Here’s a visualization I use in relaxation meditation exercises:
Inhale … as the ocean rushes out to sea…
Exhale … as the water topples over, creating a wave…
See the regular rise … and fall … of the ocean’s water.
This beautiful rhythm reminds me of the breath of Life.
Can you feel it?
Self Help TidBits
Five-Finger Relaxation Technique
This technique is great for lessening anxiety and building confidence. It only takes a few minutes to learn, and is actually very powerful.
To begin, get in a relaxed position, close your eyes, breathe slowly and deeply.
- Inhale, and as you exhale, touch your thumb to your index finger. Recall a time when your body felt a healthy fatigue, like how you felt sinking into a chair after a day of hiking, or just stepping out of a hot tub. Breathe deeply and try to feel the heaviness of your muscles.
- Next, touch your thumb to your middle finger and think of a time when you had a loving experience – when you felt a strong sense of closeness or connection with another, like a long embrace. Feel the sensations of warmth and love moving through you.
- Now, touch your thumb to your ring finger and recall the nicest compliment you ever received. Listen. Take it in. You might want to imagine thanking this person… Accepting the compliment demonstrates your high regard for this person.
- Finally, touch your thumb to your little finger. As you do, reflect on the most beautiful place you have ever been. Let yourself soak in the environment – the colors, light, breeze, sounds, texture and smells. Allow yourself to stay in this place for a while.
Now gently bring yourself back to where you are. Remind yourself that you can awaken this experience any time throughout your day by touching each finger, saying:
More TidBits – Therapy self-help
Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise (PMR)
By reducing physical tension in our bodies, we can diminish anxiety, experience more calm and focus, and improve our health.
Most people tend to hold their tension in specific muscle groups – the stomach, jaw, or neck and shoulders, but you may be different.
Believe it or not, most people don’t know how to recognize muscle tension, let alone how to command them to relax! Learning the difference between tension and relaxation will help.
Progressive muscle relaxation or PMR works through each of the muscle groups by first tightening the muscle group, holding it, and then releasing. This way, you learn how to take control of the muscle and recognize the tension. And you learn what it feels like when it’s not.
Actively engaging in progressive muscle relaxation exercises effectively loosens and relaxes the muscles. As with most things, the more you practice them the more impact they will have for you.
Below is the basic script for PMR. Follow each of the steps below for the different muscle groups. As we move through each body part, you will be using the same pattern of tensing and relaxing: When tensing a body part, hold the tension for about 10 seconds. Then let the tension go and wait for another 10 seconds before you repeat. You may notice that you tend to breathe in as you tense and breathe out as you relax. This is the natural rhythm of the body and it is easiest if you keep following this. Breathe in as you tense, and breathe out as you relax.
You may want to make a recording of this – talking yourself through each muscle group so you can follow it without having to keep referring to the script. You can also find samples on YouTube. Here is one: PMR by InnerHealthStudio.com