Based almost entirely upon instructions/methods first presented by H. Newton Malony, Ph.D., in his brief but enlightening book Relaxation for Christians (1992) . I have modified it some to fit my personality and understanding of God’s Word and the powerful images of love, peace, goodness, mercy, forgivingness and counsel that His everlasting presence, power and glory within us can bring. This was originally developed to address Stress and Burnout relief and prevention for counseling/social work students at Regent University. However, it can easily be adapted to anyone or any group of people to help reduce and prevent the negative effects of stress on their physical and emotional well-being. Herein, it is worded and organized to focus solely on Stress and Burnout issues. It can easily be modified however to address healing in many other areas or issues people commonly present when consulting a Hypnotherapist.
Dr. Malony specifically intended this experience of deep muscle relaxation for Christians. It combines well-known mental procedures for relaxing muscles and ligaments of the body with the reaffirmations of God’s truths and the praying of prayers for release, acceptance, and restoration.
So sit down and get comfortable. Let your eyes close (or don’t let your eyes close). Let your full weight settle down. Put both of your feet on the floor. Uncross your arms and let your hands rest on your lap, the tabletop, hang down or whatever. Generally get as physically comfortable as you can for the first step.
1. Begin with the following affirmations. Say each one twice either silently or aloud.
“I am thine, O Lord, and thou art mine.”
“I in my emptiness, thou in thy fullness.”
“My heart, where the ocean of spirit meets the shore of self.”
“This is the day that the Lord has made; I glad in it.”
“In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“Thou wilt keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”
“For God so loved the Son, that world, that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have whoever believes eternal life.”
“Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
(ADD OR SUBSTITUTE SCRIPTURES OR STATEMENTS THAT HAVE SPECIAL MEANING FOR YOU HERE. SUCH AS: PSALMS 23, ISAIAH 40: 27-31. 1 CORINTHIANS 3:16, or parts or the entire hymn “Amazing Grace” or “Rock of Ages.”)
2. Next: engage in the following prayers of release and acceptance: Breathe deeply and slowly, filling your lungs with air, THE HOLY SPIRIT BREATHING WITHIN YOU, the stuff your existence is made of and for. See in your mind how the Word describes God creating Adam. What animated Adam? What made Adam come to be “ALIVE?” See it happening – watch YOURSELF COME ALIVE! See God breathing His Holy Spirit into to YOU!
Perhaps you can now create an image of Gods’ presence in your life……… His arms outstretched, beckoning you nearer – Perhaps you will now allow yourself to hear……… “Come to Me. I will give YOU REST and Everlasting PEACE.” With every prayer you exhale, release the evil in your life.
Let go your anger. . . your bitterness.. . your wrath. . . your selfishness. . . your anxiety.. . your tension. . . your apprehension. . . your worries.. . your distrust. . . your fears. .. your stress. . . your prejudgments.. . your distractions . . . your obsessions.. . your compulsions.. . your lust… your sadness. .. your self-pity.. . your envy. .. your boredom.
Release these and all other evil and bad habits that handicap you… Confess them and let them go out of your life with each exhaling of carbon dioxide from your lungs. . . Think of this as the expunging of all spirits of evil from within yourself … spring cleaning of Gods’ temple in you.
Now turn from those evils to address the unhealthiness of your body… Release it and let it go. . . Let go all the poison in your system. .. feel it flow out of your body through your fingertips… release your sickness. .. your disease and dis-ease (spoken: “Disss—-Eeeasseee” ) . . . Your pain. . . your infections… your high blood pressure… your overactive adrenal glands.. . your cancer. . . your tiredness. . . your overweightedness… your digestive and bowel problems… your headaches. . . your frustrations.. . your studying anxieties. . . your apprehension and exaggerated anxieties about test or exams and homework requirements. Whatever you suffer from, release it to God. Let it leave you as you breathe deeply! Breath Upon breath. ..Upon breath! UPON EVERY THOUGHT & IMAGE OF GOD! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Hear God’ s breathing and keep pace with your Lord!
After you have completed these prayers of release, pray the following prayers of acceptance:
With every breath you breathe in, accept calm …accept patience… … accept joy… … accept freedom… … accept power… …accept love… … accept mercy… … accept unselfishness… … accept self-control… … accept hope… … accept insight… … accept insight… … accept peace… … accept focus… … accept meaning… … accept knowledge… …accept understanding… … accept God’s grace and unconditional love, acceptance and light! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Follow these prayers of acceptance with prayers to accept good health. .. accept vitality. . . accept strength… accept energy. . .accept relaxation… accept rest. . . accept peace that surpasseth all understanding. . . accept healing… accept restoration… accept proper blood pressure. . . accept good digestion. . . accept wholeness. Feel yourself accepting as gifts from God all the goodness and health and mercy that come into your life. Continue to breathe deeply and enjoy these feelings of rest and restoration.
Now, turn to these deep muscle relaxation exercises.
Let each part of your body relax. As you breathe deeply, feel the relaxation move over all of your body. Quietly simmer down as you let your mind focus on one part of your body, then another.
Begin with your head. Let all the tension in your scalp fade away. Imagine that the stress and strain you have been feeling in your head are melting away as smoothly as ice cream in a cone.
Feel the wrinkles on your forehead smooth out.
Untense your eyes… Let them become pools of waveless waters .
Let your jaws drop; unclench your teeth; open your mouth a bit.
Let your ears relax… Let them become numb and less alert .
The tension of your head will flow down your cheeks and out your mouth… Allow the relaxation to develop and increase .
Concentrate on the back of your neck… Loosen these muscles. Feel the tension in the front of the neck smooth out.
Untense your eyes again and again… Let them become pools of waveless waters – Let them (these waters) BE STILL.
Let your jaws drop… Unclench your teeth… Open your mouth a bit .
Let your ears relax again and again… Let them become numb and less alert – Let them listen for the small, still VOICE.
The tension of your head will flow down your cheeks and out your mouth… Allow the relaxation to develop and increase.
Concentrate on the back of your neck… Loosen these muscles .
Feel the tension in the front of the neck smooth out.
Next… move to your shoulders… experience the tension lessening and the strain of these muscles letting go… Let your shoulders drop a little as they relax.
Feel the tension flowing off the shoulders and down the arms and out the fingers.
Concentrate on the joint where the arms connect to the shoulders… Untense these muscles and ligaments .
Relax your arms… your biceps… your elbows… your forearms… your wrists… your hands… your fingers .
Let your arms hang limp… Feel the relaxation develop and deepen as tension leaves them and flows out of the tips of the fingers… Experience tingling in your fingers perhaps… as the tension leaves your body.
Turn now to a focus on the front of your torso; your chest, your breasts, your stomach, your groin. Allow the muscles down the front of your body to let go. Let your stomach stick out and your neck hang loose… feel the tension letting go .
Continuing to breathe deeply, and moving from one part of your body to another part of your body, ever so slowlyyyyyyyy!
Concentrate now on your back. Let the weight of life’s burdens lift.. . Feel the tense muscles of your back smooth out and release… Allow such tension as you might be experiencing to loosen up! Feel the relaxation deepen and grow.
Pause and become aware of how calm and relaxed you are feeling.
Experience the lack of tension in your head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, stomach, front and back of your body. . . Continue to breathe slowly and deeply.
Following this of experiencing deep relaxation, go inside your body, starting with your mouth.
Let your mouth relax… loosen your jaws… focus on your gums, your teeth, your tongue. . . feel the stress diminishing.
Focus on your throat. Move down into your stomach. Let your stomach relax. Continue downward, into the upper and lower intestines. Encourage these inner parts of your body to let go their strain and become restored to healthy function.
Let the restoration and relaxation grow.
Return to your face and concentrate on your nose. Untense it. . .
Feel the air flow freely down through your windpipe… Let the inside of your nose and the windpipe connecting to your lungs become free of mucus and contamination… Feel the air enter your lungs as you breathe deeply and slowly. .. Experience that air filling your lungs completely.. . Let your chest protrude without inhibiting it.
Relax! Force yourself to NOT FORCE YOURSELF!
To not force yourself, force not. .. ALLOW… Let the lungs inhale and exhale fully and completely as you continue to breathe deeply. . . .
Imagine the oxygen entering the bloodstream and energizing your body without any restraint or blockage. .. Feel the lungs functioning freely without any effort.. . . . Let your breathing be restored to its optimal state.
Now go deep inside your body and tell your heart to relax. Let the heart become free of all tension; let the heart muscles move in and out, automatically and effortlessly. Feel the heart being restored to calm, even, powerful, balanced function. .. Let your heart become tension-free and naturally relaxed.
Once you have experienced the heart as being restored… … … Concentrate on the flow of the blood out of the heart to the outermost parts of the body… Let the arteries be open and the blood flow freely and powerfully. Think about the tips of your fingers.. . experience the blood as reaching the very ends of the fingertips; feel the warmth as the fingers heat up. Pause as you breathe deeply and slowly and concentrate on this experience.
Move now to focus on the ends of your toes. Feel the blood rush to the feet… Let the toes warm up just as you did your fingertips .
Let the blood reach the tips of your toes as all constriction and tension are released from the arteries. Feel the temperature of your feet increase as the blood vessels open up and the blood rushes to the very tips of the toes. . . .
The last place on the body to which the blood is sent is the ears. Feel the lobes of the ears begin to get warmer as all inhibitions in arteries leading to the ears get warm and the blood flows into them…
Experience the continuous flow of blood from the heart to the fingertips, the ends of the toes, and the lobes of the ears. Imagine the return of the blood to the heart and its being pushed out again to the outermost parts of the body. Let yourself focus on this cycle and experience the warming of the fingers, the toes, and the ears. Take your time and breathe deeply. Let the body restore itself to an even, powerful, and unrestrained flow of blood to and from the outermost parts of the body and back.
Continue this relaxing of the inside of the body by focusing on the kidneys. Let them relax and be restored to healthy functioning.
Move to the liver. Let it be restored to working without stress or strain.
Concentrate on all other organs inside the body and instruct them to let go all that inhibits them from working as God intended them to work. Remove all poison and tightness that would handicap their health. Instruct the adrenal glands to calm down and become malleable and less inclined to secrete impulsively or quickly.
Return next to the muscles… Focus on the thighs. Feel the tension in the thighs flow down and out through the legs and the toes. Let the thighs relax as you continue to breathe deeply…
Let your concentration go to the knees. Release the knees from pain and strain. Let the ligaments and the muscles surrounding the knees become loose. Continue downward to the calves. Let the muscles on the front and back of the calves smooth out and become relaxed.
Feel your whole body becoming calm and whole as you continue down the body. . .
Finally, concentrate on the ankles and feet. Feel all the stress of the legs flow out the tips of the toes. Spread the toes and feel the tingling of released strain as the muscles let go all their tightness and their tension leaves the body. For several moments simply sit still, breathe deeply and slowly, and enjoy the deep relaxation of all of your body. Feel the calm and the relaxed exhilaration that sweep over you… .
Since you have relaxed the muscles and organs of the body, concentrate next on the restoration of the bones to healthy function. The mental rule of thumb for your thinking is “down the muscles, up the bones. ” Let the bones of the feet and ankles become loose. Feel the strength and integrity of these bones as they are restored by the release of the unneeded tension within them. . . Continue to breathe deeply and slowly… .
Move up to the shinbones and the knees. Let the tension flow out of them; let their strength return.. Then concentrate on the thighs. . . . Next to the hips. . . Experience them becoming whole again, without disease or stress.
Turn your attention to the backbone. Let the tail of the backbone relax and all the tension of the spine pass away. Move up to backbone disc by disc. Let the backbone straighten upward and become whole. Where there are pinched nerves, disjointed vertebrae, out-of-line adjustment—let them heal.
Restore the backbone to its optimal health and wholeness. . ..
Move up the backbone with every breath, one disc at a time. Allow for twenty-four steps from start to finish, from the tailbone to the skull. When you reach sixteen, stop and enjoy the feeling of comfort and relaxation in the lower part of your back. . .
Resume moving up the back, one step at a time with every breath you breathe, to the count of fifteen.
Now relax the ribs. Concentrate on each rib and instruct it to relax. Feel the connection of the ribs to the backbone; feel the healthiness of the ribs becoming restored. . .
Concentrate on each rib, one at a time.
Let the relaxation continue up the backbone to the base of the neck. . .. When you reach the count of twenty, stop and concentrate on the shoulder bones… the arm bones. . . and the finger bones. . .
Before, you relaxed the muscle… Now, relax the bones. Feel your body’s wholeness deepening with every breath you breathe.
Once you have relaxed the shoulders, arms, and fingers, return to the neck and continue relaxing the vertebrae into the skull itself. When you have reached the count of “24” … Let the relaxation penetrate the whole cranium. Experience the strength and integrity of the whole neck and skull being restored and re-created.
Now that you have finished relaxing the muscles and restoring the bones with relaxation, let the body “HUUUMMMMMM” or “VIBRATE with light energy…In harmony with Gods’ Divine Love and Grace. “
Feel the message going down the nerves of the backbone to the other parts of the body. Note how alive the body feels and how easily messages of sensation and movement flow up and down the body.
Continue to breathe deeply and slowly.. .
Note again the flow of the blood out of and into the heart. Re-experience the warmth of the body. Enjoy the complete relaxation of the body that results from following these instructions for deep muscle relaxation and restoration. . .
End this experience by rededicating yourself to the will of God through repeating some of the statements of affirmation with which you began…These are as follows:
” I am thine, O Lord, and thou art mine.”
” I in my emptiness, thou in thy fullness.
” My heart, where the ocean of spirit meets the shore of self.
“This is the day that the Lord has made… I will rejoice and be glad in it.
“In returning and rest shall you be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
“Those that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
“Thou wilt keep those in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
CLOSING REMARKS: People following these instructions and regularly practicing these exercises have it almost guaranteed that they will acquire a peaceful and calm stance to life that will not easily be shaken by circumstances. These are sure ways of preparing oneself for the onslaught of fortune and the stress of both expected and unforeseen threats to existence. Although such exercises as these will not guarantee freedom from stress, they will prevent needless anxiety and will help keep stress from becoming distress. They are the further steps in relaxation that those who are serious about handling stress triumphantly will find valuable.