Deep breathing. Close your eyes. 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 another deep breath down into your belly. Feel your belly push out. As you relax, the air goes gently out your lips. Imagine with your next deep breath that clean, pure, white air is coming in through the soles of your feet. See it spread throughout your whole body, collecting the debris of tension and stress. The air gets darker as it takes the stress and tension from your body. Imagine the dark air being expelled through your lips, leaving your whole body clean and fresh and relaxed. Now take a deep purifying breath and feel it cleaning your body of stress and tension. See the tension leaving your body with the breath. Relax and enjoy the feeling of peace and calm that has spread throughout your body with each deep breath. Imagine one more breath coming in through the soles of your feet, pure and white. It is removing the last bit of tension from your body. As you exhale you feel your body clean and relaxed, deeply relaxed.
Counting your breath. Now let your breathing slow down and become automatic. Each breath continues to relax you. You are breathing quietly, peacefully. You're breathing in an easy and natural way. Each time you exhale, say silently to yourself, "one." Continue to breathe in and out, saying "one" each time you exhale. Whenever thoughts or perceptions take your attention away from your breathing, let go of them and return to saying "one." Breathe naturally, calmly, saying "one" as you exhale. [Leave one to two blank minutes on the tape to really enjoy this exercise.]
Active progressive relaxation. Now, while keeping the rest of your body relaxed, clench your right fist, tighter and tighter. [Pause five seconds.] Now relax. Notice the contrast between a tight muscle and a loose one. Notice a pleasant sort of burning that occurs when the muscle relaxes. Now try to relax your arm even more. Let the chair hold your arm up as you let go of the last bit of muscular tension. Now tighten your left fist, tighter and tighter. [Pause five seconds.] Relax and enjoy the feeling of looseness in your left arm. Really give yourself a chance to feel a difference between tension and relaxation. [Pause.]
Now bend your elbows and tense your biceps. Tense them as much as you can and observe the feeling of tautness. [Pause five seconds.] Relax, straighten out your arms. Let the relaxation develop and feel the difference. [Pause.]
Now turn your attention to your head and wrinkle up your forehead as tight as you can. [Pause five seconds.] Now relax and smooth it out. Let yourself imagine your entire forehead and scalp becoming smooth and relaxed. [Pause.] Now frown and notice the strain spreading throughout your forehead. Feel the tension and the tightness. [Pause.] Now let go, allow your brow to become smooth again. Notice the difference between tension and relaxation in your forehead. [Pause.] Now clench your jaw, bite hard, and notice the tension throughout your jaw. [Pause five seconds.] Relax your jaw. When the jaw is relaxed, your lips will begin to part. Really feel and appreciate the contrast between tension and relaxation in your jaw. Notice how it feels to relax your lips and tongue.
Now shrug your shoulders. Keep the tension as you hunch your head down between your shoulders. [Pause five seconds.] Relax. Drop your shoulders and feel the relaxation spreading through your neck, throat, and shoulders. Pure relaxation, deepe-and deeper. Feel how loose and easy your neck feels balanced on your shoulders.
Give your entire body a chance to relax. Feel the comfort and the heaviness. Take a deep breath and let it fill your abdomen. [Pause.] Now exhale, letting the air out with a whooshing sound. Continue relaxing, letting your breath come freely and gently. Now, tighten your stomach and hold. Note the tension. [Pause five seconds.] Relax. Place your hand on your stomach. Breathe deeply into your belly, pushing your hand up. Hold. [Pause.] Relax. Feel the contrast with the tension as the air rushes out.
Now concentrate on your back. Arch it very slightly, without straining. Focus on the tension in your lower back. Feel the tension. [Pause.] Relax. Imagine loosening the lower back and pelvic muscles, feel yourself sinking deeper into the chair or bed. Focus on letting go of all the tension in the muscles of your lower back and pelvis and abdomen. Feel yourself sinking heavier and heavier into the chair or bed as your abdomen and back relax more and more deeply. [Pause.]
Now tighten your buttocks and thighs. Hold the tension and notice how it feels. [Pause five seconds.] Relax and notice the contrast between tension and looseness. Really experience what it feels like to relax your buttocks and thighs. [Pause.] Now curl your toes downward, making your calves tense. Study the tension. [Pause five seconds.] Relax. Feel and enjoy the relaxation. [Pause.] Now bend your toes toward your face, creating tension in your shins. [Pause five seconds.] Relax again, enjoying the feeling of peace and heaviness that spreads everywhere in your legs.
Feel the heaviness in your body as the relaxation deepens. Feel yourself heavier and heavier, more and more deeply relaxed. More and more heavy, peaceful and calm.
Passive progressive relaxation. Now you can scan your body for any last bit of tension. Let your arms become heavy and relaxed. Heavier and heavier, more and more deeply relaxed. Your arms are heavy, heavy, letting go of the last bit of muscle tension. More and more deeply relaxed. Letting go, letting go of all muscle tension.
Now your face too can relax. Your forehead becomes smooth as silk, smooth and relaxed, letting go of all the tension and the worry. Smooth and relaxed. Your cheeks become smooth and relaxed, completely free of tension. Your cheeks and forehead are smooth and relaxed. And your jaw too lets go of the last bit of tension. Your jaw hangs loose and relaxed, loose and relaxed. Your tongue and lips are relaxed. And as your jaw becomes completely loose and relaxed, your lips begin to part, very slightly. They begin to part as you let go of the last bit of muscle tension. Your jaw is loose and relaxed.
Your neck and shoulders can now let go. Your shoulders droop and relax, droop and relax. Your neck is loose and easy. Your neck and shoulders are relaxed, you feel safe and calm. Your shoulders droop and you let go of the last bit of muscle tension.
Now you can take another deep breath, way down into your belly. Your belly pushes up as you inhale. [Pause.] Let go now, making the whooshing noise with your lips. Feel the relaxation spread throughout your abdomen and chest and back. Take another deep breath, and as you do feel the air relax your chest and abdomen and back. Exhale with a whooshing noise, and feel the last bit of muscular tension leave your lower body. [Pause.]
Now focus on your legs. Let them become heavier and heavier, more and more deeply relaxed. Heavier and heavier, letting go of the last bit of muscular tension. Letting go, letting go of tension, more and more deeply relaxed as your legs become heavier and heavier. You can imagine your legs as lead pipes, so heavy and relaxed.
Now you feel a relaxation throughout your entire body. Every cell is relaxed, calm, and quiet. Your legs and arms are heavy and relaxed, your face is smooth and relaxed, your jaw hangs loosely, loosely. Your neck and shoulders are relaxed, your shoulders droop and relax. Take another deep breath. [Pause.] As you do, your entire body will be filled with peace, calm, and relaxation.
Special place. Now imagine a place where you feel peaceful, calm, and relaxed ... a place where you are secure and safe. See whether it is outdoors or indoors, whether it is a place from your past or your present or a place you've never really seen. This is your special place, a retreat and a haven. You're going there now. You can see the shapes and colors of your special place. You see every detail like a picture. [Pause.] Now you can begin to hear the sounds of your special place ... see and hear. [Pause.] Now you are able to feel your special place. You can feel it against your skin. You feel bathed in peace and a deep sense of contentment in your special place. Take a deep breath as you let the peace and tranquility of your special place spread throughout your entire body. Enjoy your place for a while. Let it nourish and relax you. [Pause one to two minutes.]
Autogenics theme. Take a deep breath, way down into your belly. As you breathe in, say the word "warm" to yourself. And as you breathe out, say the word "heavy." [Pause.] Take another deep breath and think to yourself, "warm." [Pause.] Let it go and think, "heavy." Now breathe deeply, at your own pace, thinking "warm" on the inhale and "heavy" on the exhale. Feel the warmth and heaviness in your arms and legs. With each breath let the feeling spread throughout your entire body, relaxing every muscle as you feel more and more heavy, warm, and relaxed. [Pause ninety seconds.]
Coping imagery. Notice the feeling of peace and relaxation. Imagine carrying this feeling into your everyday life. See yourself confident, relaxed, talking calmly. See yourself smiling with friends, co-workers, family. Your manner is easy as you state your needs and concerns. You see yourself standing comfortably and calmly with your boss, with people you barely know, with strangers. You see yourself smiling and enjoying the conversation. You are able to speak what is in your mind. You say what you feel and think clearly, in such a way that you are appreciated and understood. Your posture is relaxed yet straight. You feel strong and capable.
Affirmation. Now is the time to remember your affirmation. Say it to yourself slowly while focusing on any accompanying imagery. Give yourself time to let your affirmation really sink in, repeating as often as feels appropriate. [Pause twenty seconds.]
Anchoring. Now feel the relaxation in every part of your body. Notice the feeling of heaviness and peace in your arms and your legs. Feel the looseness in your jaw, the relaxation in your neck and shoulders. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale the last bit of tension will leave your body. [Pause.] Experience the feeling of being completely at rest.
Now, while staying very aware of what relaxation feels like in your body, place your right hand over your left wrist. Grasp your wrist gently, but firmly. Whenever you hold your wrist in this way it will be your cue to relax. Any time you hold your left wrist with your right hand you will recover the deep feelings of relaxation you have right now.
Take a deep breath. Feel it cleansing and refreshing your body. Feel the healing energy of relaxation flowing through your arms and throughout your body. When you link your hand and wrist, it completes a circuit so the healing energy flows freely and reaches every part of your body. From now on, whenever you wish to relax, you will hold your left xvrist with your right hand.
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