When you practice deep relaxation, it is important to be in a quiet, warm place where you will not be disturbed, wear loose clothing, be either sitting or lying down with your arms by your sides and your legs uncrossed.
Do not try too hard as this can bring on tension but allow the relaxation to just happen without forcing it. In the beginning, some people try too hard and consequently they get more tense and panicky. This is perfectly normal and will pass as your body becomes accustomed to being properly relaxed. Follow the instructions but take things slowly.
You should practice this relaxation programme at least twice a day until you know it off by heart and are able to relax any set of muscles at any time.
Try to keep your mind focused on the word relax. Keep your breathing regular, shallow and relaxed. Don’t hold your breath and, notice how as you breathe out, you relax a little more. Keep your eyes closed. Breathe in and out through your nose and each time you breathe out, relax a little more. Keep concentrating on the word relax.
The following exercises demonstrate the difference between tension and relaxation.
You tense these muscles by clenching your fists as tightly as you can.
You tense these muscles by bending your arms at the elbows and trying to touch your wrists to your shoulders.
You tense these muscles by straightening your arms as hard as you can.
You tense these muscles by shrugging your shoulders tightly into your neck.
You tense these muscles by pressing your head back as far as you can.
You tense these muscles by raising your eyebrows as though enquiring.
You tense these muscles by frowning and squeezing your eyes tightly shut.
You tense these muscles by clenching your teeth as hard as you can.
You tense these muscles by pushing your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
You tense these muscles by pressing your lips together tightly.
You tense these muscles by taking a deep breath and holding it.
You tense these muscles by making your stomach muscles hard as though expecting a punch.
You tense these muscles by arching your back and clenching your buttocks.
You tense these muscles by straightening your legs and pointing your toes down.