Relaxation Techniques


Balance stressful periods with intervals of relaxation. There are many healthful ways to manage stress. Take a deep breath, talk to a friend or health professional, (see resources on opposite side), use a time planner, set goals, sleep 7 to 8 hours most nights, exercise moderately most days. Harmful ways include using alcohol or other drugs to relax, and spending of money and eating excessively.

Here are four techniques you can try.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  1. Sit with your hands held loosely in your lap and both feet flat on the floor.
  2. Loosen any constricting clothing.

  3. Tense and relax each major muscle group in your body, starting with the legs and feet and working up the body to the tongue and jaw.

  4. Notice the difference in feeling between tensed and relaxed muscles.

The Relaxation Response

  1. Sit quietly in a comfortable position.

  2. Close your eyes.

  3. Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.

  4. Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “ONE” silently to yourself. For example, breathe IN . . . OUT “ONE;” IN . . . OUT “ONE;” etc. Breathe easily and naturally.

  5. Continue for 1 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.

  6. Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating “ONE.” With practice the techniques will come with little effort; however, wait two hours after any meals, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with elicitation of the Relaxation response.

The Quieting Exercise

  1. Sit comfortably.
  2. Suggest to yourself that you have an alert mind and a calm body.

  3. Breathe in and slightly tighten and raise your tongue, jaw and shoulders.

  4. As you exhale, start a relaxation wave going down your body by letting your tongue, jaw, arms and shoulders go loose.

  5. Look for sensations of flowing, heaviness and warmth going down your body.

Deep Breathing

  1. Sit comfortably.

  2. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.

  3. Follow with a longer exhale through your mouth.

  4. Feel the differences in the temperature of the air.

  5. Repeat 3 or 4 times each session.

Resources (services are free to students.)

Desk Stretches (pdf)

Counseling Services

Professional staff available include licensed therapists.
Location: Bldg. 66-116, first floor down halls on opposite side from the Bronco Bookstore.
Phone: (909) 869-3220 for an appointment. Walk-in services are available on a limited basis most days.

Student Health Services & Wellness Center

Professional staff available include medical practitioners and health educators.
Location: Bldg. 46 Phone: (909) 869-4000 for an appointment.
Urgent Care is available all hours Student Health Services is open.

Student Support and Equity Programs

Professional staff available to provide academic advising and support.
Location: Bldg. 94-121
Phone: (909) 869-3360