The RE-LAX technique was developed as a simple and quick method to enhance relaxation, manage stress, improve sleeping, enhance performance and wellbeing. It’s easy to learn and apply. It just involves slowly breathing in through your nose, and out (through your nose or mouth, the choice is yours) whilst saying in your mind the word ‘Re’ as you breathe in, and ‘Lax; as your breathe out. With practise, matching your breathing with the word ‘Re-Lax’ can quickly create a relaxed state.
For your first go, it is recommended that the exercise lasts no more than 3 to 5 minutes so that you can reflect on the experience. Subsequent relaxation sessions can last longer.
The RE-LAX Technique
Step 1: Make yourself comfortable in the seating furniture of your choice such as a chair. If you find closing your eyes aids relaxation, then you may wish to close your eyes for this exercise.
Step 2: If you would like to listen to the noises outside the room. And now listen to the noises inside the room. These noises will come and go throughout this relaxation exercise and you can choose to let them just drift over your mind or ignore them if you wish.
Step 3: Notice as you breathe, on each out-breath you feel more and more relaxed. This is quite normal.
Step 4: Now your in your mind say ‘Re’as you breathe in and ‘Lax’as you breathe out. For the next 3 to 10 minutes repeat this ‘Re-Lax’ exercise every time you breathe in and out.
Finish: In your own time, open your eyes.
With regular practise, using this technique will enable you to relax more quickly. The word ‘Re-lax’ can become the cue to quickly relax in situations you are finding stressful. Visit or ‘Cued Relaxation‘ webpage for more information.
© 2021, Stephen Palmer
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 of losing 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.
Citation: Palmer, S. (2021). The ‘RE-LAX’ technique and its application to the fields of coaching, counselling and stress management. Coaching Psychology International, 14(1), 31-35.