Progressive relaxation

Progressive Relaxation

Begin by making yourself comfortable and sitting in a chair with your feet flat on the ground and your hands unclasped. Focus initially on your breathing. Notice your breath, its rhythm and its pattern. After approximately 10 breaths or one minute, slow down your outgoing breath. After approximately a further 10 breaths, scan your body and direct the outgoing breath to wherever you are feeling tight tense or uncomfortable. Imagine that you can breathe through that part of the body and as you do so that you are breathing out the tightness, the tension and the discomfort. When you have scanned your body and addressed the areas of tightness, tension or discomfort notice that the body is feeling more comfortable and that you are letting tensions go. You may also notice that the body is feeling lighter. Notice the lightness, first in your feet that are possibly tingling. Then notice that the lightness spreads to the muscles in your calves. After a few breaths notice the lightness in your thighs and how the lightness spreads from there into your hips and lower back. Breathe your breaths for a short while before noticing the lightness spreading up to the shoulder blades and across the chest. Notice that now your breath has become deeper. Now notice the lightness spreading into the shoulders and that the shoulders loosen, drop and relax. Stay there for a while before noticing the lightness spread from the shoulders down your arms: first to your upper arms, then to your lower arms into your hands and through each one of the fingers. Shift your attention to your neck muscles, noticing them letting go. Now let the lightness flow into your jaws so that they loosen, drop and relax. Finally, feel the lightness spread throughout your face and as it does, your face feels as if it smooths out and as it relaxes you feel reinvigorated and refreshed. Return to your breathing and stay in this relaxed state for as long as you wish.
When you have reached this relaxed state you might like to imagine being in a place that for you represents a place of calmness and tranquillity. Imagine this place fully: how it looks, create the colours and shapes of it. Recognise the sounds that you would hear in that place as well as the any smells, scents or tastes of the place. Allow yourself to stay there for a few minutes before returning to your breath and then stretching yourself and resuming your day.

This is a good way of going to sleep. Don’t worry about re-alerting yourself: just let yourself drift into a pleasant, relaxed sleep.

Grounding Exercise

First attend to your breath: notice your pattern of breathing. Then attend to the external experiences: touch, pressure, texture, temperature, sound, sight, smell and taste, one at a time. Now turn to the internal experience: internal sensations, feelings and thoughts. Become intensely curious and observant of what you are experiencing in this moment. Should you become distracted return briefly to your breath and congratulate yourself because you noticed that you became distracted. The ability to notice is the essence of grounding: noticing what is happening in the present moment.