Many people find relaxation and stress reduction exercises are a great Wellness Tool. Try this Guided Imagery Relaxation Exercise as a relaxation technique. Guided imagery uses your imagination to direct your focus in a way that is relaxing and healing.
Try the following guided imagery meditation:
Get in a very comfortable sitting or lying position. Make sure you are warm enough but not too warm and that you will not be interrupted by the phone, doorbells or needs of others.
Stare at a spot above your head on the ceiling. Take a deep breath in to a count of 8, hold it for a count of 4, let it out for a count of 8. Do that 2 more times.
Now close your eyes but keep them in the same position they were in when you were staring at the spot on the ceiling.
Breathe in to a count of 8, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 8.
Now focus on your toes. Let them completely relax. Now move the relaxation slowly up your legs, through your heels and calves to your knees. Now let the warm feeling of relaxation move up your thighs. Feel your whole lower body relaxing. Let the relaxation move very slowly through your buttocks, lower abdomen and lower back. Now feel it moving, very slowly, up your spine and through your abdomen. Now feel the warm relaxation flowing into your chest and upper back.
Let this relaxation flow from your shoulders, down your arms, through your elbows and wrists, out through your hands and fingers. Now let the relaxation go slowly through your throat, up your neck, letting it all soften and relax. Let it now move up into your face. Feel the relaxation fill your jaw, cheek muscles, and around your eyes. Let it move up into your forehead. Now let your whole scalp relax and feel warm and comfortable. Your body is now completely relaxed with the warm feeling of relaxation filling every muscle and cell of your body.
Now picture yourself walking in the sand on the beach on a sunny day. As you stroll along you feel the warmth of the sun on your back. You lay down on the sand. The sand cradles you and feels warm and comfortable on your back. The sun warms your body. You hear the waves crashing against the shore in a steady rhythm. The sound of sea gulls calling overhead add to your feeling of blissful contentment.
As you lay here, you realize that you are perfectly and completely relaxed. You feel safe and at peace with the world. You know you have the power to relax yourself completely at any time you need to. You know that by completely relaxing, you are giving your body the opportunity to stabilize itself, and that when you wake up you will feel calm, relaxed and able to get on with your tasks for the day.
Now, slowly wiggle your fingers and toes. Gradually open your eyes and resume your activities.
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.