The Relaxation Response

Posted by: Victoria Lorient-Faibish on June 10, 2011 2:30 pm

Today I arrived home after seeing five back to back clients and I realized my nervous system was in need of some deep relaxation because when the phone rang and I just about jumped out of my skin!
And here is where we all need to walk out talk. I meditate and visualize regularly but when I miss a few days I really feel it!

There is a need to turn on the “Relaxation Response” regularly. This essentially means that the parasympathetic nervous system is turned on.  When this nervous system is on line, the body then begins to deepen the breathing, strengthen the immune system, clear the mind, release tension in the muscles and increase ease of thoughts.   The brain is signaling to the rest of the body that the war is over and it is peace time. The corresponding biochemicals begin to emit and the body starts to let down and relax.

Not all relaxation exercises work for everyone. But here is a universal one that may assist to turn on your  relaxation response.

Creating a Peaceful Place Within

Sit or lie in a comfortable place and position. Allow yourself to settle deeply where you are.  Gently close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply (this is the first and most simple way to begin to turn on the relaxation response.)  Take time for the breath to become central in your mind.

Begin to visualize one thing that has been constantly on your mind like a renovation project, a conflict with a family member. Something that is causing you fear, anxiety or upset.  Take a few moments to visualize the issue and place it on a shelf.  In your mind’s eye place the problems there, on the shelf and then visualize yourself leaving the room where the shelf is, with your problems very organized and waiting for you to return to them at a later time.

Relaxation Meditation

A good way to do this is to read through it once and then quietly visualize the whole thing very slowly again as you deeply breathe and sense into the visualization.

“I am in a cave warming my hands on an enormous bon fire.   There are pictures of animals painted on the walls in vibrant colours.   There is the smell of sweet grass in the air and the sound of drums resonates through my very core. There is a wolf standing guard and protecting me. Occasionally she (the wolf) comes round to lick my face, letting me know her deep affection for me.  I am wearing a very cozy and colourful blanket that keeps me warm and safe. I am a part of a native Indian community of elders and we are in the midst of a rite of passage ceremony in which the key phrase vibrating through the air is “The spark of creative transformation”.  As I see this and hear this and smell the aromas, I place my right hand on my heart as I visualize this scene and I say the words of the ceremony: “The spark of creative transformation” As I do this, I invoke the deeper meaning of all of this. The meaning is “Don’t doubt yourself.  Feel secure in yourself. Know your power to create and to transform. Trust it.  Own it. Be with it. Embody it.”  

My breath is soft and calm and my body feels sated.  I have taken my time breathing in such a slow and deliberate way that all of my cells are saying   “Thank-you for this blessed nectar of the gods called oxygen”.  This is my Peaceful place.  This is my way to go into my deep self and to access all of my authentic knowing.   As this peaceful resource base comes into my body, my very core and my cells, I am soon brought into deep calm and relaxation.  I feel safe to let my guard down.  It is safe to be me. 

I say the words that mirror how I feel:

I am safe.

All is well.

The universe is conspiring in my favour.

Everything is working out better than I expect.

All is well. All is well. All is well.

*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA

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