Relaxation Techniques

There are many forms of relaxation: mindful awareness, guided imagery, meditation, applied muscle or progressive relaxation are some of the forms of relaxation. Click below for podcasts that are available for downloads:

Meditation & Mindfulness Exercises 
The Relaxation Response (8 Minutes)
Relaxation on the Beach (6 Minutes)

Visual Imagery Exercises 
Mental Imagery Exercise (8 Minutes)

Sleep Techniques 
Sensing Scan (3 Minutes)
Sleep Technique (5 Minutes)

Progressive Relaxation Exercises / Applied Muscle Relaxation 
Progressive Relaxation Exercise (30 minutes, Dartmouth College relaxation series)

The purpose of progressive relaxation is to rid the body of tension, both noticeable tension and residual tension (tension of which a person is not cognitively aware). For example, as you are reviewing this page look to see if your arms and legs are tightened, as though poised for action. Tightening is usually non-cognitive, yet tightened muscles can drain energy and cause tension. Progressive relaxation can help you learn what really relaxed muscles feel like so you can tell the difference and train yourself to be more relaxed. Please note that the above exercise can be found on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges website.

A comprehensive muscle relaxation involves relaxing four major muscle groups.

Group I: Hands and forearms
Group II: Forehead and face, neck and throat
Group III: Chest, shoulders, back and stomach
Group IV: Thighs, hips, calves and feet

One of the primary goals of progressive relaxation is to notice the difference between tension and relaxation. One of the processes that individuals learn is that they can make themselves tense and they can make themselves relaxed.

Inhaling for five seconds and exhaling for five seconds can be really helpful. When practicing relaxation, be in a comfortable position (Do not practice forms of meditation or muscle relaxation when driving a vehicle). 

Further Resources for Relaxation Audio and Scripts on the Web
 
www.cmhc.utexas.edu/mindbodylab.html 
www.allaboutdepression.com/relax/