Basic Relaxation Instructions Adapted from Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
1. Position: Sit in a comfortable and quiet place. Try to sit as straight as possible. If you feel you must lie down, use the floor or other hard surface. Cover yourself with a blanket if needed.
2. Location: When possible, use the same place or activity to elicit the relaxation response. Remove all distractions, such as pets and phones.
3. Timing: If possible, attempt to practice at the same time each day. This will make it more of a habit. If not possible, just do it when you can. We don't want to and more stress to your life. However, discipline in this area may help you reduce your overall stress.
4. Keeping track of time: Allow your body to keep time. When you think the amount of time is up, check a clock or open your eyes rather than using some kind of alarm. Simply return to your focused object or activity if the time is not yet up.
5. Distractions: Since it is very normal for different thoughts to fill your mind, especially at the beginning, simply bring your mind back by acknowledging that you have wandered off. Refocus your attention without criticizing or judging yourself.
6. Physical exercise: Some who work out regularly find it easier to elicit the relaxation response after exercising. This is not required, however, nor is it universal.
7. Hunger: It may be difficult to generate the relaxation response if you are overly full or hungry. When possible, wait an hour or two after eating or have a light snack before beginning.
8. How often: Twice a day for twenty minutes each time is generally recommended for making the relaxation response an integral part of your life, especially at the beginning. But do as much as you can. Even a few minutes of relaxation can produce helpful results.
9. Expectations: Relinquish expectations you may have about your progress. At times your concentration and relaxation will flow easily, and on other occasions you may be quickly distracted or feel more agitated than when you began. The important thing is to keep practicing.