Credit Valley Hospital

Updates and information

Relaxation Training

 

The audio files on this page are intended to be used for relaxation training purposes, to help you learn to relax deeply and completely. Please do not use when engaging in activities that require alertness or concentration, such as driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.

The following are some general instructions for learning how to achieve a deep state of relaxation.

Learning to relax is a skill that may be learned through practice at home. Typically one must practice twice a day for one to two weeks to begin to feel the full benefits of relaxation training. Some people notice a difference right away, and others may need to practice for several weeks before they begin to notice a change in how they feel in their bodies. Do not be discouraged if you do not notice a great difference right away. One of the biggest pitfalls in learning how to relax is stopping too early in the process. The following are some ideas to help you overcome the challenge of learning to relax deeply and completely.

First, in order to help you maintain your motivation to practice at home, it will help to remind yourself that you are learning this skill for a particular reason. It may be to control pain. It may be to help you sleep better. Or it may be to help you reduce feelings of anxiety or tension.

When you are practicing, be sure to select a place where you can work on your training undisturbed. Find a place that is quiet and free from distractions. It will also work best for you to be in a comfortable position, such as sitting in a reclining chair or lying on your bed. Loosen any tight clothing, remove your shoes, and remove any devices that may cause discomfort, such as your eyeglasses. During the session, feel free to move around as much as necessary to maintain your comfort level.

Try to focus your attention on the relaxation exercise. If your mind wanders during the exercise, that is OK just bring your attention back to the sound of the voice and your goal of achieving a relaxed state. Try not to fall asleep when you are practicing. You need to remain awake in order to develop the skill of relaxing deeply. Later, once you have learned the skill, it will be fine to fall asleep part way through, especially if you are using relaxation to help you go to sleep.

The more you practice, the better you will become at relaxing. It will take less and less time to achieve a state of deep relaxation. As you become more skilled at relaxing, try to use it in less comfortable and quiet places, such as a waiting room or at times when you feel tense or upset.

Following an audio version of these general instructions, there are three different relaxation techniques presented in these audio files. The first is relaxed breathing. The second is progressive muscle relaxation, also known as active relaxation. The third is guided imagery.


 

Download Files:

You can download these audio files to your computer and portable MP3 player:


right-click > Save as General Relaxation Instructions
(3.5 MB) - 3:40


right-click > Save as Relaxed Breathing
(2.6 MB) - 2:43


right-click > Save as Progressive Muscle Relaxation
(29.6 MB) - 31:11


right-click > Save as Guided Imagery
(8.6 MB) - 9:06