Relax in a hurry

Mini-relaxation exercises help reduce anxiety and tension immediately, and you can do them with your eyes open or closed, anywhere, anytime.

This meditation can be done when you are:

  • stuck in traffic
  • put on hold during a phone call
  • in your doctor’s waiting room
  • upset by what someone says to you
  • waiting for a phone call
  • sitting in a dentist’s chair
  • feeling overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish in the near future
  • standing in line
  • in pain

The basic method for doing a mini-relaxation exercise is quite simple: Put your hand just below your navel. Take a deep breath, bringing the air in through your nose and out through your mouth. You should feel your stomach rising about an inch as you breathe in and falling about an inch as you breathe out. If this is difficult for you, lie on your back or on your stomach, where you will be more aware of your breathing pattern. Remember to relax your stomach muscles.

Here are some variations:

Mini-Version 1
Count very slowly to yourself from 10 down to zero, one number for each breath. With the first breath, you say 10 to yourself, with the next breath, you say nine, and so on. If you start feeling light-headed or dizzy, slow down the counting. When you get to zero, see how you are feeling. If you are feeling better, great! If not, try doing it again.

Mini-Version 2
As you inhale, count very slowly up to four. As you exhale, count slowly back down to one. Thus, as you inhale, you say to yourself, one, two, three, four. As you exhale, you say to yourself, four, three, two, one. Do this several times.

Mini-Version 3
After each inhalation, pause for a few seconds. After you exhale, pause again for a few seconds. Do this for several breaths.