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Mind/Body Basics
 
"Over time, chronic excessive exposure to stress can lead to physical symptoms and exacerbate many illnesses. Just as stress affects our body, so too it affects the ways we feel, think, and act...By using stress reducing strategies, you can enjoy life's challenges without burning out."The Wellness Book
by Benson, Stuart and M/BMI Staff
RELAX IN A HURRY
Mini-relaxation exercises help reduce anxiety and tension immediately. You can do them with your eyes open or closed (but make sure that your eyes are open when you are driving). You can do them anywhere, any time, and no one will know that you are doing them.

Some good times to "do a mini" are when you are:

Stuck in traffic
Put on "hold" during an important phone call
In your doctor's waiting room
Someone says something which upsets you
Waiting for a phone call
Sitting in the dentist's chair
Feeling overwhelmed by what you need to accomplish in the near future.
Standing in line
In pain


"Minis" are most beneficial for people who elicit the relaxation response on a regular basis. Minis quickly recall this relaxation state, but they can help anyone feel refreshed, calmer, and better able to concentrate.

The basic method for doing a mini 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. This is diaphragmatic breathing. If this is still 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 diaphragmatic breath, you say "10" to yourself, with the next breath, you say "nine", etc. 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.

More Information
To register for stress management programs and services, contact Becky Grassi at 617.991.0102 X214 or bgrassi@mbmi.org

To book speakers on stress management and related topics, contact Marilyn Wilcher at 617.991.0102 X208 or mwilcher@mbmi.org
Relaxation CDs

Herbert Benson, MD President,
Mind Body Medical Institute and
Mind Body Medical Institute Associate Professor of Medicine,
Harvard Medical School.