RELAXATION TECHNIQUES USING EXTERNAL SOUNDS
Here are a couple of techniques my clients found helpful over the years. If you had not done so already, please review the Blinking Induction technique explained on the Overcoming Insomnia post if you are looking for more effective relaxation techniques.
SOUND ISOLATION or SOUND EXCLUSION
I am often asked by students and clients if there is a way to relax without closing the eyes or doing extensive diaphragmatic (belly) breathing. Let’s face it, most of the time we need to decompress, we cannot engage in deep breathing, guided imagery, or systematic Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). Well about six years ago I came across a series of deep relaxation techniques that require the individual to use a focusing method utilizing careful listening. If this method works well for you, there are many other techniques from the same category. I did not create this technique. If I find out the name of its founder, I will definitely post it. Whoever this person(s) was, I would love for him/her to know that many people had benefited from this simple technique.
If you find yourself needing to decompress and relax, but closing the eyes is not an option, please consider doing the following:
1. Take one deep breath and turn on any music. If there is music in the background, great. Preferably, at least at first, try to utilize music that is soothing (Ex. Classical, New Age, Movie Score, etc.). Eventually, as you become more proficient in Sound Exclusion, any music aside from Heavy Metal should work.
2. Without closing your eyes, select either a musical instrument, or a particular musical beat. FOCUS ON IT. Exclude all other sounds from your consciousness.
3. If you catch yourself listening to the entire melody, REFOCUS on the instrument you had chosen or the particular musical beat. DO NOT FORCE the melody out of your consciousness. Just slowly refocus your attention every time you catch yourself listening to the entire musical piece.
4. As you begin to feel more relaxed, take a few deep breaths and continue with your day. If your catch yourself feeling tense again, repeat the technique.