There are many ways to relax deeply. A simple method is described below. This is about total mental and physical relaxation; NOT drinking alcohol, smoking or watching television, all of which will increase stress, so are not really relaxation at all.

Find a comfortable place to lie or sit where you will not be disturbed.

Looking in front of you, notice three things (one at a time) that you see. Go slowly, pausing for a moment on each. It is preferable that they be small things, such as a spot on the wall, a door knob, the corner of a picture frame, etc. Some people like to name the items as they look at them – “I see the hinge on the door frame”. (If you don’t know the name for the thing, try “I see that thing over there.”).

Now turn your attention to your hearing and notice, one by one, three things that you hear. (You will notice that this allows you to incorporate sounds that occur in the environment rather than being distracted by them.

Make yourself aware of what you are feeling. Notice three things that you can feel. Again, go slowly from one to the next. It’s useful to use sensations that normally are outside of your awareness, such as the feeling of your shoes, the weight of your wrist watch, or the texture of your shirt.

Continue this using two sights, then two sounds and then two feelings. In the same manner, continue (slowly) with one of each. Then close your eyes.

Bring an image into your mind. Don’t work too hard at this. You can make an image or simply take what comes. It may be a point of light, it may be a beautiful beach, or it could be someone you know. If something comes to you just use it. If nothing comes, feel free to “put something there”. Give it a name.

Pause and let a sound come into your awareness or generate one and name it. Although this is technically the internal part, if you should hear a sound outside or in the room with you, it’s OK to use that. Remember that the idea is to incorporate things that you experience rather than being distracted by them.

Next, become aware of a feeling and name it. It’s preferable to do this internally – use your imagination. (I feel the warmth of the summer sun on my arms) However, as with the auditory, if you actually have a physical sensation that gets your attention, use that.

Repeat the process with two images, then two sounds, then two feelings. Repeat the cycle once again using three images, three sounds, and three feelings.