Developed by psychiatrist Johannes Schultz, autogenic training is a simple and highly effective stress-reduction technique. Schultz noticed that when you are deeply relaxed your body feels heavy, and he found that just imagining your arms and legs becoming heavy sends a message to your muscles to relax and let go.
Allow at least ten minutes to complete this exercise.
1 Dress in warm comfortable clothing. Lie down, placing a small pillow under your head and knees. First take some deep relaxing breaths. Rest your hands on your stomach and calmly and slowly inhale for a count of three; feel your stomach rising. Then exhale through your mouth for a count of five. Repeat 15 times.
2 Now focus on your dominant arm. Visualize it getting heavy then say to yourself ‘My arm is getting heavy’. Spend the next 10-15 seconds focusing on its weight. Feel your arm sinking into the floor. Repeat twice more. Then do the same with your other arm, then with each leg.
3 Return to your first arm and repeat the sequence, but this time say to yourself ‘My arm is getting warm’.
4 Repeat for the whole of your body.
5 Now focus on your forehead and say to yourself ‘My forehead feels cool.’ Remain focused on your forehead for a minute then say to yourself ‘I feel refreshed and relaxed’.