Charles Emmrys PhD
Diaphragmatic breathing or tummy breathing is the single most powerful non-chemical relaxation technique that psychology possesses. It is simple to explain but takes a bit of time for it to figure out. It consists of breathing by moving your tummy only. This means that your rib cage is totally quiet and unmoving. A good way to learn tummy breathing is to lie down and place a book on your tummy. Then breath by making the book move up and down with your breath. Five deep tummy breaths will relax you for 20 to 30 minutes. The more you do it, the more powerfully they induce relaxation. Best to do throughout the day as often as you feel you need it.
Grounding exercises are exercises that are useful if you are in a highly anxious state and you need to decrease your anxiety quickly. This exercise is probably best done together with breathing. You would do the grounding exercise first and then the breathing.
The grounding exercises can be done anywhere and take very little time. They consist of the following:
In short, the grounding exercises are feel three things, see two things, smell one thing.
Meditation for psychologist can simply be defined as being awake and not thinking. If you are awake and not thinking, you are meditating. Being awake is pretty simple but not thinking while awake is a bit of a trick. There are various levels of meditation that psychologist will use. They vary from guided visualizations to focusing on body functions to the more difficult mindfulness exercises using no alternative centre for your attention. Let us here describe a middle of the road meditation technique. It is best done in the morning before breakfast.
Tension Release Exercises
The old saying is that it takes 5 minutes to teach meditation and ten years to master. Continue to work on it. Its relaxation value is not as powerful as tummy breaths but it lasts much longer 12 to 24 hours). This is the technique that has the lowest level of application (people usually give up on it after a few weeks or months). For those that stick with it, it does bring great relaxation benefits.
Nine Muscle Groups for Tension Release
The body has lots of old mechanisms to save energy. One of these is particularly useful for inducing relaxation and better quality sleep. Tensing and releasing muscle one group at a time sends messages to the brain that the time for work is over and that it is time to relax. Like tummy breaths, the more you use this technique, the stronger it gets. The best time to use this technique is bedtime or during relaxation periods in school.
The technique consists in tensing your muscles until they feel tired and then releasing them (letting them flop like a rag). You then proceed to the next muscle group. Usually, you can tense the muscle for a count of 20 to 100 depending on how quickly they tire. After you tense one group, you move to the other. The muscle groups are: