Relaxation Techniques

One of the best ways to relax your mind and lower your stress levels is to relax your body. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is known as the "bottom up" approach (body to mind). Try practising this exercise and you will be able to use it with ease when needed. You can have someone read it slowly to you with pauses i.e. ‘…’, and after some practice, do it on your own.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Find yourself a comfortable place to lie down (you may like a cushion for under your head, or the underside of your knees). Allow your body to melt into the ground. Feel your whole body connect with the ground and feel it getting heavier as it relaxes until it is floppy.

Bring your mind’s attention to your feet…

  • Squeeze your toes as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your legs and knees as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your bottom as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your tummy and chest as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your arms, hands and fingers as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Pull your shoulders up to your ears as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your neck and face as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Squeeze your whole body as tight as you can, squeeze… and release…
  • Allow your whole body to get more relaxed… and more relaxed…
  • Let your body melt into the ground and enjoy how it feels (you can lie in silence for a while, or play some soothing music).
  • Still listening to my voice… and keeping your eyes closed…. take a deep breath… breathing down into your toes, legs, tummy, back, arms and face… and have a little wriggle.
  • Remember are in the room lying on the ground...
  • Gently open your eyes when you are ready…
  • You may wish to gently stretch a little… and when you are ready you may slowly get up…

NOTE: If you are unable to tighten and squeeze parts of your body or it causes discomfort, then simply imagine them as being relaxed and release any tensions. If you cannot lie down then sit or move into any comfortable position.

It may help to record the above technique with your own voice in a slow, calm, quiet manner so you can listen while you relax. Play soothing, quiet music in the background or purchase a relaxation CD to play to help you focus on yourself.

If you find you are having difficulty relaxing without help, you may find it helpful to visit: www.smilingmind.com.au for free guided meditation and relaxation sessionsmiling minds. All session are available as an IPhone app and offer a range of relaxation sessions from a quick 5 minutes up to 45 minute sessions.