PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION EXERCISES FOR HIGH PHYSIOLOGICAL AROUSAL

LEVEL 0


BREATH HOLD:
Sitting down with eyes closed, hold your breath for as long as you can without exerting too much pressure. When you cannot hold it anymore, exhale a big burst of air. Keeping your eyes closes, pay close attention to the sensations in your body. Scan your entire body and notice what has changed since the breath hold, such as the rhythm of your breath (i.e., is it fast, is it effortful, etc…), your heart rate, pain or discomfort in your body, shaking in your body, etc… Listen to your thoughts as well, do not act on them; are they positive or negative?  Try to compare your current state of body and mind with what it was before the breath hold.
This is the power that you hold over your body and mind. Through your breath, you can initiate a cascade of events that affect both your body and mind.
Once your breathing is normalized, start again.
Repeat 5 times
 

LEVEL 1


JUMPING JACKS:
Wearing comfortable shoes do 10 jumping jacks without stopping. Once you completed this set, close your eyes and notice the effects on your body (remain standing up, do not sit down).Mentally scan your body from toes to head and notice what is going on: linger your attention for a few seconds on each limb, and just notice what sensations are being produced (i.e., soreness, discomfort).
: IF YOU FEEL PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND TRY AN ALTERNATE EXERCISE**.
As you go up your body, pay attention to your breath and its rhythm, how does it feel?
Finally, listen to your thoughts, what are they saying? What is the hedonic quality of your thoughts, are they positive or negative?
Repeat 5 times
 

LEVEL 2

JUMPING JACKS:
Wearing comfortable shoes do 20 jumping jacks without stopping. Once you completed this set, close your eyes and notice the effects it on your body (remain standing up, do not sit down).Mentally scan your body from toes to head and notice what is going on: linger your attention for a few seconds on each limb, and just notice what sensations are being produced (i.e., soreness, discomfort).
∆: IF YOU FEEL PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND TRY AN ALTERNATE EXERCISE**.
As you go up your body, pay attention to your breath and its rhythm, how does it feel?
Finally, listen to your thoughts, what are they saying? What is the hedonic quality of your thoughts, are they positive or negative?
Repeat 5 times
 

LEVEL3

JUMPING JACKS:
Wearing comfortable shoes, do between 30 to 40 jumping jacks* without stopping. After completing one set, hold your breath for as long as you can, and then release in a big burst of air. Push the air out as if you were spitting out something lodged in the back your throat, but don’t be forceful otherwise you might feel lightheaded. If you do feel lightheaded, stop immediately, sit down somewhere and wait it out calmly.  After completion of this cycle (jumping jacks + breath hold), close your eyes and notice the effects on your body (remain standing up, do not sit down).Mentally scan your body from toes to head and notice what is going on: linger your attention for a few seconds on each limb, and just notice what sensations are being produced (i.e., soreness, discomfort).
∆: IF YOU FEEL PAIN, STOP IMMEDIATELY AND TRY AN ALTERNATE EXERCISE**.
As you go up your body, pay attention to your breath and its rhythm, how does it feel?
Finally, listen to your thoughts, what are they saying? What is the hedonic quality of your thoughts, are they positive or negative?
Repeat 5 times
* As you feel more comfortable with the exercises, increase the number and speed of your jumping jacks.
** You can try any of the following exercises as an alternative, but the format remains the same:

  • mountain climber
  • jump rope
  • high knees
  • running (number of sets becomes minutes, for example 10 sets becomes 10 minutes)
  • brisk walking (number of sets becomes minutes, for example 10 sets becomes 10 minutes)

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