Stress relief is a must these days. And one way to de-stress is to use guided relaxation. It helps focus your mind away from your worries and puts you into a positive, optimistic frame of mind.
Guided relaxation classes can generally be found at meditation centers. But, of course, you can also create your own guided relaxation to suit your needs and practice by yourself.
When seeking a class, keep in mind that a good guide uses a natural speaking voice instead of an artificially soothing voice, and the class should focus on allowing students to focus inward and create the mental images and feelings of relaxation.
Here, we give you some tips to make the whole experience as soothing as possible – whether you take classes, or practice on your own.
Making The Best Of Self-Guided Or Teacher-Guided Relaxation
1. Start with a recorded guided relaxation if you practice alone; or take a class. In time, you’ll become adept at creating your own guided relaxation scripts.
2. Meditate every day. It takes time to allow yourself to relax into meditation. Even if you use brainwave entrainment, you may initially have a very strong urge to “get up and get going!” when you should be in deep relaxation. Your ability to relax will improve with practice. Guided relaxation will teach you to let go of your worries and use your imagination to transport you to a state of being that is peaceful, calm, and happy.
3. Meditate when your physical needs (food, sleep, toilet) have been met.Make sure you’re not too hungry or too full. Being hungry will distract you, and being too full will make you sleepy. If you’re jazzed up from vigorous exercise, you’ll find it hard to settle down; and if you’re sleepy… you’re better off catching some zzzz’s first.
4. Attitude is everything. If you EXPECT to have a difficult time settling into relaxation (even under the guidance of a good teacher) then that’s exactly what will happen. Set your intention before you start, to relax effortlessly into a blissful, serene state. Give yourself permission to let go of your worldly worries for 30-60 minutes (promise your mind it can return to those worries later on!).
And if you’re feeling frustrated at not being able to relax, smile at yourself. You’re putting too much pressure on yourself. Focus on the guide; let your imagination roll with the scenario being painted, and take yourself along for the ride, just for fun. No pressure, no agenda.
5. When your mind wanders, as it will (no matter how compelling the mental images may be), gently redirect it. Tell yourself that the imagery in the guided relaxation is far more interesting and important than whatever is going on outside of this moment.
6. When you’re finished, open your eyes and remain “in the scene” for a while.Re-live some of the imagery and the feelings you experienced. There’s no reason to jump up and resume your daily busy-ness immediately! Ease into “reality” slowly, savoring the bliss and calm.
7. As you become more skilled at following guided directions more holistically by engaging your senses more, you’ll experience deeper relaxation. Images will come easier, and feelings will, too.
8. You can use guided relaxation anytime you anticipate stress (such as before important meetings, oral presentations, exams, etc.)
Sanctuary Guided Relaxation
Close your eyes and allow external sounds to leave your awareness as you draw your attention to your breath. Feel and hear your breath as it enters and exits your body. Through your breath, you are connected to all life on Earth. Feel the comfort of being loved by the Earth.
Allow your inner vision to create a special place, a quiet sanctuary of your own. It can be a place of peace, beauty, power, energy… Whatever you need today.
Allow each of your senses to explore this place. Feel the temperature and movement of the air; smell fragrances; taste any flavors that belong in the scene. Feel textures, hear sounds. Look around you and take in the shapes and colors. Feel yourself in your sanctuary as vividly as you feel yourself in the space you are meditating in.
You can rest here. You are at peace here, loved, nurtured, and accepted. Allow these feelings to enter you with each inhale. Exhale every sorrow, pain and fear you may be holding in your muscles. Feel your body completely release any tension.
There is good energy in this place. Absorb this energy into every cell of your body as you come into harmonic resonance with the special energy of your sanctuary. Feel the light and love of this place give vital energy to your body, and clarity and serenity to your mind.
Spend as much time as you like here. Whenever your mind wants to intrude with negativity, tell it, “I am resting.” Repeat that when negativity tries to enter your sanctuary. Experience the peace that comes from this place.
Open your eyes, and allow your consciousness to slowly return to your surroundings. The beauty, serenity, wisdom, vitality, power, peace, joy, and energy of your sanctuary is still with you, and will be with you whenever you need it to help you and guide you.
If you use your own script, it’s important that you use whatever imagery is meaningful and important to you.
You don’t have to imagine balls of light, or anything that feels weird to you. It’s better to imagine some place or state of being that comforts and relaxes you. You can record your own voice and play it back during your Omharmonics listening session for a uniquely custom guided relaxation.
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How did you feel after using the guided sanctuary meditation?
And what’s your favorite imagery to de-stress when needed?
Share your experiences with the tribe in the comments below.
If you want to become more compassionate and productive, Emily Fletcher's Masterclass on Meditation for Super Performance is absolutely FREE and plays on Mindvalley Academy.