It Is A Good Idea To Try And Change Your Day To Day .

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RelaxationWhy is relaxation helpful?When we are stressed, our muscles tense up. This tensioncauses uncomfortable bodily feelings such as headaches andbackache. The aches and pains of tension can cause worry,making us even more anxious and tense. When we aretense/anxious our body system speeds up – relaxation slows usdown again.If we can learn to turn on the bodily feelings of relaxation wecan turn off the symptoms of tension. You can’t experiencerelaxation and tension at the same time.Everyday relaxationIt is a good idea to try and change your day-to-day activities insuch a way as to include something relaxing every day. It ishelpful to try and set aside some time every day for relaxingand unwinding. If possible this should be for a minimum of 30minutes a day. If you live with other people you might need totrain them gradually to accept that you would like to be leftalone at certain times each day. For some people justmanaging to have 30 minutes on their own every day canmake a great deal of difference.There are a number of things you can do that you might findrelaxing. You might have to experiment to see which has themost relaxing effect on you. Why not try some of thesesuggestions and see what effect they have on you. There maywell be some other ideas that suit you better. Try them and seewhat is best for you.2

Relaxing activities, some suggestions: have a long hot bathread an easy booklisten to some soft musiclie on your bed and imagine spending a million poundsyogago for a walkswimcycleExercisePhysical effort helps to reduce anxiety by using up some of thebuild up of adrenalin stress hormones. Exercise can thereforemake you feel better.Relaxation exercisesThese everyday activities can help you feel less tense, butlearning to fully relax your muscles will help you more. Thefollowing pages explain how to use the relaxation CD/tape. Tryit and see how you get on.Using the relaxation CD/tapeRelaxation is a skill and comes with practice.The ability to relax is not something that comes naturally; it is askill that has to be learned. The secret of learning any skill ispractice, and relaxation is no exception. It is important topractise the exercises on the CD/tape regularly. You shouldnot expect to be able to relax completely when you first startlistening to the CD/tape. Gradual progress over a number ofdays is a more realistic aim. Some people find that they feelsilly when they first start doing the exercises. However, theysoon get used to it and find them helpful in the long run.3

General guidelines: Try to decide in advance when and where you are going topractise; in this way you can develop a routine you are morelikely to stick to. Make time for yourself. Make sure that you choose somewhere quiet and that noone will disturb you during practice. You could unplug thephone. Don’t attempt the exercises if you are hungry. If you havejust eaten, leave it for at least 30 minutes before attemptingthem. Don’t attempt the exercises if the room is too hot or too chilly. Try to adopt a passive attitude; don't worry about yourperformance or whether you are relaxing successfully. Justhave a go and let it happen.Getting started:In order to use the CD/tape effectively, you should: sit in a comfortable chair or lie in a quiet room, possibly withthe lights off or on very low make yourself as comfortable and relaxed as possible beforeyou start to listen to the CD/tape listen to the instructions on the CD/tape and follow them stepby stepWhat is on the CD/tape?You will hear a woman’s voice and three different relaxationexercises.4

Exercise 1This exercise focuses on the different muscles inyour body and asks you to tense them and thenrelax them one at a time. It lasts about 15 minutes.Exercise 2This talks you through deep breathing by askingyou to take long, slow breaths. It lasts about 5minutes.Exercise 3This asks you to imagine that you are on a holidayand talks you through a variety of differentrelaxing scenes. It lasts about 8 minutes.How to finish:When you have listened through the CD/tape, continue lyingas relaxed as you can for five or ten minutes. Take advantageof the relaxed feeling and try to think pleasant thoughts. Whenyou get up, do so slowly. Do not jump up and rush off, as thiswill undo all the relaxation that you have just worked on.KEEP PRACTISING YOUR CD/TAPE. TRY TO PRACTISE EVERY DAY.When you are used to the exercises and feel comfortableabout them, read section two of this booklet.5

Section two – using what you have learnedShortened relaxationIf you have been doing Exercise 1 and feel confident, you canbegin to shorten it by missing out the 'tense' stage. You cansimply go through the sequence of relaxing the differentmuscle groups. When you feel that you can do this effectively,you can adapt the routine to use at other times and otherplaces. For example, you might try the exercise sitting insteadof lying down; or you might move from a quiet bedroom to theliving area, which is not so peaceful. In this way you willgradually learn to relax in a range of environments, which iswhat you need for real-life coping.Cued relaxationWhen you are able to use the shortened relaxation you canbegin to use your relaxation skills throughout the day and notjust at your designated “relaxation time.” In this way, you willprogress towards being able to relax at will. All you need forcued relaxation is something that will catch your eye regularlyand remind you to: change your posture to a relaxed one, drop your shouldersrelease the tension in your musclescheck your breathingrelaxAs a cue, or reminder, you could use a small, coloured spot onyour watch or something else you look at regularly during theday. Every time you see the cue, you will be reminded to relaxand so you will be practising your relaxation skills several times aday. There are all sorts of cues you might use. Work out whatcatches your eye frequently and use this as a reminder.6

Applied relaxationThe final stage of relaxation training is its application wheneveryou need to use it. With time and regular practice, relaxationwill become a way of life and you will be able to relax at will.From time to time you will probably still feel some tension, whichis normal, but now you will have a better awareness of it andthe skills to bring it under your control.SUMMARYA final wordRelaxing is about slowing things down. Everyone is different –experiment until you find your best way to relax.Ten minutes 'out' of a busy day is a good investment for yourhealth and well-being.Breathing exercisesIf you start to feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious,controlling your breathing can be a very good way to makeyou feel calmer. Nobody will notice you are doing thisexercise. You can use it anywhere, even in busy shops, onbuses and when you are with other people.STEP 1:breathe outSTEP 2:breathe in slowly to the count of four, 'one elephant, 2elephant, 3 elephant, 4 elephant'STEP 3:hold your breath for the count of fourSTEP 4:breathe out slowly while counting elephantsRepeat the above steps until you begin to feel calm.7

Remember, don’t take too many deep breaths in a row orbreathe too quickly, or you will become dizzy.Take a few ordinary breaths in between the deep ones.Further helpHelplinesSamaritans - confidential support for anyone in a crisisNational Helpline (24 hours a day)Tel: 116 123E-mail [email protected] (answer within 24 hours)Local Branch21 West Port, Selkirk, TD7 4DGBreathing Space – mental health helpline(Weekday, 6pm-2am)(Weekend, Fri 6pm-Mon 6am)Tel: 0800 83 85 87Useful WebsitesFor local classes, visit your local library. Your local newspapermay also have this ess/relaxationtechniques-for-stress-relief.htm(A website which provides information on various elaxation-tips/#.XhDoUVX7TIU(A website which provides information on various w.napiers.net8

BooksButler, G, Grey, N,and Hope, T (2018) Manage Your Mind, ThirdEdition Oxford ISBN: 978-0198747277An excellent self-help textbook with chapters on all majorproblem areas and a good Cognitive Behavioural Therapyandproblem solving approach.Weekes, Claire (2015) Self Help for your Nerves HarpercollinsISBN: 978-0722531556 (Emphasises coping with physical aspectsof anxiety and panic.)Wilson, Paul (2016) TheLittle Book of Calm Penguin LifeISBN: 978-0241257449Worwood, Valerie Ann (1997) The Fragrant Mind BantamISBN: 978-0553407990 (An easy read.)Worwood, Valerie Ann (2016) The Complete Book of EssentialOils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded, 25thAnniversary edition New World Library ISBN: 978-1577311393Collard, Patrizia (2014) The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutesa Day to Less Stress, More Peace Gaia Books Ltd ISBN: 9781856753531Apps for mobile phone and tabletsA range of self-help apps are available for your mobile phoneand tablet. Some of these apps are free of charge, whilstothers have a cost attached depending on the developer.Please use the link below to view some suggested self-helpapps for different mental health mental-health/9

To cut out and keep: -------------------------------Controlling your breathingTHINGS TO REMEMBER breathe in slowly to the count of four, "one elephant, 2elephant, 3 elephant, 4 elephant"hold your breath for the count of fourbreathe out slowly counting elephants10


Booklets/leaflets available on the sionHyperventilationLossOCDPanic (short version and long version)PhobiaHow to solve problems: a simple DIY yCopies of any of the above booklets are available todownload/print Black, R Donald, M Henderson 2005NHS BordersDeveloped with assistance from: The National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well Beingwww.wellontheweb.netRevised Jan 2020Review Jan 2021SH9.1112