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Dealing with Stress : Increasing our Ability to Relax.

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We know that those of us who suffered significant childhood trauma are far more likely to be vulnerable to the effects of stress as adults when compared to those who had relatively stable upbringings (all else being equal). Indeed, the sensation of extreme stress can be extremely difficult to cope with due to both the psychological and physical symptoms it can give rise to.

Unfortunately, our psychological reaction to stress leads to physical symptoms which in turn worsen our mental state which, also in turn, intensifies yet further the already unpleasant physical symptoms we are experiencing. In this way, a VICIOUS CYCLE develops.

It is necessary, then, to break this vicious cycle before our symptoms spiral out of control and possibly lead to a panic-attack.

An effective way to do this is to use RELAXATION TECHNIQUES – these help us to reduce our anxiety and calm our physiological responses (e.g. pulse, blood pressure, muscular tension).

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One of the best known and most effective of such techniques involves controlled breathing coupled with a physical relaxation sequence. I give details of this below:

BREATHING:

Breathe slowly and deeply as follows:

– in through the nose, filling the lungs

– hold the breath in for 3-6 seconds (this will be extended to 10 seconds during the relaxation sequence (see below).

– breathe out through mouth, emptying the lungs

2) Keep this slow and deep breathing-style going during the following physical relaxation sequence :

THE RELAXATION SEQUENCE :

The tensing of the muscle group detailed below should take place during the IN-BREATH

The muscle group detailed should then be kept tense whilst you hold your breath for 10 SECONDS

The muscle group detailed should finally be relaxed during the OUT-BREATH

1) Toes

2) Calves

3) Thighs

4) Buttocks

5) Stomach

6) Biceps

7) Shoulders

8) Neck

9) Jaw

10) Forehead and eyes (tense by frowning and screwing together eyes)

11) Tense all muscles at the same time for 10 seconds, then relax

12) Close eyes, continue to breathe slowly and deeply, visualizing a peaceful scene of your choice; try to keep your concentration on this visualized scene for 30 seconds

13) After thirty seconds, keeping your eyes closed, tell yourself that when you open them you will be fully relaxed. Then open your eyes.

You may want to repeat these steps up to five to ten times.

RESOURCES :

STRESS BUSTERS – NHS

Hypnotherapy :

A particularly effective way of relaxing which utilizes techniques such as the above is hypnotherapy; the company I recommend for hypnotherapy products (including instant downloads) is HYPNOSISDOWNLOADS.COM (see the RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS SECTION of this site listed in the MAIN MENU) or click banner below :

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

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Copyright 2014 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

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