Relaxation is a destination, and there are many ways to reach it. Some paths are much talked about, some others are untrodden. Here is an easy way to learn how to relax – and it only takes a few minutes.
This ABC method works as a re-energizer and also can fit in well during your break time. After work, it can help a person wind down from the day, without resorting to redundant activities like mindless eating, staying up overnight, etc. If there is trouble in sleeping, this relaxation technique can help one get back to sleep.
The steps are as easy to remember as the kindergarten A-B-Cs.
The first step is physical awareness. One needs to sit or lie in a comfortable position, free from all distractions possible. The person needs to think of the contact between the body and the surroundings. The contact might be the feet touching the floor, legs touching the seat, or back touching a cushion. The meditator needs to notice the position of his arms and the head.
The individual needs to take three slow deep breaths. One must feel the coolness of the air going into the nostrils, and imagine the breath going all the way down to toes. As he exhales, if there is a feeling of stress, he should exhale audibly – Ahhhhhh! One must continue breathing. As he exhales, he should mentally say the word, “relax” and let go of any tension felt in the body. After a few breathing cycles, one must allow breathing to return to normal.
One should think of a very pleasant relaxing scene that is real to him. This may be the ocean, the mountains, a garden, or a person who has a calming effect on him. He must concentrate his imagination and senses on that scene. He should hear the birds, smell the flowers, feel the sand, taste the air, see the horizon, and experience the calm.
As he breathes in and out, he must become more deeply immersed in his pleasant scene. It would be great to let the present environment become the part of the scene.
As one exhales, he must empty the mind of any thoughts other than that pleasant scene. One may find oneself thinking back of past events, or ahead about what he has to do. This is natural. One must not criticize oneself for getting these thoughts; should subtly get over these by exhaling out the fears and worries. As one inhales, he should try to gently return to and focus on the calming scene.
F&G = FEEL GOOD!
The more one lets go of physical tension, past and future thoughts, and focus on a calming scene, the more he will FEEL relaxed, clear-headed, and GOOD.
Remember this Golden Phrase:
“No amount of regret can change the past;
No amount of anticipation can change the future!”
A 10-20 minute routine of this activity can be very refreshing. If one practices this relaxation exercise during his work day, he may discover a gradual change. After work, it helps to bring one’s awareness into being at home, or with family, friends or community. When it is time to sleep, it can help the person release the tensions of the day, and get a more restful night’s sleep. With daily practice, the meditator’s mind will quickly form a habit of learning how to relax with less effort. One must be patient while in the beginning. It’s easier if he can remember his A-B-Cs!