Breathing deeply from your abdomen can help create longer and slower brain waves similar to those produced by your brain when you are relaxed. As such, practising correct deep breathing techniques can help calm you down.
- Step 1: Put your right hand at the belly button of your abdomen and your left hand on the centre of your chest.
- Step 2: Take a deep breath slowly through your nose, counting from 1 to 4 to yourself silently. You should feel your abdomen rise with your right hand as your lungs fill with air. Your left hand on your chest should not move much.
- Step 3: Breathe out slowly through your nose counting backwards from 4 to 1 silently.
- Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 a few times until you feel relaxed.
Progressive muscle relaxation
This exercise can teach you to be more aware of the parts of your body with especially tense muscles and learn how to relieve them of stress. It involves tensing and releasing the pressure in different muscles in a top-down approach starting from your eyes to your feet, thus allowing you to achieve deeper relaxation progressively. You should wear loose clothing and position yourself comfortably in a chair.
Follow the instructions in the table below:
- Concentrate on only one target part of your body (starting from the eyebrow) at one time and do steps 1 to 3.
- Go on to the next target part of your body and repeat steps 1 to 3.
- Continue until you reach the final target part of your body.
|Target part of your body||Step 1: Create tension for 10 seconds||Step 2: Hold tension for 10 seconds||Step 3: Relax tension|
|Eyebrow||Raise it as high as possible.||√||√|
|Eyes||Shut them tightly.||√||√|
|Teeth||Clench them tightly.||√||√|
|Face||Squeeze your eyes mouth and nose together.||√||√|
|Neck and shoulders||Bring your chin slowly toward your chest.||√||√|
|Right hand and right arm||Create a tight fist with your right hand and raise your right arm to the height of your shoulder and stretch it as far as you can.||√||Let your right arm fall to your side.|
|Left hand and left arm||Create a tight fist with your left hand and raise your left arm to the height of your shoulder and stretch it as far as you can.||√||Let your left arm fall to your side.|
|Both hands and arms||Create tight fists with your hands and raise your arms to the height of your shoulder, stretching them all the way out.||√||Let your arms fall to your side.|
|Stomach||Pull your stomach muscles in.||√||√|
|Right leg||Raise your right leg, tensing your thigh and calf muscles as you pull your toes back towards you.||√||Let your right leg down.|
|Left leg||Raise your right leg, tensing your thigh and calf muscles as you pull your toes back towards you.||√||Let your left leg down.|
|Both legs||Raise your legs, tightening your thigh and calf muscles and extend your toes forward as far as possible.||√||Let your legs down.|
Legend: "√" means to do the action specified in the respective steps. Words are used in place of "√" in some parts of the table to make the meaning clearer.
Precaution: These exercises are for people without any pre-existing medical contraindications and/or restrictions in physical activities. Please consult a doctor or physiotherapist for more advice on the suitability of the exercises for you.
Source: Health Promotion Board