Relaxation is vastly underrated.
I regularly teach my clients how to relax for a whole host of reasons. In the past I have used relaxation to help remove stress, anxiety and negative emotions from a client’s life. It works to remove fears and phobias. I’ve helped them to be free from chronic pain using it. I’ve used it with clients to help with migraines, to bolster the immune system, with heart and breathing arrhythmias, and other medical conditions. Even to produce testable analgesia and anaesthesia in clients.
I even teach clients how to do so in order to allow them time for ‘diffuse thinking’ or rest time from studying, allowing their minds to make the connections to create the ‘neural hooks’ they need to recall their study.
Most importantly by learning to relax you can focus on exactly what you need to focus on, seeing the big picture, moving through life efficiently and positively.
I use a methodology based on physiology, meditation and self-hypnosis. My approach heavily utilises the teachings of consultant cardiologist Dr Steve Murray, and Dr Alan Watkins, professor of Neuroscience and Psychological Medicine. I also heavily rely on the works of the legendary Australian Psychiatrist Ainslie Meares, who carried out pioneering research into the use of relaxation for anxiety and pain relief rather than drugs.
In this blog post I will describe a sample methodology I use, pulling on all of the above. Other hypnotists will be able to take it further, and will recognise some elements of Dave Elman’s work in here too. Interestingly Ainslie Meares was utilising similar techniques to Dave Elman at the same time – an interesting parallel. Everyone though will find this methodology of benefit – please, give it a go, and notice the changes you can make in your life as a result.
Sample Relaxation Methodology
- Close your eyes and let your body relax.
- Tell yourself “I’m going to allow my body to easily, effortlessly relax completely now.”
- Lightly open and close them, increasing the feeling of relaxation each time. Allow your eyelids to relax more completely each time. Each time you close your eyes say to yourself “relax”. Relax the eyelids completely so much so that you just don’t want to open them.
- Take around 5 deep slow breaths. Every time you breathe out say the word “relax” to yourself, and allow yourself to relax more deeply every time you breathe out.
- Allow your breathing to return to being automatic, and automatically allow your body to relax more each time you breathe out.
- Say to yourself “starting right now, everything I hear, every word, every sound, inside or out will just help me relax more easily…everything I feel will just allow me to relax more easily…and nothing will disturb me in any way whatsoever as I relax more deeply…”
- Regularise your breathing. Don’t speed it up or slow it down, just breathe. Yet breathe equal distance in to equal distance out, equal time in to equal time out, like you’re breathing to a metronome.
- Breathe smoothly, smooth out your breath in and your breath out.
- Allow your breathing to come from the centre of the chest, and allow it to slowly lower with each breath.
- As you do this, take your focus to the heart area. Don’t do anything there, just take your focus there.
- Once regularised and from the centre of your chest or lower, every time you breathe out imagine your arms becoming heavier and sinking down, every time you breathe out.
- Every time you breathe out imagine your legs becoming heavier and sinking down, every time you breathe out.
- Every time you breathe out imagine your body becoming heavier and sinking down, every time you breathe out.
- Completely imagine yourself becoming heavier and sinking down, every time you breathe out.
- Now completely relax your eyelids. Relax every nerve, every muscle, and every fibre. Relax until they just don’t want to open, so that as long as you hold onto that relaxation you just won’t be able to open your eyes.
- Allow that feeling to completely relax the face, spreading out, completely relaxing the face now.
- Imagine that your body is totally relaxed. Imagine imagining everything you need to allow your body to totally relax now. Completely imagine it. Imagine it happening continuously so much that with every beat of your heart you just relax more deeply. Imagine it happening automatically so much that nothing you do say think or otherwise will stop you, you’ll just continue relaxing now.
- Now place your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and drift and dream.
(For hypnotists, at the end I will often use a ‘through the zero’ effect to stabilise the focused attention, and often use a ‘mind’s eye closer’ technique too for the same.)
Once you have practiced relaxing several times it will get easier and easier, and you’ll get more relaxed faster and more efficiently each time. After practicing a few times do it in a hard chair until you can relax equally well in that chair. Then lay on a hard floor and relax. Then practice relaxing on the hard floor with a tennis ball or similar object under you, so you can get used to relaxing despite an ‘obstruction’. Then relax standing up. Then relax standing up and lightly open your eyes. Then practice with your eyes open. Then relax and very gently move. Continue increasing until you can move through life in that relaxed state.
This is just a quick blog post. The more geeky amongst my readers have a treasure trove of learning here – working out exactly why the methodology works, what is happening and when, and will be able to adapt the processes to themselves, and if appropriately their clients.
Learning to relax is important in today’s fast-paced life. I would urge you to practice relaxation – your life will be better as a result. After all, it seems to serve my huskies well!