There are many different techniques of relaxation, most of which will be featured later, but as a first step, try to control your body and the physical sensations you experience when you are going about every day activities: the stretch in your back when bending to make a bed, the way you stand when you sweep the floor, the strength in your buttocks as you pick up child, the stretch in your arms as you put something on a high shelf, the feel of your body as you walk upstairs.
Progressive relaxation technique is very easy to learn. It involves becoming aware of each part of your body in turn and focusing on the feelings of tension, and then consciously releasing them to attain a state of complete relaxation. Use it to help you drop off on those nights when you are lying in bed wide awake with thoughts buzzing around your head.
- Lie still and breathe slowly and quietly for a few moments.
- Clench your toes as tightly as you can for a few seconds and then gradually release them. As you do so, mentally say ‘relax’ to yourself.
- Move up to your knees and tighten them as hard as you can, hold, then let go, again repeating ‘relax’.
- Now tighten your thighs. Make them as hard as you can, then release and ‘relax’.
- Now move on to your buttocks. Clench them together as tightly as you can, hold and ‘relax’.
- Pull in your abdomen and tighten it, hold and ‘relax’.
- Pull your shoulders up to your ears, hold them tightly, and then release again, mentally saying ‘relax’.
- Clench your fists and tighten your arms and elbows so they are locked and rigit, hold and then release and ‘relax’.
- Squeeze your facial muscles as tightly as you can, hold, and then ‘relax’. Feel your mouth become soft, and part your lips slightly. Feel your cheeks, forehead, your scalp relax. Again mentally say ‘relax’.
- Remain relaxed and breathe slowly and easily.