Relaxation Techniques

Techniques for relaxation

Relaxation Techniques

Realizing and accepting your alcohol problem can cause a lot of stress, and quitting drinking can be
even more stressful. This handout provides instructions for 2 relaxation techniques to help relieve some
of your stress. You may find that making a tape of the exercises may be helpful. Regular practice is the
key to having these skills ready when you need them!

Mental Imagery Relaxation
As you focus on your mental image more and more, you direct your attention away from anxietyprovoking
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply and slowly.
- Think of a place where you feel entirely safe and comfortable. Your place could be real,
such as a childhood tree fort or a waterfall you once visited. It could be imagined, like a
lush deserted island or in a castle high above the clouds.
- What does that place look like? What sorts of things are in your special place?
- What does that place sound like?
- Breathe deeply. Does your place have a particular smell? Imagine that smell.
- What does your place feel like? What is the temperature? Is it sunny or dark? Humid or
- Your special place will always be somewhere you can go whenever you are scared or
sad. You can also go there to simply relax.

Physical Relaxation
By learning to relax your body, you can concentrate on feeling good and dealing with unpleasant
emotions and experiences.
- Sit or lie comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Breathe slowly and deeply.
- Concentrate on feeling the air move in and out of your body.
- Concentrate on your toes. Relax them. Feel all the tension leave your toes, one by one.

Physical Relaxation (continued)
- Feel yourself breathe slowly and deeply.
- Relax your feet. All the tension in your feet is disappearing.
- Now the tension in your calves in disappearing.
- You are breathing deeply.
- A soothing feeling is rising through your legs and knees to your thighs.
- Your legs are completely relaxed and free of tension.
- Breathe deeply. Feel the air glide through you.
- Now your pelvis is relaxing. The muscles are growing free of tension. The soothing
feeling is moving through your buttocks. Feel your buttocks relax.
- The muscles in your belly relax now.
- Feel yourself breathing deeply as the tension in the lower half of your body disappears.
- Now the tension in your back begins to disappear, starting from the bottom and working
- The soothing feeling wraps around your chest and neck and extends down your arms.
- All tension leaves your arms and hands. You are feeling very relaxed now.
- All the while you are breathing deeply.
- All the muscles in your neck relax.
- The soothing feeling moves through your face.
- All of your facial muscles relax as you breathe deeply and feel the tension disappearing
from your body.
- You are now completely relaxed. Your body and mind feel free and without tension. All
of the unpleasant feelings are gone.