A 7 minute audio clip to practice visualization as written about in last month’s post: managing stress through visualization
1st rate your level of distress from 0-10 (0 is the calmest you have ever felt, absolutely no stress; 10 is the most stressed you have ever felt. Think migraines and extreme irritability).
Next, find a quiet place to sit or lie down, close your eyes, take a couple deep breaths in and out, relax the tension in your muscles with each out-breath, and just listen:
What is your level of distress now (0-10)?
Did your distress level go down at all? How was this exercise for you? How do you feel?
Many beginners of guided relaxation (or meditation) report initially finding it difficult to stay still and focus. I’ve heard clients say it was hard to silence their minds or that they found themselves getting easily distracted. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong when doing these guided exercises. The goal is not to silence the mind (because it’s never quiet) but rather to take notice of the thoughts, and let them go as easily as they came. As with anything else, it will take time and practice. Studies find that ongoing meditation practice can improve your concentration, mood and sleep. As little as 20 minutes a day of daily relaxation can have significant results on your overall feelings of well-being when practiced for at least 6 months. Many have noticed immediate benefits and report feeling calmer and more relaxed after listening to guided relaxation exercises.
Keep an eye out for more guided relaxation/meditation exercises. I would love to hear your feedback!