Insomnia is becoming a frequent guest in our bedroom. We attract it ourselves, not being able to rest, “unload” consciousness and be distracted from the hustle and bustle of the past day. But it is relaxation that serves as the basis for a healthy, sound sleep. Of course, it’s hard to force yourself to calm down on command. But gradually you can learn it! One has only to master the basics of auto-training.
Autogenic training (auto-training) is a whole system of self-hypnosis and self-regulation techniques. We use their elements in everyday life, without even noticing it: we are trying to convince ourselves to quit smoking or abuse alcohol, to force us to overcome the fear of heights, etc. Unlike such simple mental “persuasion”, auto-training is based on relaxation. Only by calming down mentally and physically, you can tune your body to a restful sleep.
By helping us fall asleep, auto-training in general has a positive effect on human health. It allows you to relieve fatigue and overwork, overcome the symptoms of impending stress, relieve irritability, restore strength and peace of mind. Having learned to relax and give rest to the nervous system, you will much more easily control your own body, overcome diseases and ailments. And a bad mood will not annoy.
Before the auto-training session, you need to mentally prepare yourself and organize the workspace correctly. The bedroom should be ventilated, the windows should be darkened with curtains, the annoying lights should be removed, and noise sources should be turned off. It is comfortable to work out in light, loose clothing that does not restrict movement. Before auto-training, you should not eat heavy food, watch exciting TV shows and movies: your nervous system should be calm. The effect of training will be more effective if you engage in meditation and listen to light, slow music before the session.
Not only mental, but also physical rest, muscle relaxation is important for auto-training. To achieve them, you need to take suitable, comfortable postures. Any of the following three would be preferable:
- Sitting in a chair, with your back and the back of your head resting on its back, your hands in a relaxed state can be lowered onto your hips or armrests (which will be more comfortable).
- Lying on your back, arms are along the body, outstretched legs are slightly turned toes outward, the head rests on a small, low pillow.
- “Coachman’s Pose”: sitting on a chair, head tilted down, spine slightly bent, shoulders slightly lowered, legs apart in a comfortable position. The hands lie calmly on the hips, the hands are directed inward.
For beginners, it is best to start with the first position, although you can choose any. One has only to make sure that the position is comfortable and stable. Usually, an auto-training session takes place with your eyes closed; also remember to breathe evenly and slowly. If you still feel insecure before starting classes, then the text of the autogenic training itself can be recorded in advance and each time you simply turn on the audio recording. Just remember that you need to recite formulas for self-hypnosis in a slow, clear, calm, monotonous voice. If auto-training involves only a woman, then the recording is best done with a woman’s voice.
Try to completely relax physically. When you suddenly feel tension in any part of the body, tighten the corresponding muscles as much as possible and then suddenly release. Gradually, your breathing should become less frequent, your heartbeat slower, you will feel calm and drowsy.
Most importantly, remember: to achieve an effective result, not only a properly organized environment is important, but also a sincere belief that you will cope with the task and can easily fall asleep. If you are sick or feel the approach of an illness, then it is better to temporarily postpone the training.
Three steps to relaxation
Any autogenous training is usually a system of three stages:
- bringing the body to a state of rest (preparatory stage);
- self-hypnosis (main stage);
- exit from the state of rest, relaxation (final stage).
The first stage is necessary to prepare the body for exercise, physical, emotional and mental relaxation. Only in a state of absolute peace can one begin to instill important attitudes and rules. This happens at the second stage of auto-training. The third stage presupposes “exit” from the state of self-belief . Since auto-training, like any other type of training, requires regularity, first you will go through all the stages. Later, having learned to relax and control your thoughts, at the last stage you will sleep peacefully and sweetly. Let’s strive for this!
In auto-training, six main exercises are often used; they take different forms in different forms of training. Let’s try to figure them out:
- “Severity”. The exercise is aimed at relieving physical stress and fatigue. Having taken one of the positions convenient for auto-training, a person mentally concentrates on the real heaviness of the body. First, the heaviness of the right hand is felt, then the left, then the right leg, then the left. Gradually, by calming down mentally, focusing on the sensations of the body, you will feel an unprecedented lightness. (By the way, a left-handed person should conduct classes, focusing first on the left side of the body).
- “Heat”. This exercise is based on a real physiological process – blood circulation. As you calm down, “disconnect” from reality, the blood will better saturate the vessels of the skin. Thanks to this, you will soon feel real warmth.
- “Pulse” or “heart”. The third stage is not only an important element of training, but also unique in itself. Having mastered his technique, you will be able to regulate the work of the heart, slow down the pulsation. To do this, you need to learn to feel your heartbeat. Of course, it’s difficult the first time. But try to squeeze your wrist firmly with one hand for a few seconds with the other. Now relax your hands by placing them on your hips. Soon, you will feel your own pulse!
- “Breath”. This exercise should be started after mastering the previous ones. Having already achieved a certain relaxation, calmness, warmth and lightness throughout the body, try to concentrate on your breathing. Inhales should be slow, light, through the nose. Breathe calmly, focusing on the feeling of peace.
- “Solar plexus”. This is where the skills acquired in the second stage will come in handy. By learning to feel the warmth in the solar plexus area, you will be able to more easily pick up the signals of your body and control the work of internal organs.
Determine the location of this part of the body: begin to slowly rub the skin on your stomach between the lower edge of the chest and the navel. The direction of movement of your hand is clockwise. When you feel warmth in this area, try to feel it in the abdominal cavity.
- “Cool forehead.” At this final stage of relaxation, you need to switch your attention from warm hands, legs and abdomen to a cool head. Learn to mentally “catch” the contact of the forehead with fresh air. Periodic “entry” into this state will improve the functioning of the brain, allow you to control your thinking.
It is very important to follow the order of the six listed elements, do not skip them. With their help, it is much easier to calm down and prepare yourself for the perception of a good sleep mindset.
Healthy sleep formula
Once you have relaxed mentally and physically, you can begin to instill a sleep mindset in yourself. There are a lot of options for text formulas for auto-training; you can use examples from the internet, books, etc. But the best thing is to compose your own sentences, convincing phrases that are right for you. When using them, the training effect will be much greater.
In any case, when choosing material for auto-training, follow our advice:
- The text of the formula should not be too long, pronounced easily and clearly.
- Since you are preparing an individual setting that implies only you, the formula should contain expressions in the first person (“I am calm”, “I feel warm”, “I feel good”).
- Concentration on the sensations of your body should be helped by expressions that apply only to the present moment, to the present time (“I am calming down”, but not “I will be calm”).
- Phrases should be affirmative, no questions or exclamations needed.
- Try to keep all words in a positive, positive connotation.
- Do not limit yourself to the use of the same expressions, use similar, close formulations (“I am calm”, “I feel calm”, “peace comes to me”).
- Focus on all the senses (“I feel warm”, “I hear pleasant music”, “I have a good dream”).
Let’s take an example
It will probably be difficult initially for you to develop a universal text for auto-training. Try using the following phrases as a basis. But keep in mind that they still cannot be called a true formula for the exercise; rather, it is a kind of scheme. Try to supplement it with words that are right for you.
- I’m calm. I feel comfortable and good. Peace and quiet surrounds me. They fill my body.
- I can feel the muscles of my right arm, the muscles of my left arm relax. I can feel the warmth spreading over them, I can feel their heaviness.
- I can feel the muscles in my right leg, my left leg, relax. I feel a pleasant heaviness in them, they are relaxed and motionless.
- I feel relaxation of the abdominal muscles, back muscles. My whole body is relaxed, easy. I’m warm and comfortable.
- I can feel the muscles in my face relax. Wrinkles are smoothed, heavy eyelids close. The muscles of the mouth are relaxed.
- I breathe freely, slowly. Peace, serenity, silence fill my body. I feel good, I feel calm and harmony.
If you are still unable to fall asleep after casting the “magic spell”, do not be discouraged: the development of this skill, like any other, requires your patience and regular practice. After reading the cherished formula for yourself, just sit quietly for a few minutes, think about the pleasant and the good, and then open your eyes.
Spending such simple but useful workouts every evening, you will learn to control your body, thoughts and emotions, and at the same time – fall asleep in peace and tranquility.