Being able to quickly and easily calm down our minds and bodies when anxious or distressed is something most of us long for, but often struggle to achieve.
One of my favorite methods to use and teach clients in that endeavor is called Autogenic Training. With consistent practice, it allows us to hone our ability to engage our natural relaxation systems.
Autogenic Training was developed nearly 100 years ago by a psychiatrist named Heinrich Schultz. He noted that as people entered into a state of hypnosis, they often reported feelings of heaviness and warmth in their bodies, which were associated with deep relaxation. He wanted to recreate those feelings as a way to promote health and calmness, and so Autogenic Training was born.
Autogenic Training is a kind of guided meditation, where you practice feeling certain sensations in your body. Phrases such as, “My legs are heavy and warm,” are repeated between three and six times, each time allowing the practitioner to generate the feeling in their body, and increase their calming awareness.
Autogenic means “self-generating,” pointing to the fact that we are training ourselves to be able to use (or self-generate) our natural relaxation system “on demand.” The technique can be helpful in managing stress and emotional reactions, and in controlling physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as elevated heart rate and rapid breathing. NASA even uses Autogenic Training techniques to help astronauts manage motion-sickness and stress responses during training and space flight!
Based on numerous client requests, I have recorded the Autogenic Training practice that I use in my office. Though you can practice it without a guided recording, many find it more relaxing to follow along with audio than to read or self-guide with a script.
To reap the full benefits of Autogenic Training, consistency is key. While using the technique can help you feel relaxed in-the-moment, in order to build your skills and abilities for self-regulation, it is recommended to practice two times per day.
This audio file is meant for clients who have already been introduced to the process of Autogenic Training with me, are aware of the contraindications and side-effects, and who want to practice at home with the use of a guided recording. If you are new to Autogenic Training, please consult with a knowledgeable mental health or integrative medicine provider.
If you’re ready to follow along with the recording, prepare by finding a peaceful space where you can sit or lie comfortably, loosen tight clothing, and remove any distracting glasses, jewelry, or accessories.
Autogenic Training (14m 12s)
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