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Instant Relaxation Drill

  • Position yourself comfortably either sitting, standing, or lying down.Woman relaxing by window

  • Keep your back straight.

  • Draw in a deep breath and count to five slowly. Exhale slowly and let all your muscles relax. Repeat this step two or three times until you are completely relaxed.

  • Imagine a pleasant thought, such as "I am learning how to relax," or a pleasant scene, such as a calm lake. If you use a natural scene, imagine all the sights, sounds, and smells of that scene as vividly as you can.

Practice this instant relaxation drill during your daily routine when you feel unwanted tension. For example, when you feel yourself becoming impatient while waiting in line.


Adapted from Farquhar, J. The American Way of Life Need Not Be Hazardous to Your Health. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978.

This information has been approved by Shelby Jenkins, OTR and Chelsea Randall, MS, OTR/L (May 2012).