I have used some of these meditations, visualisations and breathing exercises with individual clients and groups of staff and students. Some of them have been designed for specific situations but the hope is that each of them will enable relaxation.
If you have not done something like this before, it may require some practice before you are able to achieve a deep level of relaxation. I have started with some short exercises to enable you to focus on your breathing, which in itself can begin the process of creating peace inside you – hard to do in a world that is crammed full of external stimulation. Sometimes, we can feel like a bottle of fizzy drink that’s been shaken up and it can be very important for our good health and well-being to be able to find ways to quieten our inner world.
There is no right or wrong way to relax, everyone is different. I hope you may find something here that works for you. Some of these exercises are very short and can be done anywhere as a way of creating a few calm moments when you might need them most. One short exercise is designed to sharpen our imagination, which may help with some of the visualisations. Others are longer and could form part of a regular daily or weekly relaxation practice.
I have added a visualization to help people who have experienced trauma. I developed this exercise for a client who had been stabbed and it really helped her to reclaim her physical wholeness. It focuses on creating safe and secure body boundaries for people who have experienced physical or sexual trauma or even a necessary medical or surgical treatment that might have felt invasive, albeit helpful.
There is a meditation offering comfort for people who are grieving and there are suggestions of how to create an exercise to lessen a particular fear or anxiety, which I used to good effect with students who were very anxious about doing exams.
Finally, I describe how we can get the most out of walking in a labyrinth. There is an exercise you can do using a finger labyrinth and I have enclosed a drawing of a labyrinth which could be printed on a piece of card or thick paper and used as a finger labyrinth; it may help to have this drawing laminated. You can read more about labyrinths and how to find one near you by clicking on, Labyrinth, under the heading Counselling Tools above. I hope there might be something here that you find useful.
Joining or creating a meditation group on a regular basis can be a great tool for good health and well-being. I would also recommend the regular practice of yoga with an accredited yoga teacher. This allows you to do physical exercise first followed by a breathing exercise and a relaxation. I find such a class can give me extra energy for the day ahead or can relax me at the end of a busy day.
Be aware that any relaxation exercise could provoke a strong emotional reaction. If this happens allow yourself to feel whatever comes to the surface. There may be situations where you decide that you need some form of counselling or therapeutic help and on the Blogroll, on the right hand side, there are two links to my professional body, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and It’s Good to Talk where it is possible to find the name of a therapist in your area.
While doing any of these exercises, many thoughts will arise, notice them, don’t try and MAKE them disappear, let them drift away in your own time. As you end an exercise and open your eyes, it can help to ground yourself back into the present by noticing a colour, picture or shape in the room you are in.
I WOULD ADVISE YOU NOT DRIVE OR DO ANYTHING DEMANDING FOR AT LEAST 10 MINUTES AFTER LISTENING TO THE RECORDINGS HERE.
CREATING LIFE’S DANCE
Each cell dances all day long,
a miracle of patterns and pathways
the sign of a body, potent and strong.
Cells unite and move with grace,
rhythmic forms, seething with power;
full of energy, ready to race.
What fuels this life every day?
Time, decorated with stillness
sustains each cell to dance and play
- A SHORT BREATHING EXERCISE (5 minutes);
- A SHORT VISUALISATION TO SHARPEN IMAGINATION (3 minutes);
- A SHORT RELAXATION TO RELEASE TENSION (7 minutes);(You can substitute your own words or images according to what you might need at any given time. If you are on your way to a job interview or giving a talk, you could substitute the words: CALM, CONFIDENCE, or a short phrase, e.g. I CAN DO THIS).
- A ‘SMILING’ RELAXATION (10 minutes); (This may seem a little weird but it is hard to get through it without smiling).
- A VISUALISATION TO PROMOTE RELAXATION AND STILLNESS (17 minutes);(This could be used as part of a daily or weekly practice).
- A MUSCLE RELAXATION EXERCISE (23 minutes);(This could also be used as part of a daily or weekly practice).
- A VISUALISATION TO RECLAIM BODY WHOLENESS (24 minutes);(This has proved particularly useful to men and women who are survivors of physical or sexual trauma. It can also help someone who has experienced necessary medical or surgical treatment that might have felt invasive, albeit helpful.)
- A SHORT VISUALISATION – COPING WITH GRIEF (10 minutes);
- A SHORT VISUALISATION – DEALING WITH ANXIETY (6 minutes);]
- WALKING IN A LABYRINTH (7 minutes);
- HOW TO USE A FINGER LABYRINTH (4 minutes):
A CLASSICAL LABYRINTH
If anyone would like a script for any of these recorded meditations, so they could make their own recording, leave a comment and an email address and I will send it out to you.