How do I practice relaxation?
There are two types of relaxation: progressive and autogenic.
Progressive relaxation is a way of focussing your attention on each part of the body, being aware of any tension before relaxing that part and moving on. Physically tensing and relaxing each area of the body, helps focus the mind and stop thoughts wandering as well as allows the body to let go of any stress or strain. Progressive relaxation draws our awareness to each part of the body and encourages it to relax. Taking one part at a time physically tensing and relaxing the body part and letting thoughts drift away provides a very effective way to relax.
Autogenic relaxation is where you tell yourself that you are relaxed and the body follows. Suggesting to the mind that you feel relaxed and calm allows the body to respond in the same way. It is used to enhance the physical effects of progressive relaxation, working a bit like a Mantra or positive thought that you repeat to yourself, the continued suggestion that each body part feels relaxed and heavy results in the physical body responding in the same way. This can have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and give the body a chance to let go, relaxing tight muscles and relieving aches and pains.