Instant Relaxation Exercises

Learning instant relaxation exercises can offer great benefits to chronic insomniacs.

While I have covered breathing and relaxation techniques in this article, most of them require some time to go through step by step.

In the case of progressive muscular relaxation, if you start at your toes and gradually move up to your head, it can take a good 30 minutes to finish the whole series — longer if you want to be really thorough.

As for visualization techniques, it also takes a while to get through your scenario, especially if you use the journey and destination process I outline in that article.

And the breathing relaxation techniques in this article also take some time, because this exercise usually requires at least three or four breaths to reach the desired state of complete relaxation and oxygenation that makes you feel good.

instant relaxation exercises good for insomniaIt’s possible that sometimes you either don’t have the time for a long relaxation session, or you don’t have the patience or discipline to take yourself through all the steps. Instant relaxation exercises can fill the void at these times. They are shortcuts that can get you to a happy place a lot faster than you ever thought possible!

It’s important to go through all the steps of each relaxation therapy technique and to practice them as often as you can. This sets you up for being able to “feel the feeling” of true relaxation. You need to fully experience this before you can expect to achieve instant results with the shortcut versions. So if you’ve never really experienced full relaxation, keep practicing the long versions. After a couple weeks or so of consistent practice, you can begin to shorten them up substantially and get the same results in a shorter time.

Start with These Instant Relaxation Exercises

The Porthole

A porthole is a small round window on a ship’s body, and I’ve found it is a good visual image to use in instant relaxation exercises.

Step 1: Picture a small porthole in the middle of your torso, situated right between your stomach and your chest.

Step 2: Now take a few seconds to become aware of tension inside of your stomach and chest area. This is the most common place to feel stress and built-up tension.

If you like, you can visualize this tension as black smoke or white steam.

Step 3: Open up the porthole in your stomach area, then watch and feel all the tension rushing out through the porthole.

Step 4: Shut the porthole and feel tension building back up again. Then open it again and feel it flowing effortlessly out.

Step 5: Once you’ve accustomed yourself to the mechancis, leave the porthole open and feel tension flowing continuously out in a steady flow. You don’t even have to wait until it builds up… just feel a continuous flow until you feel completely relaxed. Then you can rest.

The Pipe

You can use a image of a pipe rather than a porthole for instant relaxation exercises. The nice thing about a pipe image is that you can make it any size you want, and plug it into any part of your body where you’re feeling the most tension. This even works for areas of physical pain.

Step 1: Insert the pipe (figuratively speaking, of course!) in any area where you feel tension. It can be your neck, the top of your head, your lower abdomen, your shoulders or your feet.

Step 2: As in the porthole exercise, feel and watch tension rushing out the pipe in the form of steam or smoke. It’s more important to feel it than see it, so if you’re not having instant results, it could be because you’re too focused on the image. Turn your attention to the feeling and turn off the image if you can’t focus on both at the same time.

Step 3:
Keep the pipe open for continuous release of tension for as long as you like. Anytime you feel tension build back up, it means you’ve let the pipe close, so simply release the “latch” and let it flow out once again!

Progressive Muscular Relaxation Shortcut

To do this instant relaxation exercise successfully, you will use your experience with progressive muscular relaxation as a foundation. So if you haven’t tried the “long” version, you can get acquainted in this article.

Step 1: Take a slow deep breath, using a count of 3 to inhale completely.

Step 2: Hold your breath gently (without straining any muscles) for about 3 seconds.

Step 3: Let your breath out slowly to a count of 3, and as you do so, feel tension leaving your whole body at once. You can help this along with a couple of visualizations:

a) Imagine your stress and tension as water. As you slowly exhale, feel this water flowing down from your head, neck, shoulders, torso, and back, and then down your legs through your feet. The tension-water then flows deep into the ground.

b) On the flip side, you can also imagine your relaxation as white light that enters your body through your head as you slowly exhale, and travels down to your feet in the same manner. Use whichever metaphor works for you, or (even better) get creative and make up your own!

Instant Relaxation Exercises Using Visualization

In the article about visualization techniques, I gave some suggestions on how to create a relaxing scenario using a two-part method called journey and destination. This exercise can take quite a long time to do in total, but you can shorten it up quite nicely. Here are some ways to do that:

  • First, let your mind go quickly through a scenario you’ve already created. Let’s just say you chose hiking uphill in the snow and sleet to a beautiful, sunny, yet comfortable, sleepy resort. (If you’ve seen the movie Shangri-La you can get an idea!)
  • Pinpoint the place in your personal “movie” that marks the transistion between your journey and destination. In other words, as you climb to the peak of the mountain, completely breathless and totally exhausted, you see this beautiful valley spread out before you.
  • Now take a mental picture of that exact point so you can come back to it whenever you want. Now it becomes a quick anchor for feeling very tired and very relieved. A half of minute focused on this image can recall that feeling whenever you need it fast.

How to Use Instant Relaxation Exercises for Lifelong Benefits

Practice often. What can I say? Nothing beats frequent practice. Relaxation is a learned skill just like driving, knitting or bricklaying. The more you do it, the better you get at it.

As you continue to become better acquainted with what relaxation feels like, you will be able to relax at will, instantly, in nearly any situation.

Just sitting and typing this, for example, I can feel some tension in my neck, shoulders and stomach. So just pausing for one minute, I straighten up, take a deep breath, and without any visualization at all, I can just feel tension draining out of those areas… simply because I focused my mind to do so. And took the time and effort, of course, to learn instant relaxation exercises.

It’s amazing what your mind CAN do when it knows WHAT to do, and has a chance to do it over and over again. So give yourself the gift of instant relaxation exercises, and you’ll never have to leave home without it!

Get some more ideas for Behavioral Causes and Cures for Insomnia.