At a time when stress and anxiety run high for so many, I thought it would be helpful to share my top four relaxation techniques. These techniques are not necessarily new or original but I have put my own spin on them based on feedback I have received from clients. In my opinion, the order you learn these in may influence their efficacy. My strong suggestion is to begin with the Deep Breathing Technique, it is the foundation for Progressive Relaxation and the type of breathing I refer to anytime I suggest to taking a “deep breath” (see our previous post to learn the Deep Breathing Technique!)
The Perfect Moment In Time
Sometimes we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed or scared about the obligations we have. A time like this is when anxiety and panic can take over if we let it. This relaxation technique will help you relax, then you can refocus on what needs to be done.
Think of a time when everything seemed OK. It doesn’t have to be perfect, OK will do. It could be a time when you were a child or it could be a time earlier today.
Now, if we were going to take a picture of that time…
What do you see?
What do you hear?
What do you smell?
What do you taste?
How does your skin feel?
The goal of this exercise is to take us out of the feeling of being stressed and bring us into the pleasant and hopefully familiar feeling of being relaxed.
Take your time to recall all of the senses of that moment in time. In your mind you begin to see, hear, smell, taste and feel just as you did at that time. If you do not have a memory of a time where everything seemed OK, you can make up a time. Or, you can borrow this one:
I was six years old. I was standing in my grandparent’s front yard. They lived on a farm. I see two huge Cottonwood trees blowing in the breeze, fruit trees, the road, the gravel drive way, the two concrete life-sized deer near the “dinner bell” by their white house, green grass and lots of green fields on every side.
I hear the Cottonwood leaves rustling in the wind. I smell the grass and onions and tomatoes in the field. I taste the grittiness of the field dirt as it is picked up by the wind. My skin is warm, bathed in sunlight and warm breezes!
Use this technique as a quick escape from the pressures of the day. It takes about 45 seconds to complete. You can find 45 seconds to relax. Clients have told me they have used this technique at work throughout the day. You can enjoy the moment from anywhere!
Louella DeVries, LCPC
President, Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.