Manage Stress for Healthy Mind with Reward Me

Targeted Muscle Relaxing Technique

Find a new way to kick stress to the curb with easy, targeted muscle relaxing!


Stressed out? Try a body scan meditation! This simple exercise — used in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and in the practice of yoga nidra — can help calm your overactive mind, releasing tension and helping you unwind at the end of a hectic day. 

Unlike other forms of meditation which require you to sit upright and maintain a certain posture, the deeply relaxing body scan meditation can be done lying down on a comfortable surface, either a mat on the floor or a bed. 

Here’s how to get started:

1. Choose a quiet location. Turn off all music and electronic distractions.

2. Wearing loose, comfortable clothing, lie on your back on a mat on the floor or on a bed. Keep arms relaxed at your sides with your palms facing upward.

3. Before you begin, set an intention and state it to yourself in the present moment. For example, “I am relaxed and will sleep soundly” or “I am at ease and free from stress.”

4. Begin by noticing where your body makes contact with the floor or the bed. Notice your whole body from the inside out. Is there any tingling, soreness or tension? Don’t worry if you don’t feel anything in particular — there is no right or wrong way to feel. You’re not trying to change anything, just checking in with your body and seeing what is going on right now.

5. Now focus all your attention on your large left toe, then bring your awareness to the next toe and the next, until you reach your pinkie toe. Move onto the top of your foot, then your left ankle, shin, calf, knee and thigh. Repeat the same process on your right side.

6. Next, hold your left foot in awareness (by lightly contracting your muscles), then your lower left leg, then your entire left leg in awareness. Do the exact same thing with your right side.

7. Continue up the body in this manner, mentally “scanning” each individual body part and then each body section until you reach the top of your head. Put it all together by holding your lower body in awareness and then your upper body. Finally, hold your whole body in awareness. By this point you should be totally relaxed.

Tips

  • This meditation can be as brief as a few minutes or as long as a half hour — it’s your choice. Take as long as you want on each body part. The more detailed you are in scanning your body, the more relaxed you will be by the end. Also learn how music helps in stress relief.
  • Consider doing this meditation with a loved one, taking turns giving instructions while the other relaxes.
  • Try a short version of this meditation on your kids. Little ones will enjoy it before bedtime.
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