It’s likely that nervous tension is the result of a fight-or-flight response to stress. When you encounter a stressful situation, you automatically tense your muscles in readiness to take on the challenge before you. If the challenge you face isn’t physical, you end up continuing to hold the tension created in your body instead of releasing it.
Recognize the source
The stressful situation you faced that caused you to create tension stemmed from an emotional cause, and one of the fastest ways to reverse the problem is to recognize what that cause was.
Perhaps you felt fear due to a situation you didn’t know how to handle, or had to cope with circumstances where you felt out of control. On the other hand, nervous tension can also be created by withholding emotion you don’t want to express, in which case, you might have felt angry or upset and didn’t want people to see you this way. You will have swallowed your emotion deep down into your body, where it resulted in tension.
Once you recognize where nervous tension comes from, you can use this knowledge to relieve stress during a visualization exercise.
Lie down or sit comfortably, and practice deep breathing for a while. Concentrate on your breath, which should be deep and slow. Hold each breath for a count of four, and exhale in the same manner. When you have begun to relax a little, picture a beautiful place, a place where you would like to be.
Make sure that the place you imagine is somewhere you feel safe and secure, and inspired and uplifted. Let your peaceful emotions and senses guide you as you explore your inner vision.
When you are ready, bring the experience that resulted in an accumulation of nervous tension into your vision, only this time, alter the situation so that it’s in your favor. For example, if you were afraid of someone who shouted at you, replay the experience in your mind, but shrink him or her so that you are much larger and more powerful. Alternatively, if you were anxious because you were out of your depth of skill and this is what led to tension, see yourself coping easily and everything falling into place. Imagine your colleagues or family congratulating you for handling the situation well, and feel a sense of gratitude for having done so.
After you have inwardly replayed the stressful experience favorably, see the cause of your stress fade slowly out of view, and notice that you feel confident and relieved.
Bring your attention away from the place you have created in your mind and back to your body. Notice any areas where you still feel tense, and imagine that you can see this tension inside your body in the form of a tight ball. Picture the ball unraveling and getting loose, and then decreasing in size until it disappears.
When you have been through your entire body in this way, open your eyes and gently stretch your arms and legs. Slowly stand when you are ready and shake your hands, arms and legs, as though shaking away negative energy. Stretch your limbs and reach for the sky with your arms.
You can relieve nervous tension by recognizing what caused it to manifest in your body, and by visualizing this experience favorably in a peaceful, safe place created by your mind as an inner vision. In addition, you can release the feeling of knots in your body by visualizing them untangling and disappearing, before shaking and stretching away negativity.