Can you feel the difference between being tense and being relaxed? What are some times and places when you feel tense? (Ex: before a test, recital, game, speech, or medical appoint- ment.) Do you have something special that you do when you have worried feelings? What are some times and places when you feel very relaxed? (Ex: beach, playing music, listening to a story, or playing with a friend.) When people feel worried or nervous there are all sorts of ways for them to relax and feel more comfortable. You can learn to help yourself feel less tense by using a special kind of breathing and letting your muscles relax.
(Optional: You may wish to play soft music.) Give children the option of closing their eyes or leaving them open. Read this script or another of your choice.
Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet flat on the floor, or find a comfortable place to lie down.
Begin by taking three slow, deep breaths and breathing out gently each time. Notice your muscles relax and your heartbeat and breathing become slower.
With each breath feel yourself relaxing more and more.
Take another breath and as you do, tighten all the muscles in your face. Squeeze the muscles around your eyes, nose, lips, forehead and cheeks. Hold the tightness while you count to 3. Now breathe out slowly and as you do let go of all the tightness in your face. Feel your muscles soften and smooth out.
Once more, breathe deeply and now tighten the muscles in your chest, shoulder, arms and hands. Hold the tightness while you count to 3. Breathe out slowly and let go of the tightness in your body. Feel your whole body become more relaxed.
Tighten the muscles in your legs by straightening your knees and pulling your toes toward your knees. Hold the tightness while you count to three. As you breathe out, tell your legs and feet to relax. Each breath helps you relax all the muscles in your body more and more. Say to yourself, “I am calm and relaxed.”
Enjoy the feeling of being relaxed.