Guided relaxation techniques
Go to a calm place
This guided relaxation takes 5 minutes. It helps you to relax your body and mind. It takes you to a safe and calm place that you can visit in your mind whenever you are feeling stressed. Click play in the box below to listen to the guided relaxation.
Read this guided relaxation
Allow yourself to sit or lay in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and take a deep breath…in through your nose…hold it…then out through your mouth…in through your nose…and out through your mouth…slowly allowing your breathing to become steady and calm.
I would like you to focus on your head and your neck and become aware of any tension that you might be holding in those areas. Allow them to become relaxed. Moving to your chest and your stomach…notice any tension that you are holding in those areas…and then allow them to become relaxed. Moving to your legs…let the muscles just become calm and relaxed. Gently squeeze your fingers and your toes…hold them…and then allow those to become relaxed.
Continue with your calm deep breathing and let your body begin to enjoy the sensation of being calm and being still. Imagine that it is a warm and sunny day and, as you are laid down, you enjoy the feeling of the warm sun on your skin. Next to you is a sparkling blue pool and you decide to take a swim to cool down. Slowly you walk towards the water and with each step your body becomes in contact with the soothing cool and calm water. As you become more and more submerged in the water, you appreciate the cool relief that the water gives to your warm skin. It feels wonderful to be cool and calm and relaxed. You feel weightless and free as you swim slowly through the shimmering water of the pool. You step out of the pool and lay down in the glorious sunshine. You feel the warmth of the sun, you feel comfortable safe and secure as you allow yourself to become more and more relaxed.
Anytime that you are stressed or anxious, you can allow yourself to become more calm and relaxed by bringing yourself to this safe and calm place. Breathing in slowly and breathing out. Tell yourself that you are calm, you are in control, you are strong, and you are wonderful.
Just take a second
This quick relaxation can be done wherever you are. It only takes a few seconds.
- Stop what you are doing for a moment.
- Let your shoulders relax and go down.
- Take 2 or 3 slower, deeper breaths.
- Carry on with what you were doing, but just a little slower.
It can be useful to take a short breathing space when you are facing a stressful situation. It can let you catch-up with yourself and take stock. Stepping aside for just a few minutes can help you to think about your problems from a calmer place and see them from a different point of view. Click play in the box below to listen the guided breathing space.
Read this guided relaxation
Firstly, rest your hands somewhere comfortable on your legs. Notice how you are sitting. How is your body feeling? Actually sense the feeling of the seat you are sitting on … your right and left sitting bones and the backs of your legs. You may find yourself naturally sitting a little more upright – without straining. Sense your legs … and your feet resting on the floor.
Next, allow yourself to become more aware of your surroundings: where you are and what’s around you. Give yourself some moments to settle into this. Notice how it feels – any feelings anywhere in your body and any feelings about being where you are. These could be pleasant or unpleasant, and probably are a mixture of both. At this stage, we’re aiming to simply become more aware, without trying to change anything …
Doing this, you’ve probably already become more aware of your breathing – actually feeling the air you are breathing in and out. Give yourself some moments to settle into this. Again, don’t deliberately change how you’re breathing – just let it be … You may notice after a while that your breath starts to get a little longer, just by itself.
If you find you’ve become lost in thoughts, just return your awareness to the sensations of your breath and your body. Congratulate yourself that you noticed getting lost, rather than telling yourself off for it. We’re aiming at this stage simply to be more aware of thoughts and thinking, rather than trying to get rid of them.
By now, you’ve probably spent about three minutes (or so) taking a breathing space. Bring this exercise to a close slowly and gradually, again feeling the chair beneath you, the room around you, where you are and how you are feeling. Give yourself some moments to do this – there’s no hurry … Like anything, if you practice regularly, it will come more easily to you and you’ll notice more effect from it.