Strategies for Staying Sane: Rapid Relaxation Methods

Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus


Carl used to be described as “uptight.” In fact, he was such a taut person that he suffered from chronic back pain and excruciating headaches that his doctors ascribed to tension. He was also very anxious. When he learned to perform regular re1axation techniques, these problems came to an end. There are numerous studies to prove that for many people, the act of letting go of tense muscles, just performing simple relaxation maneuvers, has a most powerful and beneficial effect throughout the mind and body.


If you are willing to devote about two minutes several times a day to simple relaxation methods, you might be amazed at the health giving results.

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Merely taking the weight off your feet, sitting down or lying down, letting tense muscles loosen up, and breathing more slowly, changes your blood chemistry and has a profound effect on your nervous system. If you made a point of doing this for about two minutes at a time, five to ten times a day, you would be decreasing your stress levels and producing several health-enhancing effects.

Please don’t say that you are “too busy” to relax. All it takes is a total of ten to twenty minutes a day. When consulted by a very busy executive who suffered from many symptoms of stress, to begin with, we advised him to use these mini-relaxations throughout the day. He followed the advice and every now and then he would close his office door, take a couple of minutes to sit back, close his eyes, breathe deeply and slowly allow his muscles to go limp. He reported feeling more alert at work, better able to concentrate, and he would leave the office feeling less stressed out. This technique enabled him to derive many benefits from the remainder of his therapy.

Here’s the simple process:

  • take a couple of minutes every few hours,
  • sit back in a relaxed position,
  • close your eyes,
  • breathe slowly,
  • let your tense muscles become loose,
  • imagine a pleasant scene.

Most of us work and stress ourselves without having a break from the tension. Many falsely believe that to derive benefit from relaxation, you must do it for twenty to thirty minutes at a time. Not true! Many people find themselves becoming more tense after prolonged relaxation.

Remember, all it takes is to sit down or lie down, let go of your muscles as best you can, and breathe slowly and deeply, for about two minutes. It is also often a good idea to conjure up positive images at the same time.


Dr. Clifford N. Lazarus is a licensed psychologist, Co-founder and Clinical Director of The Lazarus Institute. In addition to his general psychotherapy practice, Dr. Clifford Lazarus specializes in health and neuropsychology.

Dr. Clifford Lazarus received his B.A., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University where he was a Henry Rutgers Research Scholar.  Seen here are excerpts from one of his books, The 60-Second Shrink – 101 Strategies For Staying Sane In a Crazy World, a book, he co-authored with his father “One of the ten most influential psychotherapists in America”  Arnold A. Lazarus, Ph.D.  For more details on Dr. Clifford Lazarus visit this link to The Lazarus Institute.  Or visit his page here on

Books available at Amazon by Arnold and Clifford Lazarus

Direct links to two highly recommended books by Dr. Clifford Lazarus & Dr. Arnold A. Lazarus:

The 60-Second Shrink: 101 Strategies for Staying Sane in a Crazy World 

Don’t Believe It for a Minute!: Forty Toxic Ideas That Are Driving You Crazy

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