December 2000

Deep Breathing

This Issue


by Joseph Patrick Jakubal

We hear so much about stress these days. The evidence of it's effect on health is so overwhelming that it cannot be ignored.

I have been bombarded with news reports that stress is a major killer ... and when left uncontrolled it leads to cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other ailments that affect mental and physical health.

So, rather than take the chance that my beliefs will always remain as they are ... I chose to limit my stress by learning relaxation procedures which I practice daily ... because relaxation is the antidote for stress.

De-Stress Your Life with "Progressive Relaxation"

This is an excellent way to relieve stress ...

1) Find a quiet place where you can sit or lie down for about 20 minutes.

2) Focus your attention on your breathing. Inhale slowly and count to eight ... expand your belly upward as though it were a balloon filling with air ... Hold your breath for 4 seconds, and slowly exhale for a count of eight. Continue this breathing cycle for the remainder of the session.

3) After inhaling, tense your facial and scalp muscles as you count to four ... and then release them. Imagine that you can actually feel the tension flowing out of your body.

4) Next, wait until you've inhaled again and tense your neck muscles and hold them for a count of four. Relax and feel the tension flow out of them.

5) In the same way as before, tense your shoulder muscles ... then release them.

6) Tense your arm muscles, then your hands. Work your way down your body, relaxing your chest, abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves, and feet.

7) When you have completed releasing the tension from your feet you will feel both heavy and light. Imagine that you feel all of the tension that is left pouring out through your feet.

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