How Deep Relaxation Can Transform Your Life

There is a zone of relaxation where the mind is at its most powerful, intuitive and creative. This is the ‘Alpha State’, where the two halves of the brain are in balance. Being able to reach this restful, deeply relaxed state is a life enhancing skill, because the mind works best when you’re cool and calm. And it’s easily learned.

Deep relaxation is a state of calmness which allows the mind to idle and drift. It is a profound state of calmness in which all physical and mental tension is released.

Regular deep relaxation brings about a state of enhanced harmony in your daily life. Benefits include:

Greater peace of mind and mental calm

Improved health, greater vitality

More economical and productive use of energy

Protection against stress and stress related disease

Enhanced intuitive and creative abilities

More rapid healing and pain relief

Improved digestion and lower blood pressure

More refreshing and satisfying sleep

Better concentration

Improved ability to handle important occasions

With daily practice, deep relaxation also improves relationships. It’s easier to get on with others when you are relaxed and it’s easier to get on with yourself too). It also enhances self-awareness and self-esteem.

Young children have no problem relaxing, but it seems that most of us lose this ability as we mature. We become more tense, and tension may disrupt our social and working lives, sexual activity, digestion, sleep and brain-body coordination. It can also result in a variety of fears and phobias.

Deep relaxation can help relieve all these problems. Many people with chronic health problems benefit enormously. For instance, Alain suffered from severe stomach cramps and a nauseous feeling for years. Doctors had no idea what was causing it, but within two weeks of learning and practising deep relaxation twice-daily the pains were much reduced, and after six weeks, they’d gone altogether.

Calm

Practical Ways To Relax

Try this:

Sit up straight in a chair with your back and neck supported. Place both feet on the floor, legs uncrossed, hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it out slowly.

Take another deep breath. Hold it for a few moments, then slowly exhale. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Once more, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and slowly let it out. Relax.

Now simply sit in silence, breathing slowly, for five minutes without moving any part of your body. Concentrate on being quiet, still, peaceful and relaxed. Then open your eyes.

Always start by finding a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Don’t attempt it if you  need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you want to have music quietly in the background choose something slow and calming, such as gentle classical music or specially composed relaxation music. You’ll find it seems much louder once you’re relaxed.

A relaxation session comprises four stages – induction, deepening, autosuggestion/imagery, and termination. Don’t rush your relaxation sessions, and don’t worry about whether you are succeeding or not; this is counter-productive.

Induction

Start by picking a spot on a wall or ceiling and focusing your gaze on it. When your eyes start to tire, count five deep breaths backwards. When you get to one, your eyes will be closed.

Next, focus on your breathing: allow yourself to relax a little more on each out-breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.

Then select one of the following:

  • Sigh breath: take a very deep breath. Release it suddenly, sounding a prolonged ‘aaah’ as you do so. Allow a wave of relaxation to sweep down your body. This is excellent for relaxing very quickly.
  • Three deep breaths: take a very deep breath. Fill your chest and lungs completely (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable). Hold for a count of four, then slowly release. Do this three times. Think the word ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ as you exhale. Increase the count to six, eight or ten as you become more practised.
  • Imagine a cloud of peace and calmness filling your body as you breathe in. When you breathe out, imagine it taking with it all stress and tension. If you like, imagine the cloud having a soothing colour of your choice.

Deepening the relaxation

Next, take your attention to different parts of the body/groups of muscles in turn and consciously relax them. (This is called ‘progressive’ relaxation.)

Relax your toes and feet

Relax your calves and ankles

Relax your knees and thighs

Relax your buttocks

Relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus

Relax your back and spine

Relax your chest

Relax your neck and shoulders

Relax your upper arms

Relax your lower arms and wrists

Relax your hands and fingers

Relax your eyes and face

Now try one or two of the following techniques. Everyone has their own style of relaxation, so choose those which work best for you:

  • Rag doll: Imagine your body as a rag doll, limp and floppy, muscles soft, loose and without tension.
  • Count down: Slowly count down from ten or twenty to one on each out breath. Imagine yourself descending a flight of steps, a lift or escalator one level at a time, letting go a little more with each step or level.
  • Affirmation: When you are deeply relaxed, slowly repeat the following affirmation:  ‘I relax easily, quickly and deeply. Each time I relax, I go deeper and deeper. I am at peace.’
  • Relaxing place: imagine that you are somewhere tranquil such as a garden, beach or special sanctuary. Images and sounds of water can be very soothing. So can imagining the feeling on the warm sun on your face and body.

Once relaxed, create visual images, sounds and feelings and repeat the affirmations that will help you to get what you want from the session.

Triggers

You can easily create a trigger or ‘anchor’ to help you to relax at will. This is how:

When in deep state, gently put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper the word ‘Alpha’. Then silently affirm, ’Whenever I put my thumb and fingers together and say ‘Alpha’, I will instantly and easily relax deeply.’

Within a few days, with practice, whenever you close your eyes, put your thumb and fingers together and whisper ‘Alpha’, you will feel yourself easily drifting down into relaxation.

My mentor became so proficient at this he was able to go deep into Alpha in seconds while leaning on a traffic barrier in London’s Piccadilly Circus. If it can work there, it can work anywhere!

Termination

To finish, first affirm that beneficial changes have taken place in the unconscious as a result of the session and affirm that you are using your deepest inner resources to bring about the changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour that you desire.

Then, if you are relaxing during the day, count slowly from one to five and open your eyes. Wiggle your hands, shrug your shoulders and move your feet. Tell yourself you’re fully alert, and when you are ready, resume your normal activities.

Alternatively, if it’s last thing at night and you wish to go to sleep, simply drift off (telling yourself that you will wake refreshed and re-energised in the morning).

Conclusion

Relaxation has many proven benefits – studies carried out by leading doctors and psychologists show that this is not in doubt. It is a skill easily acquired through practice. If you find it hard to begin with, don’t worry, just persist. Most of the early problems you encounter will soon disappear, and you’ll quickly find you feel better, happier, more content and more peaceful.

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.10.2018

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Self-Hypnosis Script for Calmness and Confidence

This self-hypnosis routine will help you to develop a deep sense of inner calmness and confidence so you feel more appreciative towards yourself, more capable and more in control.  The more you use it, the more you’ll create a deep inner feeling of peace and calmness and the better the results.

Warning

Make sure you have about twenty minutes to spare before you start, and never listen when you’re driving or operating machinery. And remember, no matter how deeply you relax, should anything happen which requires your attention, your eyes will open and you’ll instantly be fully alert.

You may amend this script if you wish to incorporate specific suggestions and creative imagery to help you with any aspect of your personal development.

Read it onto a recording device. Speak slowly and deliberately, in a monotonous tone of voice.

Make yourself very comfortable. Either sit or lie down in a comfortable position with your head and neck supported. Uncross your legs. Slacken any tight clothing or jewelry. Let your hands flop gently by your side or in your lap. Relax. Let go of all tension.

Now, without moving your head, focus your gaze on a spot on the ceiling. When your eyelids start to feel heavy, and you feel you want to shut your eyes, don’t resist, just let them close. Gently release all thoughts, cares and concerns. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Take your attention to your breath. Take a nice, deep breath. Breathe in slowly and deeply – completely fill your chest and lungs, right down to your stomach. Breathe out slowly and think of the word, ‘relax’. Let your breath flow in slowly – and out slowly. If your attention wanders, keep bringing it back to your breath.

Calm

As you breathe in, imagine you’re breathing in peace and calmness… and as you breathe out, let go of all tightness and tension. Every breath taking you deeper and deeper into relaxation. Notice all tension and discomfort dissolving away as you relax even more. Feel peace flowing down through your body, from the top of your head down to the tips of your toes.

Now close your eyes and let those tiny muscles around your eyes relax, your eyes so heavy, so drowsy, so tired, they just won’t open.

And imagine your whole body relaxing. Concentrate on each part of your body in turn. You’re growing more relaxed and more tired with every breath you’re taking. All your muscles are going soft and loose and floppy.

Let that drowsy, relaxed feeling spread out from your eyes, into your forehead. Let your scalp relax. Relax the back of your head. Relax the muscles in your neck. Become aware of the muscles in your face – your cheeks, your jaw, your lips – and relax those muscles until they’re all soft and limp, as if you’re very deeply asleep.

Allow the sensation of deep relaxation to flow down through your entire body, all the way down to your toes. Let that warm, heavy feeling of peace and calmness flow down into your shoulders. Release all tension. Then allow the feeling to flow down your arms, down into your elbows, down into your wrists, hands and fingers. Feel how heavy and warm are your arms. Heavy and relaxed. Relaxed and heavy.

Every breath taking you deeper and deeper into relaxation.

Now feel that warm, relaxed heaviness creeping down from your shoulders, down into your chest, down into your stomach. Soften and relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus. And let that relaxed, heavy feeling flow down your spine, into your hips, your buttocks, down into your legs. Beyond your knees into your shins, calves and ankles. Your legs, relaxed and heavy. Now your feet and toes are feeling heavy. Let your feet go heavy – heavy and relaxed, like heavy weights on the end of your legs. Heavy and relaxed.

You can continue to let go until you’ve reached the deepest level of complete relaxation.

And soon, you’re going to relax even more. In a moment I’ll say the word ‘relax’, and when you hear me say that word every muscle in your body will let go, and your entire body will sink down completely and utterly limp. This is such a pleasant, comfortable feeling, you may even forget about your body altogether and enter the deepest, most relaxed state you’ve ever known.

Relax.

That’s it, let every single muscle relax, let all tension ebb away and a feeling of calmness flow down from your head, into your neck and shoulders, down your arms, down your abdomen, down into your legs and feet. Sinking further down into relaxation with every breath you’re taking, enjoying this feeling of peace and calmness.

And now I’m going to count down from ten to zero, and as I count down, think of yourself going down a flight of steps into complete calmness and tranquillity. Think of each number as a step down, deeper and deeper, so by the time you reach number one, you’ll be more relaxed than ever before.

And when you hear the word, ‘zero’, you’ll fall into a deep, deep sleep, the deepest, most relaxed state you’ve ever known, listening to my voice and enjoying this feeling of peace and calmness.

10   9    8    7    6    5    4    3    2    1    Zero

Imagine now you’re lying in a calm and peaceful place, beside a quiet lake, surrounded by trees shimmering in the warmth of a summer’s day. Above, a clear, blue sky and the bright yellow sun warming your body and making you feel safe and comfortable. The beauty of nature all around you – so quiet, so still, there isn’t even a ripple on the surface of the water.

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The more you relax your body and move into this tranquil place, the more you’ll be in touch with your inner self.

And when this relaxation is over, these suggestions will remain so firmly embedded in your mind that they will continue to influence your thoughts, your feelings and your actions just as surely, just as strongly as if you were still relaxing. This inner feeling of calmness and confidence, peace and tranquillity will remain with you in everything you do.

In fact, as each day goes by you’ll feel yourself becoming more and more calm and relaxed. So whatever you’re doing, wherever you are or whomever is with you, you’ll feel a greater sense of personal well-being, more warm and loving towards yourself.

Every day, becoming calmer, more cheerful, more positive and more confident. More confident about what you’re doing. More confident and optimistic about the future. More and more confident about yourself, your capabilities and your relationships. You’ll find that things which used to worry and upset you will lose their power over you. You’ll find it easier to cope even under pressure. Cool, calm, confident and in control.

Sleep

And now, you’re going to hear some positively phrased suggestions for your continuing calmness and confidence. Mentally repeating these affirmations to yourself will imprint them firmly on your unconscious.

  • I used to be less confident, but all that is changing. Now I am always cool, calm, confident and in control.
  • I deserve happiness, prosperity and success. No-one deserves them more than I.
  • I feel warm and loving towards myself. I like myself. I am a strong and worthy person.
  • Every day, I keep my thoughts positive, for I am the result of what I think.
  • Whatever my mind can conceive and believe, I can achieve.
  • Every day in every way, I feel better and better.

(Note: you can insert any affirmation or ‘visualisation’ here.)

As each day goes by, you’ll be calmer, more confident, more in control. You’ll cope with people and events much more easily. You’ll feel better and free to be yourself. Free to enjoy life more fully. Free to head confidently in the direction of your dreams.

Now if you’re listening at bedtime, ignore the next few sentences and drift off into a comfortable and satisfying sleep. You’ll awake at the appropriate time feeling re-energised, knowing that every time you listen to this relaxation you feel calmer, more confident and more positive.

But if you want to resume your activities, feel yourself becoming more alert now, waking up, feeling better than before. When I say ‘open your eyes’, you’ll be wide awake and ready to continue withyour activities, fully alert, more confident and more positive than ever before.

OK. Open your eyes now. Wide awake, feeling good.

Now smile, have a good stretch, get up slowly and resume your activities.

(If you have difficulty and need help relaxing, try this: http://www.feelinggoodallthetime.com/articles/the-chillout/.  Helps calm and relax the body and promote healthy sleep by restoring its natural rhythms.)

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Copyright David Lawrence Preston, 26.4.2016

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