Learning how to relax may help you head off a panic attack. You can
learn to relax through a variety of techniques such as meditation,
muscle relaxation, relaxed breathing and guided imagery (visualization).
Relaxation is more than getting away from the work-a-day grind, and it's
more than the absence of stress. It's a specific, intentional action
that's positive and satisfying — a feeling in which you experience peace
of mind. True relaxation requires becoming sensitive to your basic needs
for peace, self-awareness, thoughtful reflection and the willingness to
meet these needs.
Relaxation techniques can help lessen the discomfort and duration of
symptoms of stress such as headaches, anxiety, high blood pressure,
trouble falling asleep, hyperventilation, and clenching or grinding your
One simple method is to remove yourself from a stressful
situation, block the world out and concentrate on your body. These steps
can help you relax:
Sit or lie in a
comfortable position and close your eyes. Allow your jaw to drop and
your eyelids to be relaxed and heavy, but not tightly closed.
Mentally scan your
body, starting with your toes and working slowly up through your
legs, buttocks, torso, arms, hands, fingers, neck and head. Focus on
each part individually. Where you feel tension, imagine it melting
muscles in one area of your body and hold them for a count of five
or more before relaxing and moving on to the next area. This is a
good method for releasing tension. Tighten the muscles of your face,
shoulders, arms, legs and buttocks.
Allow thoughts to
flow through your mind, but don't focus on any of them. Many people
find using autosuggestion to be a great help: Suggest to yourself
that you're relaxed and calm, that your hands are heavy and warm —
or cool if you're hot, that your heart is beating calmly, and that
you feel perfectly at peace.
regularly and deeply during the procedure.
Once you are
relaxed, imagine you're in a favorite place or in a spot of great
beauty and stillness.
After 5 or 10
minutes, rouse yourself from the state gradually.
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provided for general medical education purposes only and
is not meant to substitute for the independent medical
judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and
treatment options of a specific patient's medical
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