Relaxation Techniques Beginning: Turn on some soft music in the background to set the stage. Let’s spend the next 10 minutes practicing relaxation strategies. We will discuss three ways to relax, deep breathing; tensing and relaxing muscles, and visualization. 1. Deep Breathing Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. The person next to you should be able to hear your breathing. Breathe in four counts, breathe out 8 counts. Put your hand on your stomach and feel the flow of your breathing. 2. Tensing and Relaxing Muscles: Everyone lean back in your chair in a comfortable position. Now, everyone tense up your muscles as hard as you can. Make sure you’ve got all the muscles in your legs, arms, neck shoulders really hard and tense. OK, hold it … now relax everything. Go through all your muscles starting with your neck, and make sure they are all relaxed now. Now tighten your shoulders, your arms and body, and your legs. After you guide them through the relaxation once, ask them to go through the exercise a second time on their own. 3. Visual Relaxation: Let’s all close our eyes, relax your muscles. Try to imagine that you are lying on the beach. You can hear the ocean. It is early in the morning and the sun is just beginning to rise. You can feel it begin to touch your toes. Your toes feel the warmth of the sunlight (Pause). The sun is rising a bit further now and you can feel the sunlight move up your feet (Pause). Continue in a similar manner. Describe the movement of the sunlight and the warmth over the entire body. When you have reached their heads, tell them they can now feel the warmth over their whole bodies. Wait 20 seconds. After you guide them through the beach example once, ask them to go through the exercise a second time using their own experience.