As a meditation teacher, one of my most common requests I receive is for some simple relaxation meditation techniques and scripts that help people to unwind.
Most people come to meditation for relaxation. Sure, you know you can get significant health benefits from meditating, and that it can help with problems like stress. But deep down, I think the number one reason why people meditate is for sheer serenity, which mindful can provide in spades.
When you try the relaxation meditation techniques below you will find your stresses melting away as you truly relax into the present moment.
Link Between Relaxation and Meditation Techniques
We all know what is feels like to relax. It feels calm and tranquil, harmonious, and free of stress.
Relaxation is the psychological state of being in the moment without tension and without arousal from external or internal sources of anxiety, stress or fear. The Oxford Dictionary says that relaxation is when we are fee of tension. This is the opposite of chronic stress, which causes headaches, increased heart rate, and negative thoughts.
When we feel stressed the sympathetic nervous system is active and stress hormones like cortisol, adrenalin and norepinephrine are released, which cause the “fight or flight” response and makes our muscles tense. The body’s relaxation response is the opposite. Relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to create feelings of calmness and to relax the body.
Calmness is also associated with Alpha brain waves, which our waves that are active when we are aware but not focusing on anything in particular. These brain waves occur at 8-12 Hz.
Meditation, similar to mindfulness, is the practice of focusing the mind on the present moment without judgment. It is a psychological exercise stemming from Hinduism, yoga, and Buddhism, and recently evolved through the likes of Mindfulness Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.
A meditation for relaxation stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system to produce feelings of calmness and to relax the body and also balances vagal tone to produce feelings of wellness. A meditation, or guided meditation for relaxation, also increases Alpha brain waves to help us to calm down, according to research from The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).
Of course, meditation is not the only solution, there is also yoga, tai chi, qigong, reiki, relaxing music, affirmations, mantras and many more options.
Let’s look at how to meditate for relaxation, with the best relaxation meditation techniques.
10 Most Relaxing Meditation Techniques To Try
- Take a look at my guide to 31 meditation techniques for scripts to the relaxing techniques below. Thanks to these methods, I was personally able to relax and stop being neurotic!
10: Music To Unwind
There are thousands of hours of relaxing meditation music available on Youtube and iTunes. Whether you just want to take 5 minutes at work and put a relaxing youtube video on, or if you wish to spend an hour with your eyes closed at home, relaxing music is an excellent way of calming down.
9: Zen Walking For Calm
One of my favourite relaxation meditation techniques is Zen walking.
Walking is massively beneficial for our health and one of the most relaxing activities in the world, and Zen Walking makes it even better.
Odds are you probably already spend quite a lot of time walking. Whether you’re the outdoors type who loves to go on hikes, or, like many of us, you just have to walk to work. Because you’re doing it so much already, it’s a smart idea to start walking mindfully. All you need do is make an effort to be aware of your every step as you walk. Pay attention to the sensations in your legs, the sense of movement, as well as the scenery.
Again, for the script to this relaxing meditation, see the link above.
While you’re using relaxation meditation techniques, you might want to do Yoga too, especially the pranayama aspect, which combines Yoga with meditative breathing.
Combining Yoga with meditation is one of the best ways to promote the mind/body connection, which helps us relax both physically and mentally. You don’t need to be a Yogi, either. To be honest, you don’t really need to know much about Yoga. To perform this technique, simply learn a few simple yoga poses, then perform them while being mindful of your breath and focussing on the sensations in your body
7: Muscle Relaxation Meditation Technique
This is the best muscle relaxation meditation technique.
If you are feeling stiff in your muscles and need to let go of physical tension, a muscle-relaxing meditation is perfect. The best muscle relaxation meditation is simply lie down on the floor and begin to focus on your breath. Then start scanning your body gradually from tip to toe.
At various points in this scanning process, you will find that certain muscles are tense. When you get to these parts, focus on drawing your breath into that area. Observe your breath entering through your nose, reaching to the tense part of your body and relaxing it.
6: Breathing mindfully for tranquility
I find that meditating in bed is one of the best ways to promote inner calm. By meditating before bed, we let go of stresses from the day, improve sleep quality and allow ourselves to wake up the next day completely refreshed. It’s easy to do, too, simply spend ten minutes focusing on your breath before going to sleep.
5: Tai Chi
Tai Chi centres about observing breath passing through the body while performing relaxing and straightforward moves. I find that Tai Chi is the number one way to promote the mind/body connection. It is also one of the best ways of relaxing, both physically and mentally. The slow and smooth moves encourage mindfulness while also releaving bodily tension.
4: Binaural beats & guided meditation
Binaural beats and guided meditation are soothing and straightforward ways to unwind. And there are many excellent examples of both on Youtube. All you need do is close your eyes and listen. No effort required.
3: Mantras (Japa)
Mantras involve meditating on a specific spiritual phrase. A relaxing mantra might involve focusing on the words “I am feeling calm an relaxed, free as a bird.” Naturally, this is just an example. You may choose whichever mantra works for you. By focussing on a positive and relaxing line, we get our mind to think in relaxing ways, thus promoting inner calm and relaxation. A great mantra for relaxation is “Om.”
I simply love Taoist meditations. And the research shows that Taoist meditations are very relaxing.
Techniques like Tai Chi, QiGong and Zhuangi (a breathing technique) are powerful ways of tending to the mind and cultivating inner peace.
You can find a complete list of Taoist methods in the link at the top, along with the meditation scripts so you can relax!
1: Guided Meditation For Relaxation
There are lots of good relaxing apps that include relaxing guided meditation scripts and audio.
Guided meditations use audio scripts specially written to guide you towards relaxation and inner peace.
Guided meditations are great. And especially for beginners. I often think that guided meditations are like a visit to the spa. They are quick and easy. Just make sure you also use other meditation techniques alongside guided meditations.
Benefits of relaxing and meditating
Scientific research confirms that we are at our best when we are relaxed. Just take a look at this list of the benefits of relaxation.
- Slows heart rate
- Massively reduces anxiety
- Helps us to overcome depression
- Increases blood flow to major muscles
- Reduces muscle tension and chronic pain
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves concentration and mood
- Helps with maintaining normal blood sugar levels
- Reduces anger and frustration
- Boosts confidence to handle problems
- Reduces activity of stress hormones
- Slows breathing rate
- Improves sleep quality
- Improves digestion
- Lowers fatigue
Our brains are at their best when relaxed too, largely because relaxation massively reduces stress.
Stress inhibits cognitive functioning and heavily impacts brain health.
When we are stressed, the brain released cortisol and adrenalin that is generally used for the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. When we are stressed, we fixate on whatever we are stressed about, and we become so singularly focused on the negative that we simply cannot function. At these times, the relaxing meditations that I have shared below come in handy.
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