The mental and physical health benefits of mindfulness and relaxation practices are constantly reported in all kinds of media. Moreover, there is a strong evidence base providing support for these health benefits.
We know, for example, that mindfulness practices can change a stress response to a considered and calm response and in so doing equip us with improved coping strategies in a difficult or stressful situation. We know too that relaxation practices can enable our parasympathetic nervous system to respond. This is important as our modern way of life usually overstimulates our sympathetic nervous system creating an exaggerated alertness in our responses. In other words these practices can change our neurons and in so doing change our reactions. What’s more the effect of the practices are cumulative, so the more we do them, the higher the benefit.
Although mindfulness and relaxation practices appear simple, they are not always easy to do in our over hectic lives. However, the good news is we just have to do them and change will happen. To help you get started you may like to try this introductory six-week course providing a short weekly theoretical explanation with a related audio practice for both mindfulness and relaxation.
It is my hope that by understanding the practices and actually doing them you will find the practices that most suit you and thus bring them into your life in a useful way.
There are a total of 12 practices: six mindfulness and six relaxation practices. Each practice has a theory document and audio practice.
You can download the full audio and theory practices. It is good to continue with the same practices for one week before continuing to the next. For example, download Mindfulness audio one and Relaxation one and the theory behind each. Try to do both at the same time every day.
I can now sit in waiting rooms calmly and silently do one of my mindful practices instead of getting worked up about my test results.
I look forward to my daily relaxation, no matter what else is happening, I allow myself to have “time out” just for me – even my family members now tell me to go and do my relaxation as the benefits have been so great.