Relaxation exercises are easy to learn and implement and can be remarkably effective in addressing stress, test anxiety, all kinds of phobias and other similar concerns.
The Progressive Relaxation Exercise (recorded by Steve Sprinkle, former director of the Counseling Center) is loosely based on a technique described in Chapter 4 of the 5tth edition of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, a best-selling self-help book.
This exercise will direct you to systematically relax your major muscle groups by briefly flexing your muscles and then slowly releasing the tension. It begins by having you flex your facial muscles and continues with your neck and shoulders, down to your arms, abdomen and legs. The exercise ends by directing you to breathe deeply and slowly as you review parts of your body. The recording is about nine minutes long.
The Combination Relaxation Exercise (recorded by Bonnie Lambourn, one of the psychologists at the Counseling Center) blends several relaxation techniques, which used together can have a synergistic effect in creating a deep relaxation experience. It is loosely based on Chapter 11 of the 5th edition of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook.
In this exercise, you will progressively release tension from your major muscle groups and then will be guided in using deep breathing, affirming statements and the visualization of a "safe place" to achieve a relaxed state. The recording is about 15 minutes long. You can listen to either exercise directly from this Web site, or you can download the exercises onto your computer. The recordings of these exercises are not copyrighted-they can be used or copied or recorded to a CD freely.
Here are some tips for using these or any relaxation exercises: