Benefits of Relaxation
Anxiety and relaxation are two mutually exclusive states; they cannot dominate the same body at the same time, the stronger one tends to progressively cancel the weaker one out. By training yourself to relax very deeply, and by facing your fears gradually and systematically, you can use the relaxation response to cancel out anxiety, in steps and stages, and replace it with feelings of calm.
All it takes is a little patience and focus.
Relaxation is one of the most important tools in modern psychotherapy, for that reason I use relaxation techniques to aid my clients during their session as well as and sometimes instead of hypnosis.
Most people acknowledge that different forms of relaxation can be used to counter act physical tension and emotional arousal i.e. Stress and Anxiety which the majority of my clients suffer from in varying degrees.
Hypnosis is not relaxation, however relaxation does have a practical role in hypnosis.
Deep muscle relaxation causes the heart rate to become peaceful, slow, and steady and the blood pressure to lower.
When the muscles are relaxed, the body is resting, and uses less energy.
When the body is using less energy it requires less oxygen, so the breathing will tend to become slow, shallow, and gentle.
Edmund Jacobson (April 22, 1888 – January 7, 1983) was an American physician in internal medicine and psychiatry and a physiologist. He was the founder of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation and of Biofeedback.
Long-term effects of regular practice of progressive muscle relaxation include:
A decrease in generalized anxiety
A decrease in anticipatory anxiety related to phobias
Reduction in the frequency and duration of panic attacks
Improved ability to face phobic situations through graded exposure
An increased sense of control over moods
Increased spontaneity and creativity
Mindfulness, How Can it Help?
Mindfulness and other basic coping skills can be employed to facilitate cognitive restructuring, behaviour changes, and emotional habituation with mild to moderate stress and anxiety issues.
..........the act of repetitively directing your attention to only one thing.......
... the practice of willingness to be to the moment and radical acceptance of the entirety of the moment"
(Dimidjian &Linehan, 2003)
Mindfulness can be used to great effect for developing self awareness, attention training, increasing contact with present moment, cognitive distancing, emotional awareness and acceptance.
Mindfulness teaching and practice has three broad elements:
Development of awareness through systematic practise
A framework characterised by kindness, curiosity and willingness to be present with unfolding experience.
An understanding of human experience and general vulnerabilities of the human condition. Learning that suffering is part of the human condition and learn ways to step out the habits that perpetuate it, add to it, or deepen it.
Teaching ourselves to turn towards uncomfortable challenging experiences instead of avoiding or safety seeking behaviour.
Over the past couple of decades, enthusiasm for mindfulness meditation techniques derived from Buddhism has flourished among cognitive-behavioural therapists.
Meditation and acceptance strategies have been used to counteract the tendency of many clients to try to suppress, control or fight distressing thoughts.
When thought control strategies backfire, mindfulness and acceptance are seen as an alternative ways of responding to distressing or traumatic experiences.