Your nerves are frayed; you can't focus; you feel exhausted, stressed and irritable. Learning to relax in the midst of the most taxing situations is the key to stress management. We know: easier said than done. Need a little help getting started? Our guided relaxation recording will lead you through a simple set of instructions to release tension and relax your entire body.
Click on the link above to listen, or right-click the link and select "save target as" to save the MP3 to your desktop or portable MP3 player. You can also print the text version below. Please note that you'll need somewhere to lie down.
Guided Relaxation Text
Come to rest on your back on the floor.
Take a moment to set yourself up in a comfortable position -- you may want to roll up a blanket to place under your knees, put a small pillow under your head, or cover yourself with a blanket.
Let your feet be about six inches apart, and allow them to fall away from each other.
Your arms should be resting with the palms facing up, four or five inches from your body.
Bring your shoulder blades toward each other on your back so that your chest is nice and open.
Let your chin drop slightly down toward your chest and back toward the floor so that the back of your neck is long and unwrinkled.
Inhale a big breath into your belly as you scrunch up your face, lift your head, ball your fists and tense your legs and feet. Exhale with a big sigh and let everything fall back to the floor. Make a big sigh noise if you like.
Again, inhale deeply and tense every muscle in your body, bringing all your energy inward and then Sign. Let everything release.
Now let yourself settle in.
Feel the weight of your body on the floor.
Allow yourself to grow heavier and heavier.
Feel your eyes settling down into their sockets.
Feel your tongue rest on the bottom of your mouth.
Allow your brain to gently sink into the back of your head.
Let your breath happen naturally, with no force or strain.
Notice the sensations that happen in your body as you breathe. Feel the air moving past the tip of your nose. Notice how your belly rises and falls as you inhale and exhale.
Let your body sink down into the floor, like a pebble dropped into a pond, until you slowly come to rest on the pond floor.
As thoughts come into your head, let them float by like fish swimming above you.
Give yourself permission to rest. Acknowledge that this is the most important thing you could be doing.
As you inhale, imagine breathing in relaxation.
As you exhale, expel any tension.
Now imagine your breath reaching all the way down to your toes. As you do this, think to yourself, I am sending my breath to my toes. My toes are relaxed.
Shift your focus and your breath to your feet. Repeat to yourself, "I am sending my breath to my feet. My feet are relaxed."
As you move to your ankles, say "I am sending my breath to my ankles. My ankles are relaxed."
Continuing on, "I am sending my breath to my calves. My calves are relaxed."
I am sending breath to my knees. My knees are relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my thighs. My thighs are relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my pelvis. My pelvis is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my belly. My belly is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my chest. My chest is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my fingers. My fingers are relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my arms. My arms are relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my shoulders. My shoulders are relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my neck. My neck is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my jaw. My jaw is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my forehead. My forehead is relaxed."
"I am sending breath to my entire body. My entire body is relaxed."
Continue to rest here.
Keep releasing any tension that you uncover as you exhale. Take in restorative energy as you inhale. Continue doing this for at least 30 seconds.
Begin to deepen your breath.
Bring subtle movement back into the body by letting your head gently fall from side to side.
Wiggle your fingers.
Move your feet back and forth like windshield wipers.
Slowly bend your knees and fold your legs in toward your chest.
Gently roll over on to your right side.
Use your right upper arm as a pillow and rest here for a few breaths. Keep your eyes closed.
Slowly, using as little energy as possible, press both hands down into the floor to bring yourself up into a seated position. Let your head be heavy during the transition -- the last part of you to arrive.
Sit quietly for a few moments.
Inhale your palms together in front of your chest. Exhale and bow forward to seal in the benefits of your relaxation practice.
Gently allow your eyes to slowly slide open. Let the images in the room rise up to meet your eyes.
As you are ready, slowly stand up and go back to your day.