Relaxation techniques: numerical representations, Herbert Benson and muscle relaxation

Relaxation techniques: numerical representations, Herbert Benson and muscle relaxation


  • 1 What is the purpose of relaxation
  • 2 How to relax
  • 3 Numerical Representation Method
  • 4 Dr. Herbert Benson's method
  • 5 Muscle Relaxation Method

What is the goal of relaxation?

Relaxation is especially indicated in type disorders psychosomatic and in all those alterations in which anxiety or anguish It is the one that causes the functional disorders. As a psycho-prophylactic habit it could be indicated for the majority of the population in all those stressful situations of daily life such as exams, work stress, conflictive relationships, etc.

The fundamental objective of relaxation methods is the production under control of the subject of states of low activation of the autonomic nervous system. These low activation states are achieved as a consequence of the establishment of certain cognitive attitudes and activities. Their achievement will have a greater self-control of their emotional, behavioral and intellectual behaviors. You should not try to strive to achieve relaxation directly. Every attitude of effort or maintenance of an expectation of relaxation achievement will be counterproductive since it will contribute to producing a state exactly opposite to what is intended.

How to relax

The basic attitude must consist in eliminating all expectations of "to have to do"or"have to achieve". You should focus on the tasks described below, paying all possible attention to their performance and consequently trying to avoid any kind of representation outside the task.

It must be trusted that relaxation will occur as a side effect to the completion of the task.

A relaxation exercise is best done in a room with low noise and low light, preferably in a supine position (face up) on a bed. However, some of them can be done sitting and in conditions of varying noise and brightness.

Numerical Representation Method

The method of numerical representations It aims to achieve a correct psycho-emotional self-control in specific stressful situations.

This quick and simple technique to reduce anxiety consists in mentally representing the number 10,000, preferably so that it is drawn as on a blackboard in the field of consciousness. Two units are subtracted from this number and we represent the resulting number, that is 9,998. Two other units are subtracted and the following resulting number is represented. This activity should be done repeatedly for 15 minutes, until the negative thoughts disappear from our mind.

Dr. Herbert Benson's method

Herbert benson He is one of the most prominent scientists who began the study of transcendental meditation, and has tried to demystify it by providing the following simple instructions to achieve relaxation:

  1. Sit or stretch silently in a comfortable posture.
  2. Close the eyes.
  3. Thoroughly relax all the muscles of the body leaving them "loose", resting on the surface where we are, as if we had the feeling that this part weighs more than the bill.
  4. Start with the feet, think that they are weighing us, that they rest freely on the sofa, bed, etc., slowly and progressively advance this feeling of heaviness with the rest of the body: the legs, hands, arms, abdomen ( feel that the whole back is resting on the surface where we are) and so on to the muscles of the face. Keep them relaxed.
  5. Breathe through the nose. Become aware of the breath. As you aspire, tell yourself the word "one," then "two," and so on. Breathe naturally, not deeply.
  6. Continue for ten to twenty minutes. They can open their eyes, to check the weather, but not use an alarm clock or an alarm system. When finished, remain seated for a few more minutes, first with your eyes closed and then open. Do not get up until a few minutes have passed.
  7. Don't worry about getting a level of deep relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and let the relaxation come at your own pace. If disturbing thoughts appear, you should try to ignore them by not taking care of them and repeating "one." With practice, the answer will come with hardly any effort. This technique should be practiced once or twice a day, but not during the two hours following a meal, because the digestive processes interfere with the emergence of the relaxing response.

Muscle Relaxation Method

This technique It includes very simple and precise exercises in total about twenty minutes of development. Many people have found it useful to deal specifically with feelings of anxiety and nervousness, but it is also an effective way to relax after a tiring day. For best results, you must choose a place where you can lie. It is important to complete the exercises without falling asleep, although you will probably want to sleep at the end of the relaxation period.

To start, loosen any type of clothing that squeezes it and take off your shoes. Now lie down. Throughout the exercises you will gradually relax every part of your body, starting with the feet and ending with the muscles of the face.

The same instructions apply to all body parts, which are as follows:

  • Close your eyes and strain a part of your body (for example, the feet). Maintain this tension until you count 5. While counting, try to increase the tension: 1 (strong), 2 (a little stronger), 3 (even stronger), etc. to the maximum I can.
  • Take a deep breath and in doing so release the tension you had taken. Repeat: relax, relax, relax.
  • Concentrate successively on each part of your body. In each phase, tense and relax the muscles according to the instructions:
  • Feet: Crimp your feet and strain them vigorously, stay that way for a few seconds. Relax them.
  • Ankles: direct the tips of your feet towards your body and tense the calf muscles while maintaining tension. Relax.
  • Buttocks: strongly push the buttocks against the chair, sofa, bed or floor. Relax.
  • Abdomen: Tense your abdomen as if expecting to fit a punch in the stomach. Relax.
  • Chest: Tense your shoulders by squeezing the palms of your hands against each other. Relax.
  • Shoulders: Tense your shoulders shrugging them as high as you can. Relax.
  • Throat: Tighten your throat by sinking your chin in your chest. Relax.
  • Nape and head: press with the nape of the neck and the head against the back of the shoulders. Relax.
  • Face: Wrinkle your forehead and squeeze, then relax. Wrinkle your eyebrows and squeeze, relax. Close your eyes tightly, relax. Squeeze the jaws and teeth, relax. Squeeze your lips vigorously and then let them slowly open.
  • Observe at all times the contrast between tension and relaxation.
  • Now, with your eyes still closed, experience the energy that your body is providing: a feeling of power and heat, perhaps even a slight tingling. Finally, return to each part of your body, simply tell it to relax five times. Do not tense the muscles. Try to get deeper relaxation. As you repeat the word "relax," let your mind empty itself of thoughts.

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