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How to Relax All of the Muscles in the Body

By Linda Ray ; Updated August 14, 2017

Relaxation is an integral piece of maintaining your overall health, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Relaxing all the muscles in the body can help to reduce stress and the many symptoms it produces. Relaxation helps to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and slow down breathing. Using relaxation techniques on all the muscles in your body can help to reduce chronic pain and increase blood circulation to the muscles. You will feel more confident and be able to concentrate more effectively.

  1. Find a quiet place to relax and lower the lights. Low light is most relaxing. Sit in a comfortable chair with your back upright and your feet flat on the floor. Notice how you feel. You'll use your initial tense and tightened feelings as a baseline to tell when you have reached a relaxed state.

  2. Monitor your breathing. Breathe in slowly though your nose to a count of five and breathe out slowly to the same count out your mouth. Utilize controlled breathing any time you need to relax.

  3. Go through all the muscles in your body. Begin with your hands. Tighten your hand into a fist, hold for about 10 seconds, tensing all the attached muscles, and then release. Repeat the same technique on the rest of your muscle groups, up your arms, over your shoulders and on every part of your face.

  4. Bend your head forward to touch your chin to your chest, hold and release. Stretch your chest outwards, hold and release. Suck in your stomach as far as you can, hold it and release. Arch your back, hold for 10 seconds and release. Press down on your feet and experience the tension throughout your thighs, hold and release.

  5. Raise one knee as high as you can while remaining seated to feel the muscles tighten, hold and release. Repeat on the other leg. Point your toes upwards, both feet at the same time, hold the position for 10 seconds and release.

  6. Notice how you are feeling again. Most likely, after going through the entire process, your mind is much stiller than when you began. It takes concentration to focus on each muscle group and the actions you're making. The result is a quieter mind in addition to more relaxed muscles.

  7. Tip

    As you become more proficient and realize the effects of relaxation exercise, you should perform them as soon as you begin to feel stress. If you aren't in a position to find a quiet, dimly lighted room, close your eyes and go through the process anyway.


    Learning how to relax takes practice, report Mayo Clinic doctors. If the full-body relaxation exercise doesn't work right away, keep trying. You don't want to create more stress by worrying about not doing the stress management techniques well enough.

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