Tension-release exercise

This technique is a very good way to calm down when you’re overcome with anxiety. Try it at home or someplace quiet. Once you get better at it, you’ll find that you can do it almost anywhere, anytime.


Make a fist with your left hand. Squeeze. Feel the tension move up your wrist and arm. Now let it go. Breathe out. Repeat with your right hand. Notice how much more relaxed your hands and arms feel after you’ve squeezed them tight and released them.


Stretch your arms in front of your body and bring them over your head. Stretch as high as you can, feeling the tension build in your shoulders. Drop your arms and breathe. Repeat.


Clench your teeth tight. Now let it go. Do it again. Repeat a couple of times until you feel relaxed and loose.


Wrinkle your nose and scrunch up your face. Now relax. Repeat, this time lifting your eyebrows to make creases in your forehead. Let it go.


Tighten up your stomach so that it turns hard. It might help to place a hand on your belly so you can feel it tighten. Take a deep breath and relax your stomach as you breathe out.


Push your feet and legs down on the floor. Push hard, spreading your toes apart if you can. Let it go. Try this again, this time letting all of the tension out of your lower body as you relax.

This exercise should help you relax your body from head to toe. If you’re still feeling tense, try repeating the exercise again.

Last Reviewed September 2012 by the Kids Help Phone Counselling Team
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