Relaxation Techniques

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This is an excerpt from my anxiety management blog as I wanted to make it easy to find as a separate entity

Controlled Breathing Technique

Controlled breathing is a skill that becomes easier with practice. It is very important to practice this technique every day, at times when you are not feeling anxious, so that you won’t have to think about it when you really need to use it. When you become anxious you may have a tendency to over-breathe, which has the effect of making you feel tense and dizzy. You may begin to breathe too quickly or gulp air, feeling as though you are going to suffocate. This is not dangerous but feels very unpleasant. Here is a breathing technique that you can practice when you do your relaxation routine. You will then automatically know how to correct your breathing if you feel anxious. Try to recognise that you are over-breathing and slow your breathing down by taking some slow deep breaths. Controlled breathing is slow and calm. Make sure you are sitting comfortably; start breathing slowly and evenly, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Get into a rhythm of three counts breathing in through your nose and three slightly slower counts breathing out through your mouth. Continue breathing using the same pattern until you feel calmer

Autogenic Relaxation Technique Make yourself comfortable sitting in a comfortable chair and close your eyes. Focus on your feet. Think of nothing but how your feet are feeling. Tense and un-tense your feet several times. Imagine your feet are feeling very heavy. Keep focusing on your feet and feel them getting heavier and heavier. There won’t be any room in your mind for other thoughts. Focus your mind on your legs and repeat the same process until they feel very heavy. Work your way up to your body in the same way, until every part of you feels heavy including your neck, head and even your face. You are focusing so hard that there is no room in your mind for any other thoughts. Return your focus to your feet and imagine that they are feeling warm. Focus your mind on how warm your feet are feeling. Keep imagining your feet are feeling warm. There is no room in your mind for any other thoughts. Work your way up your body using the same technique until your whole body feels heavy and warm. You should be feeling very relaxed by now. I suggest you don’t do this lying down unless you wish to fall asleep!

Visualisation Technique Now think of a tranquil, beautiful place where you’ve been. It may be a beach, a mountain, a river or lake, a spiritual place or just somewhere you love. Start to visualise that place. Look around in your mind, hear the sounds, smell the air, feel the sand, rock or grass. Perhaps there’s a gentle, cool breeze. Maybe you are enjoying the warmth of the sun. Stay in that place in your mind for as long as you wish before you get up and continue with your day. All three of the techniques can be used individually and need only take a few minutes of your valuable time. For deeper relaxation practice all three in sequence. Some people like to relax and visualise as they are going to sleep at night.

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