- 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 using diaphragmatic
breathing. Become aware of your breathing. As you
breathe out, say the word, "ONE," silently to yourself. For
example, breathe IN . . OUT, "ONE"; IN . . . OUT, "ONE";
etc. 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 opened. 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 "ONE." With
practice, the response should come with little effort.
Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within
two hours after any meal, since the digestive processes
seem to interfere with the elicitation of the relaxation
* The Relaxation Response, Benson, H., William Morrow and
Company, Inc. New York, 1975
Download MP3 audio files you can use to practice relaxation:
To download one of these MP3 files, right-click on the link
and select "Save target as...". Browse to a spot on your hard drive
where you keep your
MP3 files, and save the file. Once downloaded, you can
listen to the audio and practice the skills.
(21 MB; 22 min)
- In this one, former UVic psychologist Mary Jane McLachlan leads you through
a relaxation exercise that uses breathing and imagery.
Progressive Relaxation (46 MB; 46 min) - this may not work properly - if you wish a CD of this, please contact Counselling Services.
- In this one, former UVic psychologist Joel Newman leads you through a
relaxation exercise that focuses on muscle tension.
As with any skill, you will become better with practice.