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Instantaneous Relaxation Exercise For People With Cancer

Bonnie Schuman

This is an exercise you can use whenever you feel stress. Read these instructions to yourself aloud softly, slowly and soothingly. After each instruction, close your eyes and carry out each instruction for at least 10 or 15 seconds or longer. Soon you will know them and will not have to read them.

IT WOULD BE GOOD FOR ME TO RELAX NOW. SO, FOR THIS NEXT MINUTE OR TWO, I WILL SIT BACK AND BE AS COMFORTABLE AS I CAN AND READ THIS SHORT PARAGRAPH ALOUD, AND I KNOW THAT WHATEVER I DO WILL BE PERFECT, AND THAT, AT THE END, I WILL BE CALM AND RELAXED. THE FIRST THING I WILL DO IS TAKE THREE SLOW, DEEP BREATHS THROUGH MY NOSE -- EXHALING COMPLETELY THROUGH MY MOUTH AFTER EACH BREATH.

NOW I WILL PUT ALL MY ATTENTION ON MY SHOULDERS AND NECK AND LET THEM RELAX AND LET THEM SAG TOWARD THE GROUND.

NOW I'LL RELAX THE MUSCLES OF MY FACE AND MY JAWS AND LET MY MOUTH FALL SLIGHTLY OPEN.

NOW I WILL TAKE THREE MORE SLOW, DEEP, SATISFYING BREATHS AND NOTICE HOW WONDERFUL MY LUNGS FEEL AS THEY EXPAND AND CONTRACT.

NOW I WILL CLINCH MY RIGHT FIST AS HARD AS I CAN -- WHILE INHALING DEEPLY.

NOW I'LL RELAX THAT HAND AND EXHALE COMPLETELY, AND I FEEL ALL MY STRESS RUNNING OUT OF THAT HAND.

NOW I WILL CLINCH MY LEFT FIST AS HARD AS I CAN -- WHILE TAKING A SLOW, DEEP BREATH.

NOW, I'LL RELAX THAT HAND AND EXHALE COMPLETELY, AND I FEEL ANY STRESS I STILL HAVE RUNNING OUT OF THAT HAND.

NOW I WILL PLACE ALL MY ATTENTION ON THAT PART OF MY BODY THAT IS NOT AS HEALTHY AS I WANT IT TO BE, AND I WILL ASK ALL OF MY ENDORPHINS* TO SURROUND THAT PART OF MY BODY AND DO THEIR WONDERFUL WORK THERE.

NOW I WILL CLOSE MY EYES AND COUNT SLOWLY TO 20, MAKING SURE THAT MY FACE IS RELAXED AS COMPLETELY AS POSSIBLE .

THEN I WILL OPEN MY EYES AND GO ABOUT MY USUAL ROUTINE, KNOWING THAT I CAN TAKE THIS TYPE OF REST ANY TIME I WANT TO.

* Endorphins are pain-killing chemicals that occur naturally in the brain.