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Easy Relaxation Skill

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Step One:  Find a comfortable place to sit or recline.

Unlike Mr. Froggy...uncross your legs.


Step Two:  Breathe into your tummy.  Imagine the air going right past your chest and into your lower abdomen, poking it out.  Put your hand on your tummy below your waist and feel or watch it rise as you breathe in.  As you let the air out, your hand falls back down.  Focus on the breath as it comes in through your feels cool.  Focus on the breath as it leaves your feel warm.  If you pay attention to the temperature change on every breath, you cannot think at the same time!


Step Three:  Then, imagine you are in a convertible, sitting at a RR crossing out in the country.  The top is down, the sun is warming you, you are relaxed and comfortable, grateful for a break in the long drive of life.



Step Four:  As worrisome thoughts come along, imagine they are on a passing train.  See them painted on the outside of freight cars like grafitti.  Or imagine them sitting as passengers on board. Watch as they go on by.  Do not take them off the train and into your mind.  Don't invite them into your car.  But, don't try to get rid of them either.  Just let them be (this is the Beatles cure--Let It Be).


Step Five:  Allow the train, with the troublesome thoughts on board, to disappear into the mountains. 


Step Six:  Repeat as often as necessary.  Troublesome thought may come along every few seconds.  That is perfectly okay.  Just leave them on the train and go back to your breathing.  The goal is not to get rid of the thoughts but to stop paying attention to them.  We learn that we can let thoughts, or pains, or troubles just BE.  We can always take ourselves back to our breath. 

You can also create your own audio tape by using the script below. 

Home Practice Relaxation Script

by Karen V. Stephen, Ph.D. 
Speak very slowly into your recording device.  Pause after each phrase and sentence.  Repeat the Relaxation Phrases toward the end two to three times each.  The entire recording will be about 20 minutes long when recorded correctly.   

 I will begin my relaxation practice by making myself very comfortable, allowing myself to sink back into the chair or sofa I am sitting on, my head and arms and legs comfortably supported.  I am ready now to focus on a spot on the wall or ceiling, taking five slow and deliberate blinks to tire my eyes.  One…two…three…four…five.  Now, at any time I can allow my eyelids to drop over my eyes and get ready to relax as I always do before I hear the suggestions that will help me from now on.
Ready to concentrate on my breathing now.  I don’t need to change it.  I just tune in and listen to my breathing.  My lungs are breathing at a very regular rate.  Breathing in…and breathing out.  Just listening to my breathing and getting more and more comfortable.  Imagining the air flowing in through my nose, past my chest, and down into my tummy.  Imagining my lower abdomen is a big balloon that I am filling with air.  Breathing into my tummy on each breath.  My chest and shoulders are quiet and still.  My tummy rises as I fill it with air.  My tummy falls back down as I let the air out.   

Paying attention now to the air flowing in and out of my nose.  Noticing the change as I breathe in and out.  Feeling the air as it flows in through my nostrils.  Feeling how cool the air feels.  Letting the air out in a relaxed puff.  Feeling the warmth of the air as I let it go.  Cool coming in.  Warm going out.  Paying attention only to the flow of air in and out of my nose.  Paying attention to each breath…cool coming in, down to my tummy, and warm as I let the air out.  Feeling very comfortable, very relaxed.  Perhaps thinking the word “cool” as I breathe in, the word “warm” and I let the breath out.  Beginning to feel very good. 

Ready now to turn my attention to the soles of my feet and the tips of my toes.  Feeling that part of me getting limp and relaxed, heavy against its supports.  A loose and relaxed feeling.  That wave, that spread of relaxation relaxing both feet to my ankles.  It’s as if they were very loose, they would even flap in the breeze.  Feeling the calf muscles of both legs becoming very loose and relaxed, all the tension leaving them.  The larger muscles of my thighs relaxing.  Just letting go.  Just letting all those muscles go.  Letting them go loose and limp and relaxed.  Feeling free at any time to make any movements I want to make to get even more comfortable.  Legs feeling very loose, limp, and a little bit heavy, and very relaxed. 

Ready now to allow that wave of relaxation to spread upward through my entire trunk, up from my hips to my shoulders.  Picturing my body just complying to the shape that I am sitting on.  Feeling sort of like a comma shape.  The small of my back and my shoulders just sinking.  Letting loose.  Letting all of those muscles go.  Each time I breathe out, letting some more of the tension go.  Feeling very comfortable, very loose, and very, very relaxed.  Just like I’m drifting.  Just like I don’t care.  Feeling very, very good. 

Ready now on the next breath out to let the tension in my neck and shoulders go.  Ready…let it go.  Letting the tension go in my neck and shoulders.  Letting my neck and shoulders just sink loose against their supports.  I tend to store a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck.  It feels very good to let it go.  Feeling very good to let that tension go. 

Ready to let the tension go from my arms, from my shoulders down to the tips of my fingers.  Letting that wash of relaxation just spread down slowly from my shoulders to the tip of each finger.  Feeling very loose and relaxed.  Arms feeling very heavy, limp as a rag doll.  If someone were to lift my arm now, my hand would flop back down like a rag doll.  Very, very loose.  Very relaxed. 

I may begin to feel now, gradually, sensations in my fingers and hands.  Perhaps a tingling numbness, beginning on the side of my little finger, spreading slowly to my entire hand.  Feeling warm and tingly.  Perhaps just a feeling of heaviness or immobility.  Whatever sensations are there, I pay attention to them.  Focusing in on the sensations.  Knowing that I can work in this special way of relaxation in the days and the weeks and the months to come.  Feeling very good now.  Ready to hear the suggestions that will help me from now on.  Feeling very relaxed. 

Ready to let that wave of relaxation wash even further, upward from my chin, spreading in a fan shape, unfolding slowly across my face and scalp.  Letting the muscles around my mouth go loose.  Letting those muscles go.  Perhaps letting my jaw drop a bit.  Letting my teeth separate, my tongue and throat relax.  Letting the muscles around my eyes and across my cheeks go loose and limp and relaxed.  Feeling even my forehead and my scalp, even around my ears, feeling those muscles let go.  Feeling them get loose and relaxed.  Allowing any rolling movement of the head.  Allowing any slackening of the jaw, any movement resulting from relaxation.   

Feeling very good now.  Very relaxed from the tips of my toes, up through my legs, my trunk, down my arms to the tips of my fingers, shoulders and neck, face, scalp, all entirely relaxed.  Every muscle in my body wonderfully relaxed. 

Ready now to move even deeper into relaxation.  Mentally alert, listening to my voice in a loose and floating way.  Relaxed.  Ready to imagine myself at the top of a very slowly moving, almost horizontal escalator which moves very, very slowly.  It will move as slowly as I count, and after I step onto the escalator, I will count down and on each count, I will find myself going deeper and deeper into relaxation. 

Ready now to step onto the slowly moving, almost horizontal escalator, holding on to each slowly moving handrail.  Ready, ten, nine, slowly down, eight, moving gradually down, it’s a long way down, seven, down and down, six, five, deeper and deeper, four, down and down to deep relaxation, three, two, and one.  Stepping off now into a very comfortable arm chair.  Sinking into the armchair, deeply relaxed.  Ready now to hear the suggestions and ideas that will help me in the days and the weeks and the months to come.

I am beginning to realize that I have the potential to change my behavior.  I have all the ability and all the desire necessary to change my attitudes and my daily habit.  As I hear each suggestion, I will relax even deeper.  I am mentally alert but in a loose and floating way.  As I hear my suggestions, I remain completely passive, open to the possibility of change.  Here are my suggestions:

 My legs are heavy.
My feet are warm.
My stomach is warm.My lungs are breathing on their own.
My shoulders are heavy.
My arms are limp.
My hands are tingly and warm.
My jaw in hanging loose.
My eyelids are heavy.
My forehead is smooth and cool.
My find is calm and quiet.
My whole body is quiet, comfortable and relaxed. 

I will remember and use my suggestions in the days and the weeks and the months to come.  As I live each day, I will use my suggestions to become a healthier and happier person. 

Ready now to step out of the armchair and back on the escalator.  As I count back to ten, I will become more and more alert.  One, two, three, higher and higher, four, five six, up and up to a fully alert state, seven, eight, my body feels wonderful and comfortable all over, nine, I feel sensations returning to my arms and legs, ten, I am aware of my surroundings.  As I step off the escalator, I open my eyes.  Taking a deep breath and a big stretch, I am back at a comfortable level of total alertness.  I feel wonderful and comfortable all over.