This method for reviewing a relaxation script comes from Diana, Praying Wings, in Arizona. Her method can be helpful for people who experience panic or anxiety when trying to relax. She also describes how to make “audio flashcards” to further enhance this process. Thanks, Diana, for your ideas.
Here is Diana’s method:
The Review — Steps 1-5
Step 1: Look at the categories of relaxation scripts–muscle, breathing, autogenic, meditation or imagery.
Step 2: Start with the easiest exercises and go to the hardest. To find the easiest ones it will be the ones that will not cause anxiety when you read them.
Step 3: When you choose your script you will read it 3 ways, (reading it out loud is better than reading it silently):
A: Read the beginning.
B: Read the end and note how the ending (the last couple sentences) sounds like the beginning. You are returning to an emotional place like the one you were in when you heard the beginning.
Pause. Then listen to some music or walk or find another way to take a little break from reading.
C: Then after the break that you inserted, read the middle–the imagination section. this is the heart of the exercise.
Step 4: Read the entire script all the way from beginning to end.
Step 5: Listen to the relaxation script that you are now familiar with and then follow the directions with the confidence that no matter if you are at the beginning, middle or end you are still in a peaceful place. This “listening” is listening to the script read in someone else’s voice such as on an mp3 download.
This technique comes from doing orchestra rehearsals where the players would do the parts that sound alike and then go to the middle of the song and then play the song all the way through.
Training session — Step 6
Step 6: Training yourself that you are still safe even with some anxiety-provoking words. Choose a “harder” exercise (with some trigger words in it) to do this process with to show yourself that even when you hear these words you are still in a peaceful place.
Practice an exercise that you had found worrisome at first to see if you can get the same confident response with these exercises that you had with the easy one you had practiced with in steps 1-5.
Application — Step 7
Step 7: Listen to a relaxation exercise that has no written script to review. this part may be necessary since not all scripts are written. Do not skip the written script review and listening practice. Do not try this step unless you have done the other six, that is, looked at a written script, listened to it and followed the directions to learn the relaxation response.
The challenge at this stage is “can I listen to an audio script and I relax with it?” If that still isn’t possible, go back to review plus listening again, but your goal will be to get to this last step – to be able to relax when no written script is available.
How to make Audio Flash Cards
An Audio flash card is like a printed flash card that has a question on one side and the answer on the other. An audio flash card is a CD that has one relaxation script followed by music that is according to the theme of the script. So when listening to a “flash card” listen to two CD tracks per session.
The first part is listening to the meditation, for example listening to “Beginner’s Breathing Meditation.” Then listen to a song. That song could be “Portum in Ultimo” by Anonymous 4 which sounds like meditation because it has Latin words from an old poem (which we do not understand so they could be mantras) a melody plus harmony plus two notes that stay the same during the song.
When listening to the first part (spoken words) this is for how to do the visualizing – a teaching session. Then listen to the music and visualize a safe place or some other journey you take in imagination.
How to make an audio flashcard–using music to enhance relaxation:
Step 1: choose a relaxation exercise you want to do.–do you want a long session or a short one, a muscle type, breathing, or imagery or meditation?
Step 2: Review the written script.
Step 3: If you decide to face a panic attack, flashback or nightmare, write or draw how it would end–and it should end with positives and peace.
Step 4: Make up or use the words in the relaxation exercise to help you into a journey you take in imagination. Say a peaceful place or being with a peaceful person.
Step 5: Choose music you like to listen to to put with this exercise–one song–do you want vocals or instrumentals?
Step 6: Listen to the spoken script and then the music. That is an audio flashcard.
Step 7: Listen to the script and the music while taking your imaginary journey. That is how to use an audio flashcard.
Plan B for audio flashcards:
If listening to the script first is too anxiety-producing, listen to the music first.