Relaxation exercises will help you to ease tension and relieve headaches, backaches, and insomnia. They release the body's own painkillers, called endorphins, into your system. Relaxation techniques also help you gain a sense of emotional well-being and reduce stress. Although experts say that some stress is good for you – it can sharpen your senses and your mind – too much stress is bad for your mental and physical health.
Progressive muscle relaxation
Step 1: Close your office door and sit in a comfortable chair. You can play some soothing, relaxing music if you'd like.
Step 2: Rest your hands in your lap with your feet on the floor. Make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Step 3: Take a deep breath in, then let it out slowly.
Step 4: Extend one arm in front of you. Make a tight fist and tense the muscles as hard as you can.
Step 5: Hold for a count of five. Concentrate on how tense your hand feels.
Step 6: Partly relax your hand, then clench it again for a count of five. Notice the different sensation between the clenched and unclenched muscles.
Step 7: Release the tension, allowing your hand to feel completely relaxed as you rest it on your lap.
Step 8: Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
Step 9: Repeat on your other hand, then do the same with your arm, shoulder, and neck muscles. Take deep breaths between each muscle group until your entire upper body is relaxed.
Step 10: Close your eyes and sit quietly for at least five minutes. Breathe deeply and concentrate on a pleasant thought or peaceful scene.
If you'd like, you can continue with your stomach, buttocks, and legs or save those muscle groups for another day.
See the complete library of Workplace Fitness exercises.