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Stress Management for Health Course

Mini Relaxation Exercises (Mini's)


"I have had patients who use minis over a hundred times in a single day."  (Dr Alice Domar PhD)


When stressful events occur in our lives, at home or at work, we can help to calm ourselves and reduce our stress by practicing shortened forms of relaxation that take only a minute or so to practice called Relaxation Minis.

We often encounter difficult, uncomfortable situations like going for interviews, queuing up, traffic jams, red lights, waiting for dental treatment, receiving uncomfortable medical/dental procedures, difficult work meetings, being on hold on the telephone, etc., where the events are short but quite stressful none the less.  In these short-term situations we can help ourselves cope and reduce our tension by practicing a relaxation mini, which is a shortened relaxation technique. 

The aim of the mini relaxation is to switch our breathing from a fight/flight style of breathing to relaxed abdominal breathing.    When we are in an anxious situation our breathing switches to chest breathing and this is like throwing petrol on the fire.  By doing the mini we voluntarily switch the breathing back to relaxed breathing and this reduces our anxiety and tension.

Research has shown that its not the big stressors, ie life events, that cause us a problem, because fortunately they are quite rare; but its the daily hassles we face many, many times a day that cause us problems.  By using the mini relaxations we can help to keep our stress under control.  Minis are useful because they are so easy to do, can be used in any difficult situation we find ourselves and nobody knows we are doing them.


How to do a Mini Relaxation

The Mind Body Medicine Institute recommends the following method for inducing a mini relaxation.

1.      In a mini relaxation exercise you can have your eyes open or closed, however obviously don't close your eyes if you are driving, operating machinery or in a situation where you need to maintain safety.

2.     Switch your breathing to relaxation style diaphragmatic breathing.  On breathing in, your stomach should rise about 1", your stomach should fall 1 on breathing out.

3.      As you inhale count very slowly up to 4 as you exhale count slowly back to 1, thus, as you inhale you say to yourself, 1-2-3-4, and as you exhale you say to yourself, 4-3-2-1.  Do this several times.


Although the mini relaxation exercises are useful it is important that we still continue to practice the long form of relaxation exercise.


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