The “Quick Release”

by Robert H. Phillips, Ph.D.

The “Quick Release” is a brief relaxation procedure which, despite its brevity, can be very effective in helping with overall tension. It will help you relax after something makes you tense. It will also help you to lower the overall level of tension in your body.

Here’s how to use the “Quick Release.” Read the directions completely before beginning to use the procedure.

  • Get yourself into a comfortable position, whether it is on a bed or in a chair. If necessary, you can even do the “Quick Release” standing up. Close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath and hold it. While you hold your breath, tense your entire body. Tense as many muscles as you can concentrate on, but don’t strain or hurt yourself. (And don’t tense any muscles that may be sore or uncomfortable.) It may help to tighten your fists and your arms. This will trigger your tensing other muscles such as abdominal muscles or leg muscles. Hold your breath and keep your body tense for approximately six seconds. It is not necessary for you to count; merely estimating the time is sufficient.
  • Let your breath out in a whoosh and let your body go limp. (Imagine, for example, that you are a rag doll, all loose and floppy.) Keep breathing rhythmically and comfortably for approximately twenty seconds. Again, it is not necessary to count. Just estimate.
  • Repeat this six second/twenty second cycle two more times.
  • At the end of the third repetition, instead of opening your eyes after twenty seconds, let the relaxation portion of the “Quick Release” continue for approximately one minute. Focus on your breathing and allow yourself to relax even more.

As you can see, the entire procedure takes less than two minutes. Initially, you should attempt to practice it at least five times a day, spread out through your waking hours. In addition, any time you feel stress and you would like to control it, the “Quick Release” can help. The three repetitions are not a requirement. Sometimes one cycle will be enough; at other times, you may need more than three. You are the judge.

Good luck… and relax!

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