Deep Relaxation

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Watching the Mind

As we better understand this process through watching the mind, we will become able to choose how to deal with each thought that arises. We will pay attention to the ones we want to pay attention to, and gently withdraw attention from those we don't want to pay attention to. Eventually, we will be controlling our thoughts rather than being controlled by them.

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Deep Relaxation for Stress Control

Benefits of Deep Relaxation

Since 1970, hundreds of careful studies have been conducted on various forms of deep relaxation, especially transcendental meditation and biofeedback.

These show a number of specific benefits of relaxation:
  • Increased measured intelligence.

  • Increased recall, both short and long-term.

  • Better "mental health" (decreased anxiety, depression, aggression, and irritability, and increased self-esteem and emotional stability).

  • Greater perceived self-actualization or realization of potential.

  • Better academic performance in high school and college.

  • Improved job performance.

  • Improved job satisfaction.

  • Improved athletic performance.

  • Better mind-body coordination.

  • Increased perceptual awareness.

  • Normalization of blood pressure.

  • Relief from insomnia.

  • Normalization of weight.

  • Reduced drug abuse.

The Benson Method of Meditation

Dr. Herbert Benson of the Harvard Medical School has shown that the following method of meditation can produce the same physiological changes associated with Transcendental Meditation.

  • Sit quietly in a comfortable position.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Deeply relax all your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.

  • Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word, "0NE: IN ... OUT. ONE: IN ... " and so on.

  • Breathe easily and naturally. Continue for 10 to 20 minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes open. Do not stand up for a few minutes.

  • Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude, and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, ignore them by not dwelling upon them and return to repeating "0NE ... "

  • Practice this technique daily, but not within two hours after eating meals, since the digestive processes seem to interfere with the elicitation of the relaxation response.



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