The phrase relaxation training might sound odd, but it’s meant to get a point across. Often, we don’t take relaxation seriously. You might think of relaxation as something you do at the end of the day, perhaps after all else is done. Or it’s something to do on the weekends, but not on each day of the week. In fact, relaxation training is meant to communicate that we need to train ourselves to relax. We need to learn a variety of relaxation techniques and use the ones that work for us on a regular basis. Relaxation training is meant to encourage the brain and the body to have stress-free experiences – most of the time.
Typically, when someone is facing addiction, their urge to use drugs or alcohol stems from stress. That stress may be caused by work-related concerns, financial issues, relationship problems, or a variety of other experiences. In recovery, although some of those concerns may or may not go away, what’s different is the way you respond to them.
For instance, in the past, you might have felt fed up with work and went home and drank a six pack of beer. The next morning you feel hung over, fatigued, and lethargic. You’re not going to be able to make it through the day. If you end up going home, it might mean a loss of pay for the day. And if that happens on a regular basis, you might find yourself with more and more financial pressure. In this case, the stressful incident at work and responding to it by drinking only brought more stress.
When a person learns to respond to the tension in their life in a relaxed state, they are more likely to make healthier choices. Furthermore, a study by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine revealed that approximately 7 out of 10 doctor visits are associated with a stress-related disorder. For those in recovery from addiction, stress can interfere with staying sober and become a trigger for relapse.
If you’d like to learn to participate in relaxation training, first consider the following relaxation techniques:
Deep breathing can be an essential tool, particularly right in those intense moments of stress, and especially when facing a craving for drugs or alcohol. Taking long and slow breaths can have a relaxing and calming effect.
Meditation is a very calming practice that invites a person to focus on one point. That could be the breath, a word repeated in the mind, or a spot on the wall. The resting of attention on one place can help relax a busy mind. Although meditation might be difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards.
You might call yoga meditation in motion. It is a practice that invites an integrated experience of body and mind. Its effects can be experienced immediately as well as over time.
Listening to soft music
When listening to music that is soft and slow, the brain and the body can immediately begin to slow down.
With use of guided imagery CD’s, a person can close their eyes and be guided to an imaginary beach, a rushing waterfall, a soft bed of grass or anywhere else in nature that is relaxing and calming.
As mentioned above, practicing one or more of these techniques on a regular basis can help with knowing relaxation throughout most of your day. Then, when a stressful moment arises, you’ll notice the tension you feel and relax yourself before making a rash or unhealthy decision.