Mindfulness and relaxation resources

Mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that is designed to experience awareness in the present moment. The following mindfulness meditation exercises focus on the mind, body, emotions, and breathing. The narrative and the visual imagery are designed to assist with awareness and practicing being present.Mindfulness practice has been demonstrated to promote clarifying emotions, reducing stress, managing chronic pain, improving overall well-being. Regular practice is essential to lasting change.

Mindfulness group practice is available in the Student Wellness Education Lower Lounge (MUSC B118) and in the Mindfulness Centre located in the David Braley Athletic Centre.

Guided Mindfulness Videos

Relaxation

History: the heritage of most modern relaxation techniques stems from the meditative practice of Eastern religions.

Methods: Meditation, Guided Imagery, Autogenic Training (Schultz, 1932), and Progressive Muscle Relaxation (Jacobson, 1939)

Theoretical Foundations:

Meditation: original theories are centuries old and stem from religious philosophy. Contemporary theory classifies meditative experience into concentrative and receptive. Receptive refers to openness to all thoughts and sensations that occur. Concentrative involves directing and fixing attention on a stimulus. The most common form of this type of meditation involves the use of a mantra.

Guided Imagery: though used clinically, little is known regarding the underlying physiological and psychological effects of this practice. Lichtstein (1988) recommends using Lang’s model for understanding arousing imagery to research the relaxation response that results from imagery.

Autogenic Training: this practice combines somatic focusing with a pleasant mental scene. The experience of relaxation stems from reduced afferent stimulation, repetitive phrases, and passive concentration.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: involves sequentially tensing and relaxing the large skeletal muscle groups. Muscle relaxation is achieved by noting the contrast between the state of tension and relaxation and by increasing discernment of muscle groups that are prone to carrying tension.

Clinical Applications: anxiety, phobias, depression, phantom limb pain, hypertension, heart disease, Raynaud’s disease, diabetes, hemophilia, headache, dysmenorrhea, childbirth preparation, cancer, drug abuse, athletic performance, seizures, sexual dysfunction, asthma, and general well-being.

Guided Relaxation Audio

Transcript:

We will review diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training and guided imagery. When using this recording find a quiet, secluded place free of distractions and assume a comfortable position either lying on your back, sitting in a reclining chair, or sitting upright with your feet flat on the floor with your back straight. Remember to loosen your collar and belt, take off your glasses, remove your contacts, rest your hands comfortably on your lap or on the arms of the chair.

Become aware of your breathing.

Place one hand on your upper chest and one on your stomach. Take a breath and let your stomach swell forward as you breathe in and fall back gently as you breathe out. Get a steady rhythm going, take the same depth of breath each time.

Your chest should have little or no movement. Try and take the same depth of breath each time you breathe in. Try to slow your breathing rate down by putting a short pause after you’ve breathed out and before you breathe in again.

Count to three when you breathe in, pause, and count to three when you breathe out. Notice your breathing developing a nice slow rhythm. Breathing in and breathing out.

Continue this pattern of breathing over the next 5-10 minutes.

Transcript:

Progressive muscle relaxation is designed to contrast tension and relaxation in order to develop body awareness and relaxation skill. Find a low distraction environment and sit comfortably in a chair or on the ground. You are invited to partcipate by light tensioning of specificed muscle groups for 15 seconds followed by slow deliberate release for 30 seconds.

Let’s begin. Sit comfortably, take several slow deep breaths and notice the chair and the floor supporting your body and feet. Allow your head to balance weightless between your shoulders.

Shift attention to your face slowly increasing tension in your forehead (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your face slowly increasing tension in your jaw (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your neck and shoulders slowly increasing tension as you raise your shoulders toward your head (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your arms and hands slowly drawing your fingers into a fist and pulling your fist toward your chest (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your buttocks slowly increasing tension (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your legs slowly increasing tension in your quadriceps and calves (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Shift attention to your feet slowly increasing tension in your feet and toes (15 seconds)
Slowly release tension over a period of 30 seconds until all tension has left the muscles. Notice the feeling of relaxation as you continue breathing slowly and evenly.

Enjoy the relaxed feeling washing over your entire body as you breathe slowly and evenly.

Adapted from: http://www.guidetopsychology.com/pmr.htm

Transcript:

The essential elements of autogenic training include self-statements regarding heaviness and warmth.

Let’s begin. In your mind, repeat quietly to yourself: 

I am completely calm (once)
My right arm is very heavy (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My right arm is very warm (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My heart beats calmly and regularly (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My breathing is calm and regular (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My abdomen is flowingly warm (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My forehead is pleasantly cool (six times)
I am completely calm (once)
My forehead is pleasantly cool (six times)

Enjoy the relaxed feeling of warmth and heaviness.

You may repeat this cycle ten to thirty times.

When you’re ready, repeat quietly to yourself: Arms firm, breathe deeply, open eyes.

Taken from: http://www.hscti.com/autogenictraining/autogenic.html#

Transcript:

Dr. Nathan J. Cooper, C.Psych.

The following script is punctuated by long pauses (up to 10 seconds) and should be read by a friend or in to a recording device using slow even speech that is almost monotone in nature. The entire script may take up to ten minutes to complete.

Breathe slowly and deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Allow your ribcage to expand fully on inhale and gradually empty on exhale. Continue slow deep breathing noticing yourself becoming more and more relaxed…… more and more calm……. relaxed and calm.

Use your five senses to enrich the following experience; allow your mind to generate a personal oasis……

Imagine yourself on a beautiful sandy beach….. Notice the soft white sand….. Notice the shades of blue in the water….. Notice the blue sky with soft white clouds rolling slowly past….. Notice the lush tropical plants and flowers……

Listen to the sound of the breeze blowing gently in the trees….. Notice the sound of the waves rolling slowly to the shore….. Notice the sound of the birds softly calling…..

Feel the sunshine warm on your skin…..

Notice the warm sand underfoot….. and the cool breeze on your hair and face…..

Smell the fresh ocean scent……

Notice the sweet fragrance of tropical plants

Notice a pleasant taste in your mouth…… perhaps from a tall cool drink……

Notice yourself relaxed and calm…… relaxed and calm…… relaxed and calm……

Enjoy the feeling of relaxation……

Notice as it moves from the top of your head slowly down your face…… neck…… shoulders…… chest…… arms…… abdomen…… legs…… knees…… shins…… feet…… toes……
Notice yourself relaxed and calm…… relaxed and calm…… relaxed and calm……

When you are ready slowly open your eyes refreshed and awake.

Used successfully in preventing and treating high blood pressure, heart disease. and stroke as well as decreasing obsessive thinking, anxiety, and depression. Requirements: a quiet place, comfortable position, repeated auditory stimulus, passive attitude. Passive attitude is a key element. Thoughts and distractions often intrude into meditation. When they occur they can be held in awareness and let go of in order to return to the meditative practice. Common styles of meditation include:

  • Attending to the surrounding noises with eyes closed while saying “I am aware of all the sounds that surround me.”
  • Breath counting meditation that involves saying, “one” while exhaling and “two” while inhaling.
  • Mantra meditation, which involves repeating a syllable, a word, or a phrase.
  • Yantra meditation, which involves focus on an image, a geometric figure, or a symbol of personal relevance.

It is recommended that meditation be practiced regularly in order to achieve the desired sense of inner peace.

Davis, M.; Eshelman, E. R.; & McKay, M. (1982). The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Lichstein, K. L. (1988). Clinical Relaxation Strategies. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Smith, J. C. (1985). Relaxation Dynamics. Champaign, Il: Research Press.