For the most benefit, practice one or more of these relaxation exercises daily. After several weeks, you may begin to notice an overall decrease in tension, both mentally and physically.
To practice, find a time when you will not be interrupted (put a "do not disturb" sign on your door, turn off your phone, etc.) and a place where your body can be comfortably supported. A bed or cushioned floor are often best, but be sure to put something under your neck and knees.Otherwise, a firm, comfortable chair will work. It may help to lower the light in the room and to listen with your eyes closed as you work through an exercise. If your mind strays, gently bring it back to a focus on your breathing and the dialog in the exercise.
The exercises may be downloaded to an MP3 player. These MP3s are made possible by the Counseling Service with special thanks to communications studies major Steve Hogan '08, composer of the music:
The Progressive Relaxation Exercise (MP3) Recorded by Steve Sprinkle, former director of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Counseling Center, this exercise is loosely based on a technique described in Chapter 4 of the 5th edition of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, a best-selling self-help book.
The Combination Relaxation Exercise (MP3) Recorded by Bonnie Lambourn, one of the psychologists at the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Counseling Center, this exercise blends several relaxation techniques, which used together can have a synergistic effect in creating a deep relaxation experience. It is loosely based on Chapter 11 of the 5th edition of The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook.