Relaxation For Improved Awareness

Deep relaxation relieves tension & fear, and strengthens the immune response to
disease. By relaxing your body, your mind becomes calm and clear while your brain
wave activity is slowed to the alpha state (7 to 14 cycles per second). You can create
your own relaxation cassette tape or have someone read the following relaxation
dialogue to you or you can mentally and progressively repeat the following points to
yourself.
To begin, assume a comfortable, seated or reclined position. Now close your
eyes, and take several easy, deep, abdominal breaths. When you inhale, say to
yourself, "I am," and as you exhale, say to yourself, "relaxed." Now starting with
your toes and feet, bring your conscious awareness to each foot, and flex and relax
each one individually. Say to yourself, "In every way I am feeling better and more
relaxed." Now move up to each leg and flex and relax each leg. Now be aware of
your buttocks. Flex and relax your buttocks. Now bring your conscious awareness
to your abdomen and stomach areas. Feel those areas flexing and relaxing. Now
focus attention to your back area. Flex and relax it. Now flex and relax your chest
area. Now flex and relax each hand and arm. Feel the sensation of your shoulders
flexing and relaxing. Feel your neck muscles relaxing and becoming soft and heavy.
Be aware of and feel the muscles in your mouth, nose and eyes relaxing. Let your
jaw become loose and let your tongue drop. Now direct all the muscles of your head
to relax. Imagine a warm heaviness spreading throughout your body. Now while
continuing the easy abdominal breathing, scan the entire body for any tension and
relax it. Now say to yourself, "I am in complete control of all my faculties, and can
achieve relaxation whenever I desire. I am now fully relaxed."
In this totally relaxed state, your blood vessels are dilated, and more oxygenated
blood is flowing to your vital brain areas for better functioning. Now begin
imagining a specific color in your mind's eye. With each abdominal breath, you are
breathing in that color of relaxation. Allow it to permeate and soothe all the cells of
your body with each breath that you take. The color you have chosen to connect with
your state of relaxation will be the same color you can use in the future to help you
relax. Now create the number 3 on your mental blackboard in that same color, and
touch the tip of your forefinger with your thumb as you breathe a sigh of complete
relaxation. Whenever you notice that you are tense or anxious in the future, you need
only close your eyes for a few moments, breathe deeply, & imagine the color you
chose flowing through your nostrils; or visualize the colored number 3 on your men-
tal blackboard; or simply touch the tip of your forefinger with your thumb to achieve
the state of total relaxation (review “Exercise -- Anchoring Positive States of Mind”).
To be aware of your tension throughout the day, and to be able to relax whenever
and wherever you are is important. Now that you know how to relax, frequent
scanning of your body throughout your normal day can target areas needing
relaxation. You can also facilitate a quicker relief of anxiety in the future by
remembering to breath deeply, center your posture and focus your attention on what
is going on around you. Most worrisome anxiety is simply an internal extension of
yourself in the imagined future. Becoming aware of the here and now (environmental
sounds, colors, smells, etc.) keeps your focus on the reality of the present.