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MANAGING STRESS: THE SECOND PATH TO PERS... > SYSTEMATICALLY RELAX MUSCLES - Pg. 53

53 SYSTEMATICALLY RELAX MUSCLES It takes about 25 minutes to systematically relax the muscles in your body. Here's how: Starting with your head and face and slowly moving down your body, tense and relax your muscles in the same way that you did with your fist. Hold the tension for seven to ten seconds, except for the feet, which you should hold for only three to four seconds to avoid cramping. Study and compare the sensations of tension and relaxation in each muscle. ~ BREATHING Deep breathing helps to relax you. Breathe in during the tensing phase and out during the relaxation phase. (Review the section on breathing if you need to.) Breathe deeply in and out before moving to the next muscle. ~ TALK TO YOURSELF Just before you release the tension and exhale, tell yourself to "Relax." Eventually, you willleam to release tension in a particular muscle group by focusing your attention on it and telling yourself to relax. This is a "relax command." Tense ... Relax ... Observe Observe Compare Tension vs. Relaxation As you explore the various facets of personal power, you will see that the essential ingredient is self-observation. To know what stresses you, how you respond, how you think and how you feel requires your observation.