When one of my friends recently confided that she was massively stressed out and just couldn’t relax I asked her what method she was using to relax. She looked at me, perplexed. “I’m not,” she said “I don’t relax. I wouldn’t know how to.”
It put me in mind of where I was some years back, lying in hospital feeling very sorry for myself.
I had suffered a spontaneous pnueomothorax (that’s a collapsed lung to you and me). According to the doctors there was no apparent reason for this condition. It happened a total of THREE TIMES over a two-year period before I finally got the message!
The body expresses what the mind is concerned with. I had been enormously stressed, mentally and physically. I had been working too hard, partying too much and worrying about everything and nothing. I had ignored the nagging pains in my chest for too long. A collapsed lung was how my body finally chose to express what was going on in my mind.
Finally I got it! I had to learn how to relax or things were going to get worse.
So the following is one of the first techniques I discovered and used frequently to help me combat the stress. I would like to share it with you.
Trust me, anyone and everyone can learn how to relax.
Here’s a great relaxation technique that you can use every day.
Although you can just memorise this exercise and run through it in your mind, if you record it onto your phone or laptop you can make your own free relaxation recording to listen to. I really recommend you play it every day, preferably last thing at night or first thing in the morning to form a habit of regular relaxation and unwinding.
If you don’t have time to record one for yourself, don’t worry I am currently making a free download which I will send to all my subscribers. (Subscribe here if you aren’t already).
Practise the entire sequence at least once a day, twice or more if you want to learn to relax more quickly.
After you have followed the routine for several weeks, you may find that you can reduce the number of phrase repetitions because your body will be reprogramming itself, and responding more readily to the suggestions.
Try these techniques for at least twenty one days to imbed the suggestions so they become second nature.
Oh, and make sure you read through it all first to familiarise yourself with the script. Delete the parts about left- or right-handedness accordingly!
Make yourself comfortable, either sitting or lying down. Close your eyes. Take a nice deep breath, and exhale fully and completely. Remember to breathe properly throughout the exercise.
Let the day’s experiences and thoughts pass through and out of you. Do not hold onto your thoughts; allow them to go..
Imagine a blue sky on a bright sunny day with some white fluffy clouds floating by. Now imagine that those fluffy clouds represent any thoughts or feelings that surface throughout this relaxation. Imagine that you are the blue sky. Just observe and let go.
Repeat slowly and silently three times:
“I am at peace with myself and fully relaxed”.
On the exhalation, imagine you can breathe away any tension. Concentrate on feeling heaviness in your arms and legs.
[Right-handed people begin with the right arm; left-handed people with the left.]
Right-handed people begin:
My right arm is heavy. My right arm is heavy. My right arm is heavy.
Left-handed people begin: “My left arm is heavy. My left arm is heavy. My left arm is heavy.”
Pause between each phrase. Take your time, and let any worries or thoughts that enter your mind flow through you, and out of you just like fluffy clouds.
Feel the heaviness in your arm.
Continue with the opposite arm and repeat the phrase to yourself three times.
“My left arm is heavy,” or “My right arm is heavy.” Feel the heaviness in your arm.
Then continue to the legs, saying to yourself: “My right leg is heavy. My right leg is heavy. My right leg is heavy.” Feel the heaviness in your leg.
Remember to breathe and take your time, pausing between each phrase.
Feel the heaviness in the other leg, say to yourself, “My left leg is heavy. My left leg is heavy. My left leg is heavy.” Feel the heaviness in your legs.
Then say to yourself: “My neck and shoulders are heavy. My neck and shoulders are heavy. My neck and shoulders are heavy.” Feel the heaviness in your neck and shoulders. Take a deep, calm breath, and exhale fully and completely.
Concentrate on feelings of warmth as you relax. Right-handed people start: “My right arm is warm and relaxed. My right arm is warm and relaxed. My right arm is warm and relaxed.”
Left-handed people start: “My left arm is warm and relaxed. My left arm is warm and relaxed. My left arm is warm and relaxed.” Feel the warmth in your arms: be aware of any pulsing, tingling, streaming of energy flowing through your body. Go on to the other arm.
Then let go of the tension in your legs by saying to yourself:
My right leg is warm and relaxed. My right leg is warm and relaxed. My right leg is warm and relaxed.
Feel the warmth in your right leg.
Continue with the other leg and repeat the phrase to yourself three times. Feel the heaviness in your legs. Remember to breathe slowly and effortlessly and let any thoughts flow out of you.
Move on to your neck and shoulders, and say to yourself: “My neck and shoulders are warm and relaxed. My neck and shoulders are warm and relaxed. My neck and shoulders are warm and relaxed.”
Feel the warmth in your neck and shoulders, and feel the warm blood flowing through your body. Just allow yourself to remain relaxed and be aware of any sensations that let you know your body is relaxing nicely.
Remember to breathe naturally and calmly. Slow and calm your heart by saying to yourself: “My heartbeat is calm and regular. My heartbeat is calm and regular. My heartbeat is calm and regular.”
If you experience any discomfort when you turn your attention to your own heartbeat, or if you feel nauseated, light-headed, or notice any other disturbing sensation, change the phrase to: “I feel calm now. I feel calm now. I feel calm now.”
To slow your breathing say to yourself: “My breathing is calm and regular. My breathing is calm and regular. My breathing is calm and regular.” Feel the air completely filling your lungs when you inhale, and on the exhalation feel the warm air leaving your lungs.
Pause between each phrase, and say the phrases to yourself slowly and calmly. Concentrate on warmth in your abdomen, saying to yourself: “My abdomen is warm and calm. My abdomen is warm and calm. My abdomen is warm and calm.”
If you have serious abdominal problems, bleeding ulcers, diabetes, or are in the last trimester of pregnancy, change the phrase to: “I am calm and relaxed. I am calm and relaxed. I am calm and relaxed.”
Move on to your forehead, repeating to yourself: “My forehead is cool and relaxed. My forehead is cool and relaxed. My forehead is cool and relaxed.”
Feel the excess blood flowing out of your head.
Remember to breathe a calm, full breath; allow any extraneous thoughts to flow through you and out of you.
When you have completed the last phrase, rest for a moment.
To bring yourself back to a normal state of alertness repeat the phrase to yourself: “I am rested, refreshed and completely alert. I am rested, refreshed and completely alert. I am refreshed and completely alert.”
Take a deep, full breath, flex your arms and legs, and stretch.
You may wish to repeat the last phrase several more times.
Slowly open your eyes.