Positive relaxation imagery or visualisation is used to aid relaxation and reduce emotional and physical tension. Co-authors of the book ‘Stress Management: A Quick Guide‘, Prof Stephen Palmer and Lynda Strickland, recommend picturing a pleasant scene, imaginary or real, such as being in a garden, walking through the countryside, your favourite holiday destination or whatever you find relaxing. They suggest a simple ten step approach.

Step 1: Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.

Step 2: If possible, reduce the level of lighting.

Step 3: Make yourself comfortable. Sit, or, if you like, lie down if it is safe to do so.

Step 4: Close your eyes and imagine your favourite place where you feel relaxed.

Step 5: Focus on the colours in your relaxing place.

Step 6: Now focus on one colour.

Step 7: Now focus on the sounds or silence in your place.

Step 8: Now focus on any smells or aromas in your relaxing place.

Step 9: Now imagine touching something in your relaxing place.

Step 10: When you are ready, open your eyes.

Stephen and Lynda suggest that if this method is practised on a regular basis, then most people become able to reach a relaxed state relatively quickly. It can also help people who are experiencing sleeping difficulties.
© 1995, 1996, Palmer and Strickland

Notice: Please check out our notice page about the use of techniques before using them. 

Do relaxation techniques have any side effects?
The National Center for Complementary Integrative Health (USA) state that Relaxation techniques are generally considered safe for healthy people. In most research studies, there have been no reported negative side effects. However, occasionally, people report negative experiences such as increased anxiety, intrusive thoughts, or fear oflosing control. There have been rare reports that certain relaxation techniques might cause or worsen symptoms in people with epilepsy or certain psychiatric conditions, or with a history of abuse or trauma. People with heart disease should talk to their health care providers before doing progressive muscle relaxation.