Benson Relaxation Method

The following is a relaxation exercise from Dr Herbert Benson, in his book 'The Relaxation Response'. Give it a go, and see if you obtain any of the intended benefits.
Prepare to relax
Make sure you will be warm. Use a blanket or extra clothes if need be.
Sit quietly in a comfortable position.
Close your eyes.
Think about letting go of the tension in all your muscles, beginning at your feet and moving up to your face.
Keep the muscles loose.
Focus on your breathing
Breathe through your nose.
Become aware of your breathing.
As you breathe out, say the word 'one' silently to yourself (or another word, such as 'calm'., 'peace', or 'easy'.)
Breathe easily and naturally.
Don't try too hard
Do not worry about it if you are not good at reaching a deep level of relaxation – let it happen at its own pace.
Deal with distractions
Distracting thoughts will probably occur. Do not dwell on these. Just return to repeating 'one' (or your own word).
If you start to feel a little dizzy or breathless this will be caused by over-breathing because you are feeling anxious about doing it right. Just breathe out when your body naturally wants to and concentrate on saying your word.
If you notice a slight tension in your 'favourite spot' - your jaws, neck or scalp - this will be because you are trying too hard. Just let go - this type of relaxation comes when you are not thinking about it!
Bring your relaxation to an end
After relaxing for 10-20 minutes, begin to bring your relaxation to an end.
You may open your eyes to check the time but do not use an alarm, which will make you tense up again.
When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, at first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes open. Then stand up slowly.
Practise regularly
With practice the Relaxation Response should come with little effort. Practice once or twice daily but not for two hours after a meal. Digestion seems to interfere with the relaxation response.
It often helps to decide on a regular practice time and stick to it. It is easy to miss your practice if you do it at a different time each day.
For further tips and techniques, download our 'Top Ten Tips', or take a look at some further resources here. For more details of our one-to-one coaching or group training in managing pressure and preventing stress, you can contact us at our office in Reading, Berkshire on 0118 3283246 or via email.

We're helping organisations (see our client list) to save money every day, just in reducing sick absence costs and the costs of under-performance.

Get in touch now to start doing the same for your organisation today. Here are some example case studies demonstrating the benefits of investing in wellbeing.

Enter your name and email address to subscribe to our Newsletter
Contact Name:
Email Address:

Taking breaks is good for
you-but scheduling your
breaks is even better

Why does time seem to
speed up as we get older?

5 Reasons Its So Hard To
Think Like A Scientist

Meditation alters stress
genes: study

How to maintain your
emotional wellbeing
during tragic news events

'I am not naturally
magnetic': can you
learn how to be
charismatic?

Bored? Now you know
why

Low-dose THC (the main
psychoactive compound
in marijuana) can relieve
stress; more does just
the opposite 

Who will win the marital
stress test?

Think you're self-aware?
Think again

Do you have any idea
what other people think
of you?

Mindfulness and well-
being lessons can make
school pupils even less
happy, experts claim

Student resilience:
Exploring the positive
case for resilience

How food can improve
your mental health

Stressed? Think like a
kid

Cheerfulness top of the
charts for UK workers,
but stress is still on the
rise 

Theo Paphitis puts the
focus on employee
wellbeing with credit
union for retail

Why bad moods are
good for you: the
surprising benefits of
sadness

Only a quarter of people
with long-term mental
health problems are in
work

Are you getting enough
sleep?

Want to live twice as
long? Meditation might
help

The midlife health check-
list: how to maximise
your wellbeing in your
40s and beyond

A leisurely walk can
boost mood,
psychological wellbeing

How is coaching different
from other professions?

Retirement associated
with lower stress, but
only if you were in a top
job

Does ignorance have an
upside?

Psych students score
substantially lower on
'dark' traits than business
and law students 

Mindfulness leads to
less stressed staff and
better learning

10 Ways That Running
Changes Your Mind And
Brain

Dealing with stress in
the workplace: lessons
from the public sector

What I discovered after
using a standing desk
for 1 year

Experts excited by brain
'wonder-drug'

10-Minute Mindfulness
Meditation To Reduce
Stress

5 Signs Dating Apps
Are Affecting Your
Wellbeing And How
To Fix It

Neurogenesis: An
Overview

Secrets to a Less
Stressful Life

Get Happy: Four
Well-Being Workouts

One in four employees
with mental health
issues say work is the
cause

Learning is all about
biology

Can science explain why
I'm a pessimist?

A-Z of Mental Health
from the Mental Health
Foundation 

Five steps to improving
grit and resilience

New NICE Quality
Standards for healthy
workplaces (March 2017)

CIPD pages on Wellbeing

It's all the cuddling-
psychologists explore
why people who have 
more sex are happier

When good advice is best
ignored

5 Practices To Help You
Live A Happier, More
Present Life

Calm down! Anxiety is
contagious

How blackbirds help
us beat the blues

Does marine bio-
diversity have a
positive effect on
human wellbeing?

Developing managers
for engagement and
well-being (CIPD)

11 habits of mentally
strong people

How to identify your
strengths and 
weaknesses

Are you a defensive
pessimist?

5 ways to help build
resilience

Employee financial well-
being (CIPD)

Tackling work-related
stress using the HSE
Stress Management
Standards (TUC guide)

Rhythm of breathing
affects memory and fear

Two techniques for
enhancing self-esteem

The 6 Domains of
Resilience

The stress hormone
cortisol blocks
perceptual learning

A neuroscience-backed
strategy for success

Why Smart People Don't
Multitask

Think less, think better

Don't shoot the second
arrow

NHS Employers
Wellbeing pages

Negative emotions are
key to Well-Being

Copyright Stress Management Plus

SiteWizard.co.uk Web Site Design Company - eCommerce Software Shopping Cart Solutions