2 Techniques to Help You Relax

Stress is not necessarily bad. The biographies of great scientists, explorers, artists, and entrepreneurs reveal that times of intense stress are also times of inspiration and creativity, productivity and accomplishment.

Yet stress can nevertheless interfere with the practice of meditation. Meditation itself will help reduce stress, but I want to recommend two techniques that will help you ease into your meditation practice:

1. Progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation has also been referred to as the tense and release technique. This is an old school technique that is especially effective if you have tense muscles.

The simple method of progressive muscle relaxation is this: tense your muscle in groups at approximately 50 percent capacity, and then release the tension. Do this multiple times over a period of two minutes. When you do this, the muscles tire and naturally release their tension.

2. 61 points relaxation 

61 Points relaxation is a technique that encourages you to survey the body. When you place awareness on tension within the body, the muscles will release their tension. This is because a lot of tension in the body is the result of tension in the mind. Excessive thoughts often propel us away from our natural state of inhabiting the body.

The simple method of 61 points relaxation is this: place your awareness one at a time for several seconds on each of the 61 points of the body. The following are the 61 points:

The forehead, the throat, the right shoulder, the right elbow, the right wrist, the tip of the right thumb, the tip of the right index finger, the tip of the right middle finger, the tip of the right ring finger, the tip of the right little finger, the right wrist, the right elbow, the right shoulder, the throat, the left shoulder, the left elbow, the left wrist, the tip of the left thumb, the tip of the left index finger, the tip of left middle finger, the tip of the left ring finger, the tip of the left little finger, the left wrist, the left elbow, the left shoulder, the throat, the space between the breasts, the right breast, the space between the breasts, the left breast, the space between the breasts, the navel, the lower abdomen, the right hip, the right knee, the right ankle, the tip of the right big toe, the tip of the right second toe, the tip of the right middle toe, the tip of the right fourth toe, the tip of the right little toe, the right ankle, the right knee, the right hip, the lower abdomen, the left hip, the left knee, the left ankle, the tip of the left big toe, the tip of the left second toe, the tip of the left middle toe, the tip of the left fourth toe, the tip of the left little toe, the left ankle, the left knee, the left hip, the lower abdomen, the navel, the space between the breasts, the throat, and the forehead.