In your quest to manage stress, you’ve probably tried a variety of things. You’ve reduced caffeine. Tried to increase your sleep. Stopped checking email after 7pm. Maybe you’ve also been drinking more water, and you’re taking time off.
So you’re doing many things right, and maybe you’re looking for another level of stress management strategies.
This is why I’d like to share more about autogenic training with you. Developed in the 1920’s, autogenic training is a form of self-hypnosis. Using visual and verbal commands to yourself, you change your breathing, body lightness and heaviness, and your body temperature.
This is a medication-free technique you can learn to manage your stress and improve your relaxation. You may be familiar with aspects of autogenic training such as progressive muscle relaxation, or guided visualization.
Standard autogenic training consists of six exercises which make the body feel heavy, warm, and relaxed. For each exercise, you get into a comfortable position (usually sitting in a comfortable chair or reclining.)
You focus your attention and then use your visual imagination and verbal cues to relax your body in specific ways.
Here is one video, leading you a deep relaxation technique:
As you can see, the process is one of focused verbal commands, as well as visual imagining. You can instruct your body to relax, you can slow down your breathing, and you can make your body feel warm and heavy, with practice.
(This is an effective technique to improve your sleep, too!)
The overall goal of the commands is to achieve deep relaxation and reduce stress.
Like any meditative or self-regulation technique, autogenic training requires practice. It’s not an immediate fix. To get proficient with it, you’ll need to practice for at least a few minutes, several times per day. You can learn the specific sequence of exercises through online training or directly from a teacher of this method. It usually takes 4-6 months to master all the exercises.
While autogenic training has many benefits, you can only know if it will work for you after you try it. It does offer a natural way to calm your body and calm your mind, and can improve your capacity for focus and meditation.
You can never have too many strategies to better manage your stress; because what works for you today may not work tomorrow, or if you are in a particularly stressful period of your life, you might need more than one strategy to cope.
If you feel you could benefit from additional strategies to manage stress and lower your anxiety, we can help! Give us a call at (716) 926-6009 or click here to schedule an appointment.