At the end of the day, before bed or a time when you don't need to be alert or anxious.

Find a peaceful environment with few distractions.

  • Relaxing may be easier an hour or two after meals.

  • Find a comfortable and relaxed sitting or lying posture so the muscles are as comfortable as possible.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Deeply relax all your muscles, progressively from the hands to the shoulders and from the feet progressing up to the top of the head. Let them stay relaxed.

  • If some muscles have not let go completely yet - progressively tense and then relax each muscle group.

  • Allow them to stay relaxed.

  • Breath through the nose.

  • Breathe like a baby from the lower ribcage using the diaphragm and abdomen instead of the chest. This is like the catching of the breath felt at the midriff in a yawn or sigh.

  • This activates the Para-sympathetic “rest and digest system” by performing its breathing rhythm.

  • The Sympathetic “arousal” system then switches off when it detects that the body is in a resting state and finds no emergency to deal with. (Both systems cannot operate at the same time).

  • Gradually increase the time between breaths by not hurrying each next breath

  • Breathe normally leaving some air in the lungs. (Deep breathing can leave insufficient residual carbon dioxide in the lungs, which can increase tension or unease.)

  • Imagine having a passive feeling of gratitude or satisfaction. Perhaps visit an old and satisfying memory to capture this feeling.

  • Then perform an exercise like one of the 6 below, letting go and allowing relaxation to happen at its own pace.

belly breathing
practicing abdominal breathing.

  • Place a hand on your abdomen, below your navel.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply.

  • Feel your abdomen rise beneath your hand as your lungs fill with air.

  • Exhale slowly.

  • Feel your hand sink inward as your diaphragm pushes the air out.

  • Continue to breathe this way, focusing on using your diaphragm instead of your chest to move the air in and out of your lungs.

following the breath

practicing slowing the breath

  • Inhale, counting to four until you feel filled with breath.

  • Hold this breath while counting to four keeping your throat and chest relaxed.

  • Exhale, counting to four until the lungs are empty.

  • Hold the exhalation while counting to four

  • Find a relatively slow relaxing count pace that is comfortable.

breath count
numbering each in-breath and out-breath.

  • Breathe easily and naturally.

  • Become aware of your breathing.

  • As you inhale a deep breath through your nose, think or say silently to yourself "1".

  • As you slowly exhale that breath, think to yourself "2".

  • As you inhale the next deep breath, think to yourself "3",

  • as you slowly exhale think "4".

  • Continue the count for a few minutes until you reach 50 or 100.

flowing breath
relaxing - quick stress relief.

  • Sit comfortably in a chair or floor or lie on the floor.

  • Place your right hand lightly over your heart, and your left hand lightly over your abdomen, just below your belly button. (or the other way around if you prefer)

  • Take a slow deep breath

  • Feel the breath entering and filling you as you inhale. Feel your left hand, over your abdomen, rising as the breath fills your abdomen, then feel your right hand, over your heart, rising as your chest fills with breath.

  • Exhale slowly and feel your left hand sinking as the breath leaves your abdomen. Feel your right hand moving as the breath leaves your chest.

  • Notice how your heartbeat beneath your hand gradually slows as your body becomes more relaxed.

whole-body breathing
a visualisation to build up the feeling of well-being.

  • With relaxed concentration, imagine the entire body inhaling and exhaling slowly.

  • Imagine breathing in through every pore in the skin.

  • Imagine your body is a sponge, soaking in the energy of the air through your pores.

  • Imagine breathing out all the impurities.

  • Imagine soaking up clean healthy energy.


a concentration exercise to shift the mind from logical, externally oriented thought and break the mind wandering chain of distracting thoughts.

  • Find a constant stimulus: a sound, word, phrase or prayer or mantra repeated silently or aloud; or gaze at an object like a candle flame.

  • Note any thoughts as they arise with interest and redirect attention to the repetition or to the gazing;


a reminder to notice how this feels now so it can be taken away to use later.

  • Finish the exercise after few to 20 minutes.

  • Sit quietly with eyes closed for a few minutes.

  • Sit quietly with eyes opened for a few minutes.

  • A few people feel ecstatic first time. Most feel calm and re­laxed with a feeling of pleasure, refreshment or well-being. Almost everyone will have lower, blood pressure, rate of breathing, carbon-dioxide elimination, and oxygen consumption even if this is only just noticeable.

With practice, the response comes more and more easily. Eventually when you want to relax quickly just start the exercise and the body will respond quickly or immediately.