Relaxation Activities for Adults
Relaxing the mind
- Take slow, deep breaths. Or try other breathing exercises for relaxation.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Practice mindful meditation. The goal of mindful meditation is to focus your attention on things that are happening right now in the present moment. For example, listen to your body. Is your breathing fast, slow, deep, or shallow? Do you hear noises, such as traffic, or do you hear only silence? The idea is just to note what is happening without trying to change it.
- Write. Some people feel more relaxed after they write about their feelings. One way is to keep a journal.
- Use guided imagery. With guided imagery, you imagine yourself in a certain setting that helps you feel calm and relaxed. You can use audiotapes, scripts, or a teacher to guide you through the process.
Relaxing the body
- Try progressive muscle relaxation. This process involves tensing and relaxing each muscle group. Progressive muscle relaxation can reduce anxiety and muscle tension. If you have trouble falling asleep, this method may also help with your sleep problems. When you relax your muscles, your body gets the signal that it is okay to fall asleep.
- Take a walk or do some other activity. Making time to do things you enjoy can also help you relax.
A typical Body Scan runs through each part of the body, paying special attention to the way each area feels. The scan usually moves systematically through the body, e.g. starting at the feet and moving upwards as follows:
After the Body Scan is complete and the participants feel ready to come back to the room, they can slowly open their eyes and move naturally to a comfortable sitting position.
Five Senses Exercise
This exercise is called “five senses,” and provides guidelines on practicing mindfulness quickly in nearly any situation. All that is needed is to notice something you are experiencing with each of the five senses:
- Notice five things that you can see.
Look around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Pick something that you don’t normally notice, like a shadow or a small crack in the concrete.
- Notice four things that you can feel.
Bring awareness to four things that you are currently the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or the smooth surface of a table you are resting your hands on.
- Notice three things you can hear.
Take a moment to listen, and note three things that you hear in the background. This can be the chirp of a bird, the hum of the freezer, or the faint sounds of traffic from a nearby road.
- Notice two things you can smell.
Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant. Perhaps the breeze is carrying a whiff of pine trees if you’re outside, or the smell of a fast food restaurant across the street.
- Notice one thing you can taste.
Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, at this moment. You can take a sip of a drink,eat something, notice the current taste in your mouth, or even open your mouth to search the air for a taste.