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MANAGING STRESS: THE SECOND PATH TO PERS... > IDENTIFYING TENSION - Pg. 52

52 IDENTIFYING TENSION Learning to relax in difficult situations increases personal power ! You can keep tension within the optimal range during a crisis and have all your resources to draw upon. You can be confident that you can stay cool while allowing your body to rest and repair as you prepare for optimal functioning. Identifying your tension level from moment to moment is the first step. "Oh, I know how tense I am," you may say. "I know when I'm uptight!" This is not always the case. In fact, most people do not accurately read their tension levels and are not aware of how inaccurate they can be. When you first become tense, it feels uncomfort- able. But the discomfort fades rapidly, making it easy to misread your tension level-and you've missed a vital warning signal. Experiment One Procedure Observe Make a very tight fist with your left hand and continue holding it for 60 seconds. Like a scientist, objectively study what you feel, where you feel it, and how intensely you feel it.