ACS Distance Education UK
During relaxation exercises the nervous system is also given the opportunity to relax. A simple technique is as follows. Sit in a comfortable chair or in a comfortable position on the floor. Next, say to yourself that you are going to relax completely. Begin with your scalp and work, bit by bit, down to your toes. As you imagine each part of your body imagine it relaxing completely. Remain in the relaxed state for several minutes. You will be amazed at how relaxed you can make yourself feel. Having done this several times you will be able to distinguish between relaxed and tense states. Try incorporating it as part of a daily routine. Being able to sense when you are becoming tense is a very useful skill, giving you the opportunity to stop unproductive stressed reactions earlier, avoiding headaches, muscle aches and the other side-effects of high stress. If you find it difficult to take your mind off stresses and tensions, try saying the words ‘relax’ or ‘sleep’, or even ‘relax and sleep’ over and over to prevent other thoughts from entering your mind.
Another method is to concentrate on the feelings and sensations that you have. Other methods might focus your attention on a particular body part such as the navel, or focusing on a significant object or person. Other relaxation techniques involve practicing slow, deep breathing. You can try chanting a mantra at the same time. In India the most popular of these is om, which refers to God. The idea is to take a deep breath and then exhale and utter om at the same time. This is repeated for several minutes and is likened to an internal massage.
A final method is differential relaxation. A simple process where you learn to relax different muscles whilst others are being used. By analyzing which muscles you could relax during everyday activities such as walking, you can reduce your tension and anxiety levels, leaving you with a lot more energy at the end of the day.