We know that problems with emotional wellbeing are particularly common in people with chronic health issues and that often people can experience stress and anxiety. These exercises are designed to teach you simple relaxation techniques to help manage some of these emotions more effectively. You can practise these relaxation exercises during a hospital admission as well as at home.
During your hospital admission, your psychologist may introduce and explain relaxation or mindfulness exercises and initially work through these with you. They may then suggest that you continue to use specific exercises independently.
Below are some important tips to remember when practising relaxation:
- Set aside about 15 to 30 minutes to complete the relaxation exercise
- Find a place where you can complete this exercise without being interrupted. If you’re using these in hospital, it is a good idea to let your nurse know so that, if possible, you will not be disturbed
- You do not need to be feeling stressed or anxious when you practise this exercise. In fact, it is better to first practise it when you are calm. That way, it will be easier to do when feeling stressed or anxious
- For the first week or two, practise the relaxation exercise once or twice a day until you get the hang of it. The better you become at it, the quicker the relaxation response will “kick in” when you really need it.
Please click on the links below to access the exercises. If you have any questions, please ask your psychologist or member of your healthcare team.
Guided beach visualisation
A guided relaxation exercise that focuses the mind and senses on the peaceful surrounding of a beach where you can feel safe, peaceful and calm.
Guided beach visualisation (MP3, 8.1MB)
Guided forest visualisation
A guided relaxation exercise that focuses the mind and senses on the peaceful surrounding of a forest where you can feel safe, peaceful and calm.
Guided forest visualisation (MP3, 10.4MB)
Peaceful place and muscle relaxation exercise
A guided relaxation exercise that focuses the mind and senses on a place where you can feel safe, peaceful and calm. This exercise will also use the mind to help with reducing any stress or tension in the body as well as feelings of worry or anxiety.
Guided place relaxation (MP3, 12.5MB)
Mindful breathing exercise
A mindfulness exercise. Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally. This can often be helpful when we are experiencing anxiety and worrying thoughts. The aim of this exercise is to experience a calm, non-judging awareness, focusing on the breath and allowing thoughts and feelings to come and go without getting caught up in them.
Mindfulness breathing (MP3, 9.4MB)
Progressive muscle relaxation
A guided exercise that integrates relaxation of the mind and body in order to reduce anxiety and tension that can build up in the muscles. The aim of this exercise is to gradually move through all the main muscles in the body, tensing and relaxing each muscle. When tensing each muscle, hold for no more than five seconds before releasing. If any muscle tension causes you any significant discomfort, release the muscle and continue with the rest of the exercise.
Guided muscle relaxation (MP3, 11.1MB)