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© 2018 by Theresa Cawley

Present Moment As Resource

Taking a few minutes time out to just pay attention to whatever it is we are actually doing or experiencing can be very restorative to our frazzled nervous systems and busy minds. Our minds tend to constantly move between worrying or planning for the future or ruminating about the past, rather than actually being present to what is happening in the here-and-now of our lives.

 

By paying attention to the rhythm of our breath, our bodies sensations or the sights/sounds/smells around us, we can quieten our mind and bring greater calm to our nervous system for that moment. Mindfulness has been shown to be a good resource for people suffering from stress, anxiety, depression, and addictions amongst other things. It can increase our capacity to cope and is something we can do for us to support ourselves, easily incorporating it into our lives. 

Mindfulness

Here are some links to sites which give free mindfulness instruction so you can begin to explore it for yourself if you so choose. In addition to this there is a wide range of youtube videos with guided instructions online.

https://mindfulnessexercises.com/

https://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/

https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/meditation-instruction/

https://www.uclahealth.org/marc/mindful-meditations

https://jackkornfield.com/meditations/

http://www.freemindfulness.org/download

Here are some links to the health benefits of mindfulness practice

https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/pst-48-2-198.pdf

https://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/documents/EvidenceforMindfulnessImpactonschoolstaff-KW.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progressive Muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a deep relaxation technique. It is based upon the simple practice of tensing, or tightening, one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase with release of the tension, leading to a greater state of relaxation. 

Progressive muscle relaxation can be learned by nearly anyone and requires only 10 minutes to 20 minutes per day to practice. You can practice this technique seated or lying down, and you should try to practice with comfortable clothing on, and in a quiet place free of all distractions.

Basically this is how it works:

 

While inhaling, contract or hold tight one muscle group (for example your calves) for 5 seconds to 10 seconds, then exhale and suddenly release the tension in that muscle group and notice the sensation of what it feels like to release the tension.

 

Give yourself 10 seconds to 20 seconds to relax, and then move on to the next muscle group (for example your thighs).

 

While releasing the tension, try to focus on the changes you feel when the muscle group is relaxed. Imagery may be helpful in conjunction with the release of tension, such as imagining that stressful feelings are flowing out of your body as you relax each muscle group.

 

Gradually work your way up the body contracting and relaxing muscle groups all the way up to the face.

Below are links with more detailed instruction:

https://www.anxietycanada.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/Progressive_Muscle_Relaxation.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo