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WARNING
The following exercises are designed for persons who are in good health. If you have health issues do not attempt the exercises without first consulting a health professional.

These exercises are designed to help you to relax. They are most effective if they become part of your daily routine.

Choose first the exercises that are easy for you to do, then as you get stronger move on to the more strenuous ones. Take your time. Be careful not to over do it. It may seem hard to believe, but you can get to like the routine and you will soon reap the benefits of exercise in the recovery from loss and grief.

Active Flexibility Exercises

1 Knee lift
Alternate legs. Bring the knee up to the chest, pull it up with your arms; return to starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg. (Ten times)

2 Side nip-in (lateral bending)
One hand should be allowed to follow the outside of the leg as the body is bent to that side, while the other arm is curved up over the head as if reaching way beyond the body. This should be done 10 times to each side of the body. (Ten times)

3 Stretcher
Touching your toes with the fingers. The knees do not have to be kept straight. (Ten times)

4 Partial sit-up
Lying on your back with your arms straight out in front, raise your head and shoulders off the bed. Do not try to come into a sitting position. (Ten times)

5 Partial push-up
On hands and knees, bend your arms to permit your face to come down between your hands. Push up and back, rocking back on your knees to sit on your feet. Only do this 5 TIMES

6 Running on the spot
This is also good exercise, providing that you are in good health and have no heart problems. Stop and rest if you become breathless. Work gradually up to 200 paces.

The following exercises may seem simple, but they are effective. Don't try to add to them because they seem easy.

Loosen or remove tight clothing. Lie down, making sure your neck is comfortable. A pillow beneath you knees will help your back muscles to relax. Do not cross your arms or legs.

The first 10 minutes should be used to prepare your self for relaxation. Push any thoughts of the day out of your mind. This is your time for relaxation, recharging your batteries. Select a quiet room where you will not be interrupted. Your attitude is critical. The most impotent thing during this time is to relax deeply. Center your thoughts on a favourite verse of Scripture or on a pleasant event, place or thing. Keep checking your body to be sure it is not cramped but is as relaxed as possible. Take a rather impersonal detached attitude. You cannot make yourself relax. Your have to let it happen.

Tension / Relax Exercises

1
Take a deep breath. Lying on your back, pull your toes up toward your head. Feel the tension in your calf and leg muscles. Now, let the tension flow out as you slowly breathe out. Repeat 3 times.

2
Take a deep breath. Make a fist of each hand and tighten the shoulder and neck muscles as tight as you can. Feel the tension build. Breathe out and let it all go; feel the tension flow out of your body. Repeat 3 times.

3
Take a deep breath. Scrunch up your face and bite down as hard as you can. Feel the tension. Breathe out and let it all go. Repeat 3 times.

4
Take a deep breath. Tense the muscles in your stomach, abdomen, anus and genitals as hard as you can. Hold that tension. Breathe out and let it all go. Repeat 3 times.

5
Take a deep breath. Now tighten the muscles in your whole body. Hold the tension until your body starts to shake. Breathe out and let it all go. Feel the tension drain out of your body. repeat 3 times.

Deep Relaxation

Deep relaxation involves a mental discipline which becomes the key to deep inner security. Think about the following phrases one by one. After you experience in your body the thought contained in your mind, move to the next phrase. This is a step by step process by which you achieve deep relaxation and develop this mental discipline. Repeat the phrase to yourself, then try to experience what it says.

"I'm feeling quite relaxed." (Repeat slowly and feel it)

"My mind is growing quiet." (repeat slowly and believe it.)

"It is peaceful to think about . . ." (allow yourself to experience a special place, pleasant event or a favourite verse or Scripture)

"As I'm lying here, I notice my feet are getting very heavy and relaxed. My ankles are also getting very heavy and relaxed. My thighs are getting very heavy and relaxed. My hips are getting very heavy and relaxed. As I lie here, I can feel gravity pulling me down into the bed and my body is getting heavier and heavier."

As you become adept at relaxing you can do it quiet well in a chair. Remember, relaxation increases coping power that help bring about recovery and hope.

(adapted from Grief Recovery with permission of author, Larry Yeagley.)

A Simple Prayer:

"Father in heaven,
Give me a good measure of willpower and the commonsense to start slowly to develop a regular routine that will help to bring me relief, recovery and hope for the future.
Thank You, in the name of Jesus, the Great Physician."
"More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of
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