Relaxation techniques


How do you relax?


How often do you relax? I mean really relax - not just a snatched cup of coffee and five minutes in front of the television but a complete unwind. Sadly, few of us do it often enough.

Relaxation is vital to health and wellbeing - everyone needs to recuperate both during and at the end of a busy day. If you do not give yourself time to relax, you could develop some of the stress symptoms we discussed in Part One. Relaxation helps you to focus on the present or, as Zen Buddhists believe, you become present in the moment and unconcerned about the past or the future.

It is only comparatively recently that the benefits of relaxation have been acknowledged by doctors and psychologists. Relaxation is now recognized as an important aid to creativity - often, it is when we relax that solutions to problems and good ideas seem to pop into our heads as if by magic. All too frequently, however, many of us turn to inappropriate aids to help us relax - tobacco, anti-depressants and copious amounts of alcohol are perennial favourites. While resorting to drugs may seem to provide a short-term answer, they are no more than a quick fix and can have very serious detrimental effects on health in the long-term.

In this article there is a questionnaire which will enable you to discover just how well - or badly - you relax at the moment. Following this, there is an introduction to the relaxation audio and information on a variety of relaxation techniques. When you get to the exercises, the key to success is to try not to try. You cannot force yourself to relax, so do not worry about how well you think you are doing.

How well do you relax?


Complete the questionnaire which is designed to give you an idea of how well you relax.

1: Are you able to concentrate on one problem at a time?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

2: Do you plan your day to include relaxing activities, e.g. a walk, listening to music, meeting friends?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

3: Are you able to shut out your worries when you go to bed?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

4: Do you adjust your body position when you are working to prevent tension building up?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

5: Do you regularly check yourself for tension habits, e.g. hunched shoulders, clenched fists?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

6: Do you plan your life to include changes of people, surroundings, activities?
Always
Sometimes
Seldom

Once you've completed the test click on 'Score my answers' to get your score before moving on to the next article.

Relaxation audio >>