Here is a short relaxation technique to help maintain your practice. This technique is a combination of several techniques, taking the best of each to help create one effective strategy. It takes advantage of progressive relaxation, which involves calming each muscle group one at a time by concentrating on a feeling. Remember, you need to commit to it for it to work, and dont expect massive changes right away. It takes some time for this to become natural, just see if you can try it for a few minutes a day. Eventually, it may start to become part of your lifestyle, not just something you’re doing in a panic. It starts with the following steps:
- Close Your Eyes- Start by breathing in slow and deep with your eyes closed, using your entire body, you want to fill your stomach first and your chest second, and you want to breath slowly both in and out. When you have filled up your lungs, hold for a few seconds before you exhale. Breathe in through your nose and breathe out perhaps out through your lips, almost like you’re whistling. It’s a good idea to practice this type of breathing for a while to get used to it before moving onward. Once you feel your breathing is under control, move forward to get on with what you need to do.
- Count Backwards- Slowly count backwards from ten to one. You can do this in your mind, or you can do this out loud. Start over every time you reach one. Remember, slow, measured breathing is important. If you count slowly, you’ll be able to breathe at a better pace. Repeat this until you feel your mind is focusing less on your stressful thoughts.
- Focus on Your Body -Try to concentrate on the way your body feels right now. Notice the areas of your body that are tense and direct the breath there , see if you can do this through every part of the body. You should feel yourself beginning to be less tense and that your muscles can let go, almost as if your entire body has gone limp and boneless and is now just floppy. If it helps, try to imagine yourself feeling heavy, warm, and tingly. Or heavy, as though your tense muscles are no longer holding you up. Remember to relax your face and eyes and jaw and just breathe into the whole body for 6-10 breaths.
- Turn off Each Muscle- The best way to do this is repeat the above steps to turn off each muscle one at a time. Start with your feet, then legs and so on by imagining those areas feeling heavy and weak. Keep moving your way up until you’ve reached your face. Then go through it one more round, and make sure that each and every muscle feels turned off.
- Start Visualizing- Your next step is to try to mentally transport yourself somewhere truly relaxing. Remember, your eyes should be closed throughout this whole process. Visualize yourself on a relaxing beach, or a pretty park. Try to imagine this place with all of your senses. Focus on the details. What does each flower smell like? What noises are you hearing? Envelop yourself in this location. Don’t forget to continue your slow and measured breathing.
- Wipe Negative Thoughts Away- When you do have a negative thought, or some type of stressor enter into your imagination, visualize it turning into some type of object, and then have some relaxing thing take it away. For example put it in a balloon and send it away or on a leaf. Continue this process until you can’t focus on your negative thoughts anymore. Try to do it as long as possible, and any time stress or a negative thought enters, have it taken away and keep yourself transported into that new environment, breathing slowly.
- Here is an audio link to one our practices Energising breath