Mindfulness & Relaxation Therapy

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In our busy, fast paced, competitive society we are exposed to a wide range of demands and expectations. Whether at school, work, home, on the road or amongst our friends, there is a constant pressure to coordinate things, perform, compete, prove ourselves and achieve results. For people with chronic illness and disability all this is further exacerbated by functional and psychosocial demands of their condition, and results in even more pronounced experience of stress. It is therefore not surprising, that so many of us experience ill effects of stress and stress related conditions, such as cardiovascular problems, depression and anxiety disorders.

 

The survey on Stress and Wellbeing in Australia conducted by the Australian Psychology Society found that as many as one in four Australians experiences moderate to severe levels of distress, with the rates being significantly more pronounced amongst younger people, aged between 18 and 35. In addition to this, almost one in seven Australians reports depression and anxiety symptoms in the severe to extremely severe range.

 

Regular practice of relaxation techniques is great for stress relief and for prevention of stress related conditions. Even a short period of deep relaxation can greatly improve your wellbeing.

 

The deep relaxation response required for the positive benefits to be experienced, cannot be easily achieved by simply resting in a recliner or relaxing in front of television. It requires a more structured, purposeful and regular practice of relaxation techniques.

 

This structured, purposeful, regular practice of simple relaxation and mindfulness techniques, with the assistance from Hypno-Link Therapist, is referred to as Mindfulness & Relaxation Therapy.

RELAXATION AND RELAXATION TECHNQUES

What is relaxation?

Relaxation is commonly defined as a psychological state when the body and mind feel very relaxed and is free from tension and anxiety. Apart from obvious outcome of addressing stress, the benefits of regular practice of relaxation also include:

• Slowing breathing rate
• Slowing heart rate
• Lowering blood pressure
• Improving digestion and maintaining normal blood sugar levels
• Reducing activity of stress hormones
• Increasing blood flow to major muscles
• Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
• Improving mood and concentration
• Lowering fatigue and improving sleep quality
• Reducing anger and frustration
• Boosting confidence to handle problems
• Reducing the symptoms of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia

Relaxation techniques used in Hypno-Link sessions 

Deep abdominal breathing. This relaxation technique involves listening to your breathing without changing its pattern, whilst keeping the hands on the stomach area and imagining it to fall and rise. This technique engages the diaphragm to assist the body in getting more oxygen in. It is therefore, a very good technique for addressing stress and anxiety.

 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation. This technique involves gradually tensing and relaxing all muscles in the body starting from feet and finishing on the head or vice versa.

 

Creative Visualisation. This method involves focusing on a breathing to induce a deep relaxation response. Once this is achieved, clients are asked to engage their imagination – to imagine a beautiful place or a pleasant situation along with all the positive sensations, feelings and thoughts that accompany this imaginary experience.

MINDFULNESS & MINDFULNESS TECHNIQUES

 

What is Mindfulness?

 

Considered as one of the relaxation techniques. Mindfulness as a practice is currently very popular in the Western society, with its origins traced well B.C.E in both Hindi and Buddhism teachings. Mindfulness has been introduced in the Western world in 1970s by Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Since that time Mindfulness has become a widely recognised, evidence based approach for addressing chronic pain and mental health conditions. Over the years Mindfulness has been indeed proven so effective that its principles and strategies have been incorporated into a wide range of modern psychotherapy practice models, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Dialectical Behavioural Model

 

Mindfulness can be best described as a state of an active, open attention on the present moment. When we are mindful, we are able to observe our feelings and thoughts without judgement and without becoming engrossed in them. We are able to experience ‘here and now’ without dwelling on the past or anticipating failures. This in turn assists us to better manage stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

 

Benefits of Mindfulness

 

There is a wide body of evidence confirming that mindfulness assists:

• learning how to be present in here and now and appreciate the small pleasures in everyday life.
• discovery of our own thought and mood patterns.
• learning how to stop the thought spiral that is an outcome of a bad mood or negative memories.
• the understanding of depression and why we get stuck in it.
• It supports a better, more balanced non-judgmental self-awareness.
• It provides an effective alternative to dealing with difficult emotions.
• It is proven strategy for a self-management of stress, anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness Picture no 4 to be placed where indicated

 

Mindfulness techniques used in Hypno-Link sessions

 

A Basic Mindfulness Practice. This involves focusing on breathing, before expanding attention onto the surrounding sounds; focusing on experiencing each thought and sensation without judgement, before returning to breathe again.

 

Three Minute Practice

 

Three-Minute Breathing Space. This technique involves concentrating to the thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise when trying to answer the question ‘how am I doing now?’ Following this, the attention is being re-focused on the breath and then on the bodily sensations and their effect upon the body.

 

Three Minute Listening Space. This involves focusing the attention on the sounds, concentrating how many sounds can be heard and what does listening to them feel like.

 

Three Minute Space for Sensations – spending three minutes concentrating solely on sensations within our body and the relationship of the body with the environment.

 

Three Minute Walking Space. This involves concentrating on the sensations in the body when engaged in a slow purposeful movement during this brief walking exercise.

 

Body Scan. This technique involves purposefully bringing attention to the breath and noticing every experience related to breathing, without judging or trying to change anything. After this is achieved, the participants are asked to scan each part of their body one by one, starting with the feet and finishing on the head area.

 

How techniques for Hypno-Link Mindfulness and Relaxation Therapy are selected?

 

The set of techniques selected by Hypno-Link during the Mindfulness and Relaxation Therapy is subject to clients’ specific situations, their preferences, likes and dislikes. It is also often dictated by clients’ specific stress responses.

 

People in the “fight” response. This refers to people who tend to become angry, upset or argumentative under stress. This group of people will be likely to respond well to calming activities, such as mindfulness activities, progressive muscle relaxation, deep abdominal breathing, or creative visualisation.

 

People in the “flight” response. This refers to people who tend to become withdrawn, confused or depressed under stress. They are likely to respond well to more stimulating relaxation techniques, such as brisk walking or mindfulness practice.

 

People experiencing the ‘immobilisation’ response. This refers to people with experience of trauma who are likely to become stuck or freeze under stress. These type of people will be benefit most from a mindful practice of physical activity that would assist them to move from the immobilisation response to either fight or flight response where various relaxation techniques would be able to be applied. The mindful physical activity for people in immobilisation phase should involve both arms and legs, for example Thai chi or dancing.

 

Hypno – Link Mindfulness and Relaxation Therapy purposefully uses techniques that are safe and easy to learn. Once mastered, these techniques can be practiced almost anywhere in between Hypno-Link’s sessions or as s self-management activities following the completion of the Hypno- Link’s Mindfulness & Relaxation Therapy.

 

Hypno-Link’s Mindfulness & Relaxation Therapy is provided in conjunction with psychological counselling. To obtain best benefits, the clients are couched to practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques along with other positive coping strategies, such as positive self-talk, self-reflection, journaling, behaviour modification via skill rehearsal and a wide range of other cognitive behavior techniques.

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