing and easing stress – A Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
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