Here is a simple technique to teach you how to relax. You can read this imagery process and then focus on your own imagery, but it will be more effective if you have someone slowly read it to you, giving you time to imagine the different things I mention. Click here to download a free Stressbuster audio with me leading you through this easy 12-minute process.
Put the phone on the answering machine, or let your cell phone go to voice mail and turn off the ringer. Let people in your household know not to interrupt you for 12-15 minutes unless there is a true emergency. Loosen any tight or restrictive clothing or jewelry and let yourself get comfortable in either a sitting or reclining position. Let any irrelevant outside noises go to the background of your awareness as you concentrate on the suggestions I will offer you. Take a moment again to scan your body, and estimate how much tension you feel on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is no tension at all, and 10 is wired as tight as you can get.
Take a deep breath or two and let the out breath be a “letting go” kind of breath. Invite your body to feel relaxed like it’s made out of warm, wet noodles. When you’re ready, recall some place you’ve been in your life where you felt safe, relaxed, and peaceful. If you don’t have such a place, perhaps you’ve seen one in a movie or a magazine, or you can just imagine one right now.
Just let yourself begin to daydream that you are in a safe, beautiful, peaceful place…and let yourself notice what you imagine seeing in this safe, beautiful place… what colors and shapes, what things you see there. Don’t worry about how vividly you see in your mind’s eye, just notice what you imagine seeing and accept the way you imagine these things. In the same way, notice what you imagine hearing in that beautiful peaceful place, or is it very quiet? Just notice. Is there an aroma or a quality in the air that you notice? You may or may not and it doesn’t really matter … just notice what you notice in this special peaceful place. Can you tell what time or day or night it is? Can you tell the season of the year? What’s the temperature like?
Notice how it feels to be in this safe, beautiful, and peaceful place. Notice how your body feels, and how your face feels. Notice any sense of comfort or peacefulness or relaxation that you may feel there. Take some time to explore and find the spot where you feel most relaxed and at ease in this place, and just let yourself get comfortable there. Take a few minutes to just enjoy being there, with nothing else you need to do. If it feels good to you, imagine that you are soaking up the sense of peacefulness and calmness like a sponge; feeling more and more relaxed and at ease as you enjoy this place of calmness.
Take as long as you want, and when you are ready, let the images go, and gently bring your attention back to the outside world, but if you like, bring back any feeling of peacefulness or calmness that you may feel. When your attention is all the way back, gently stretch and open your eyes and look around, bringing back with you anything that seemed interesting or important, including any sense of calmness you may feel.
When you are ready, scan your body again, and see where you would rank your tension on a 0 to 10 scale. Most people find that they feel calmer, more relaxed, and more peaceful after doing this simple kind of imagery. If this is true for you, notice that you shifted into this state by simply focusing your imagination on pleasant things that you imagined seeing, hearing, feeling and perhaps smelling. Your brain sent messages that were safe and relaxing, and your body responded accordingly. If you had a good response to this imagery, you are a good candidate for using imagery to reduce or eliminate unnecessary worry and stress, or to use imagery to stimulate mind/body healing.