Self-Care: Learning to Relax

I have been sharing for several posts about self-care and relaxation.  Let’s begin today with progressive muscle relaxation.

Sitting in your safe place, close your eyes and become aware of your mind.  Spend a few moments in mindfulness.  Allow this to be relaxing, just quietly reflecting on your thoughts.

Be aware of your forehead and scalp, and consciously relax, you will feel good as the tension flows out of your scalp and down the side of your face.

Relax your jaw and let it hang down, feel the release of tension.  Now down to your neck, relaxing, resting calmly.  Allow your head to roll to one side gently, peacefully.  Feel the tension flow down your body.

Focus now on your arms.  Feel the tension in your upper body and consciously relax your shoulders, now your upper arms and then on down to your hands.  Your arms feel heavy; allow them to relax. This feels very good and is very relaxing.  You may feel a slight sense of warmth at this time that is also very good and very relaxing.

Next focus on your chest and your breathing.  Take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds.  Feel the tension that comes from holding your breath.  Now, release the breath and breathe out through your mouth, slowly and easily.  Feel the relaxation that comes by practicing deep breathing, slowing in through your nose, then slowly out through your mouth.  Your mind is becoming very relaxed and calm.  You are loving this relaxation experience.

Relax your stomach and your abdominal region.  Feel tension flow down your body, on into your thighs and upper legs.  Very slowly, and very easily allow your legs to release the muscle tension held in them.  Let your legs go limp and relaxed and feel tension flow out through your legs, into your feet.

Now, imagine that your big toes have a cap on them.  Release the cap, and let tension, a black, dark fluid, flow out of your body through your big toes.  It is flowing away, away from your body into the world.  Rest with this thought until you envision all of the tension flowing out.  Rest in the pleasant thoughts of being totally and completely relaxed.  You feel warm and safe, fully at peace with the world.  Good, enjoy this experience for several minutes.

After you have enjoyed the relaxation experience for several minutes, you may feel sleepy.  Most persons who live in North America are chronically sleep deprived.  You may be one of these.  If you have napped during your relaxation experience this is a very good thing.  Look at it as a bonus!  You are to feel peaceful and reject any thoughts that may bring guilt and shame.  We will attend to the hurtful thoughts at another time.  Now, fully rested and fully relaxed.

Now, recap your toes!  It’s time to be filled.  Imagine peace as if it were pure golden oil mixed with sweet honey.  Peace is a golden fluid that sweetly begins to flow into your body through your mind.  In your mind’s eye see this fluid flow into you and run down to your toes, beginning to fill you with peace.  The golden fluid begins to build and fill your feet, legs, and thighs.  This is very peaceful and very enjoyable.  Allow the peaceful fluid to continue to fill you, up through your stomach, chest and then run down your arms, filling them from the inside.  Golden, sweet clear fluid that fills you with peace.

Your arms are filled with peace and the golden fluid begins to fill your mind.  You are filled with a warm sense of well-being as your mind is at rest.  This feeling is very enjoyable and restful.

Now you are fully relaxed.  All tension has been removed from your body and you have been refilled with peace.  Notice how joyful you feel. Good for you!  Enjoy this feeling of rest and relaxation for as long as you like. There is no time limit on this enjoyment.

When you are ready, it is time to re-engage with this physical world.  You do this joyfully, ready to step out into new tasks renewed and alive.  Slowly allow your mind to focus on the world around you.  Open your eyes and see your surroundings in a new light.  Good, you’ve done a great job in learning this relaxation experience.  Be very proud of yourself as you slowly and easily arise from your safe place and go out into your world.

Remember, you can always come back to this peaceful place, anytime you would like.  The more you practice this task, the easier it becomes until you can access your personal safe place even in the midst of trouble.

I’ll share more on self-care in tomorrow’s post.  Please share your relaxation experience with me by leaving a comment.

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