Relaxing body and mind techniques that work!
I was almost asleep on my bed. You know, that nice place when you are perfectly relaxed and you can feel your mind and body floating together. No thoughts, no feelings…just drifting into a deep peace. I had been trying some of the free relaxation techniques;Native American Flute music with imagery of horses running.
Three taps…taps? Three more taps and I opened my eyes and turned my head toward the door. My daughter was standing there with a typical 15-year olds superior look, “Are you sleeping?”
“No, just doing some research.”
“Oh,” she said before turning and walking downstairs.
I waited. I got comfortable. I took a long slow breath in… I heard her come back upstairs. “Now,” I thought “the rest of the story…”
What is relaxation? The act or the state of being relaxed, a relaxing activity or pastime, and the allowing muscles to loosen. OK, are you ready to learn how to relax your mind and body with these free relaxation techniques?
Simply take long, slow, deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose, filling your lungs completely, out through your mouth, completely emptying your lungs. Focus just on the breaths, allow thoughts to just clear as you breathe. If thoughts intrude, allow them to just pass without giving them any consideration. Let thoughts come, let them go. Thoughts are just that, they are thoughts. Breathing works as a meditation: your attention gets diverted to your breathing process.
Deep Breathing Exercise
- Sit up straight and close your eyes.
- Put a hand on your belly.
- Slowly inhale through your nose and feel the breath start to fill your abdomen.
- Count to 5, then reverse the process as you exhale slowly through your mouth.
- Repeat these steps for 5 to 10 minutes.
Four-Square Breathing Exercise
- Breathe in slowly to a count of four.
- Hold the breath for a count of four.
- Exhale slowly through pursed lips to a count of four.
- Rest for a count of four (without taking any breaths).
- Take two normal breaths.
- Start over again with number one.
I also have some guided breathing exercises, if you are unfamiliar with this technique.
This blends breath focus with muscle relaxation. After settling into a breathing pattern, bring your focus to your head of feet and release any tension you feel there. Slowly move to the next section, staying focused on breath and body. Unwanted thoughts are allowed to just pass, keep the focus,
Get grounded. Use the body scan to notice how your feet feel as they touch the floor, how your butt feels on the seat of your chair Notice the feel of your arms on the arms of the chair or in your lap. Notice your sensations, your feelings.
Progressive muscle relaxation
- Sit in a comfortable position.
- Take a few minutes to relax by practicing deep breathing.
- Once relaxed, shift your attention to your right foot.
- Take a few seconds to focus on the way it feels.
- Slowly tense the muscles in your right foot, squeezing as tightly as you can.
- Hold for a count of 10, then relax your right foot.
- Stay in this relaxed position for 30 seconds, breathing deeply and slowly.
- Shift your attention to your left foot. Follow the same sequence of muscle tension and release.
- Continue the sequence as you move slowly to the muscles in the legs, buttocks, abdomen, arms, back, neck and face.
I also have some guided body scan exercises, if you are unfamiliar with this technique.
For this technique, use your mind to help you relax and focus on soothing scenes, places, or experiences. Guided imagery may also help you reinforce a positive vision of yourself, You may wish to use pictures or videos to focus on. Just make sure to choose imagery you find soothing and that has personal significance.
Guided visualization can be done in many ways.
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
- Take a few slow, deep breaths, calming your mind and body.
- Imagine yourself in a location.
- Focus on the different sights, smells and sensations.
- Continue until relaxed.
- Slowly return your mind to the present world.
- Open your eyes.
I also have some guided imagery exercises, if you are unfamiliar with this technique.
Music Therapy Heals the Body, Mind, and Soul! From the earliest days of civilization, music has been used to heal the body and soul, and to express what is difficult to express in words. Listening to music has a tremendously relaxing effect on the
mind and body. Slow and soothing music especially plays a key role in
decreasing stress levels in the body. Music captures your attention and acts as a
distraction to help you explore your emotions. Certain music is wonderful for meditation as it initiates the relaxation response.
Relaxation or meditation music is readily available on YouTube, Sound Cloud or a host of other free sites on the web. If you are unsure what music you can use, I have a selection of Alternative, Binaural beats, Native American Flute, and Meditation music.
Sometimes all we need is to give ourselves a quick message. If your hands and arms are tensed, try these before using the techniques above. Both help yo sooth your body and your mind and act to bring focus back to you.
1. Pressure Point Hand Massage
Simply use the thumb of one hand and press around the palm
of the other hand.
2. Ground Yourself With a Palm Push
By pushing your palms together and holding for 5 to 10
seconds, you give your body a sense of where you are.
My daughter informed me that she, her brother and Mom were going into town to see a movie. Because the horses were out, I was to go outside and make sure they did not get on the road, while I was doing my “research”. I felt that the research was said a bit condescending but I thought it was in my best interest to let it pass.
I took my laptop with me when I went outside and chose a more upbeat music. The next several hours were very peaceful, except for when one of the Muscovy drakes decided he wanted to be a horse.
The relaxation techniques work. They may require some practice to get the full benefit and for you to get comfortable practicing. And, practicing two or more techniques at the same time increases relaxation.
Do you take time during your work day to relax? Do you have any information you would like to share? If you have any questions or suggestions on other relaxation types or music, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!
Walking the Path of Peace,