Release Only Relaxation

Now that you've felt the difference between tensing and relaxing each muscle group, you're ready to move on to the next stage of applied relaxation training. As you might guess from its name, release-only relaxation cuts out the first step in progressive muscle relaxation the tensing step. This means that you can cut the time down by half (or more) that you need to achieve deep relaxation in each muscle group. With practice, you'll find that mental focus alone is enough to drain your muscles of...

Breathing for Symptom Control or Release

This exercise combines the relaxing benefits of complete natural breathing with the curative value of positive autosuggestion. 1. Lie down on a rug or blanket on the floor in a dead body pose. 2. Place your hands gently on your solar plexus (the point where your ribs start to separate above your abdomen) and practice complete natural breathing for a few minutes. 3. Imagine that energy is rushing into your lungs with each incoming breath of air and being immediately stored in your solar plexus....

Background

Hypnosis is a term derived from the Greek word for sleep. In some ways, hypnosis is similar to sleep there is a narrowing of consciousness accompanied by inertia and passivity. Hypnosis is very relaxing. But unlike sleep you never completely lose awareness during hypnosis. While hypnotized, you are able to respond to things going on around you. While hypnosis is usually done with eyes closed to facilitate concentration and imagination, it can be done with eyes opened. Hypnosis allows you to...

Special Considerations

It is not necessary to feel as though you are relaxing while you meditate in order for you to actually become relaxed. You may feel as though you are thinking thousands of thoughts and are very restless. However, when you open your eyes at the end of your meditation, you will realize you feel much more relaxed than you did before meditating. 2. As your mind quiets with meditation, old or hidden pain can arise from your subconscious. If you find that when you meditate you suddenly feel angry,...

Establishing Your Posture

Rock briefly from side to side, then from front to back, and establish the point at which your upper torso feels balanced on your hips. D. Close your mouth and breathe through your nose. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Close your eyes and focus on the place where your body touches the cushion or chair. What are the sensations there Next, notice the places where your body touches itself. Are your hands crossed Are your legs crossed Pay attention to the sensation at these places...

Counteract your needless distressing thoughts

Almost every minute of your conscious life you are engaging in self-talk, your internal thought language. These are the sentences you describe and interpret the world with. If the self-talk is accurate and in touch with reality, you function well. If it is irrational and untrue, you experience stress and emotional disturbance. Here is an example of irrational self-talk I can't bear to be alone. No physically healthy person has ever died merely from being alone. Being alone may be uncomfortable,...

Symptom Effectiveness Chart

Chapter titles for each stress reduction method are listed across the top, and typical stress-related symptom are listed down the side. The most effective techniques for a particular symptoms are marked with a boldface X, while other helpful techniques for that same symptom are indicated by a lighter x. Anxiety in specific situations (tests, deadlines, interviews, etc.) Anxiety in your personal relationships (spouse, parents, children, etc.) Anxiety, general (regardless of the situation or the...

Eye Relaxation Palming

Put your palms directly over your closed eyes. Block out all light without putting too much pressure on your eyelids. Try to see the color black. You may see other colors or images, but focus on the color black. Use a mental image to remember the color black (black fur, black object in the room). Continue this way for two to three minutes, thinking and focusing on black. Lower your hands and slowly open your eyes, gradually getting accustomed to the light. Experience the sense of relaxation in...

How You React to Stress

You can't avoid it. Stress is any change that you must adapt to, ranging from the negative extreme of actual physical danger to the exhilaration of falling in love or achieving some long-desired success. In between, day-to-day living confronts even the most well-managed life with a continuous stream of potentially stressful experiences. Not all stress is bad. In fact, stress is not only desirable but also essential to life. Whether the stress you experience...

Tally your points

Add up your points for items 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, and 91, and enter the total here _. The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that it is an absolute necessity for an adult to have love and approval from peers, family, and friends. Add up your points for items 2, 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62, 72, 82, and 92, and enter the total here _. The higher the total, the greater your agreement with the irrational idea that you must be unfailingly competent and...

Schedule of Recent Experience

Thomas Holmes, M.D., and his research associates at the University of Washington have found that people are more likely to develop illnesses or clinical symptoms after experiencing a period when they have had to adapt to many life events. Dr. Holmes and his associates have developed the Schedule of Recent Experience, which allows you to quantify how many changes you have experienced in the past year and consider how these stressful events may increase your vulnerability to illness. The purpose...

Relaxation Script

Put your hand over your abdomen just above the belt . Take a deep breath, way down into your belly. Pause. Let go and hear the air whoosh out through your lips. Pause. When you're ready, take another deep breath. You can feel your belly rise slowly as the air comes in. Let it out with a whooshing sound, like the wind, as you blow through your lips. Each breath leaves you more and more relaxed. Each breath purifies and relaxes your whole body and mind. Take...

A A

Accurately evaluate your worries Use worry exposure to overcome your worst fears Identify and change behavior that contributes to worry Worrying is a natural response to many life circumstances. Whether you're worried about your child's safety or you're concerned that you'll be passed up for a promotion, everybody has similar worries from time to time. However, if your worries become all consuming and you find yourself making choices and decisions based on fears rather than on logic or reason,...

Metaphorical Images

Lie down, close your eyes, and relax. Visualize an image for tension and then supplant it with an image for relaxation. The best images are those you make up yourself. But to get you started, images for tension might include the screech of chalk on a blackboard the scream of a siren in the night the confinement of a dark tunnel the pounding of a jackhammer These tension images during visualization can soften, expand, and fade, creating relaxation and harmony The color red can fade to pale blue....

Tactics for Coping with Stress

As a member of modern society, you have available to you a variety of methods to cope with the negative effects of stress. Doctors can treat your stress-related symptoms and diseases. Over-the-counter remedies can reduce your pain, help you sleep, keep you awake, enable you to relax, and counter your acid indigestion and nervous bowels. You can consume food, alcohol, and recreational drugs to help block feelings of discomfort. You have diversions such as TV, movies, hobbies, and sports. You can...

Thought Stopping

Eliminate useless reoccurring distressing thoughts Thought stopping is a fun, quick, and easy-to-learn technique that can help you overcome everyday, nagging worry and doubt. It can also help you reduce phobic thoughts. There are two kinds of thought stopping. First, there is traditional thought stopping, which utilizes the imperative command Stop to replace a negative thought. This form of thought stopping was first introduced by a man named Bain in 1928 in a little book called Thought...

Record of General Tension

Rate yourself on this 10-point scale before and after you do your relaxation exercise. the most uncomfortable you could be Your personal mind-body connection and the interactions between your thoughts, body, and social environment are an integral part of beginning to manage the stress in your life, as opposed to letting it manage you. This chapter will help you begin that process. Benson, H., and E. Stuart. 1993. The Wellness Book. New York Birch Lane Press. Borysenko, J. 1993. Minding the...

Autogenic Verbal Formulas for Normalizing the Body

My left arm is heavy. Both of my arms are heavy. My right leg is heavy. My left leg is heavy. Both of my legs are heavy. My arms and legs are heavy. My right arm is warm. My left arm is warm. Both of my arms are warm. My right leg is warm. Both of my legs are warm. My right arm is heavy and warm. Both of my arms are heavy and warm. Both of my legs are heavy and warm. My arms and legs are heavy and warm. It breathes me. My right arm is heavy and warm. My arms and legs are...

Other irrational ideas

You are helpless and have no control over what you experience or feel. This belief is at the heart of much depression and anxiety. The truth is we not only exercise considerable control over interpersonal situations, but also control how we interpret and emotionally respond to each life event. 12. People are fragile and should never be hurt. This irrational belief results in failure to openly communicate important feelings, and in self-sacrifice that gives up what is nourishing and...

Rapid Relaxation

Rapid relaxation can bring the time you need to relax down to thirty seconds. Being able to relax that quickly can mean real relief during stressful situations. It's a good idea to practice rapid relaxation many times a day as you move through different activities and states of mind. In rapid relaxation, you will pick a special relaxation cue. Choose something that you see regularly throughout the day, such as your watch or a certain clock or the picture you pass as you walk down the hall to...

How to Get the Most Out of This Workbook

This workbook is designed to teach you the most popular stress management and relaxation techniques and exercises used today. Consider it your guide to increasing your awareness of your personal reaction to stress and building your sense of control and mastery over the stressors in your life. We hope that this process will give you more pleasure and less frustration in your life. Read chapters 1 and 2 first. They are the foundation upon which all of the other chapters are built. After you have...