Today I am going to tell you about my relaxamation technique and how it can help you to relax and energise when living with heart disease.
It is a blend of all of the best bits of meditation, guided relaxation, mindfulness and positive affirmations. It’s so exciting to tell you about what a relaxamation is and how it can help.
Relaxamations for you to download will be included in my regular mix of podcast episodes so you can gain the benefit at a time and place that is convenient for you. I hope you find this interesting and I look forward to any feedback.
Click play ⬇ to hear the podcast episode or read on for the full article
Having a heart attack, heart surgery, cardiac arrest, when living with A fib or heart failure and heart disease etc, it’s not just your body that is damaged and needs repairing.
The psychological impact can be massive and life becomes a roller-coaster of ups, downs and unknowns. It is a shock to the system and can be very traumatic.
By incorporating relaxamations into your life you will relearn the art of relaxation, improve your sleep, reduce stress, feel positive, improve your self-talk and sense of wellbeing. You will also have the opportunity to know yourself better and review your thoughts and feelings relating to the chosen affirmation.
The Big Calm & The Feel Good Factor
First, I want to tell you have I discovered the process. After discharge from Papworth Hospital in 2016 I was a hot mess. I had my leg in a plaster cast, I was in a wheelchair and had had a heart attack. It took me three days to realise it wasn’t indigestion.
I sat at home, crying for no reason, feeling lost, and confused. I was at an all-time low. I couldn’t even look after myself and I felt I had no structure or purpose of being. I even found myself thinking that I wished I hadn’t survived my heart attack. Not suicidal but just couldn’t see any point.
Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to push back up and this is where my concept of relaxamations started, not that I had coined the name for it then but I started to apply it to myself.
I decided to start putting some structure in my day and listed a few things that I could do and planned them around resting, sleeping and watching TV and reading books.
I decided that I would start meditating daily only for a short time but with regularity.
Like many people, I found it difficult to keep my mind without thoughts of the past and the future so I decided to build in some affirmations. I chose three all based on being lucky. Why being lucky, well that is a story for another podcast but in essence, I really do believe I am lucky.
I was indeed lucky in more ways than one and in this case, it was because of my experience in positive psychology that I could implement the techniques in my toolkit.
Relaxamations the blend explained
So, what’s this relaxamation all about?
It’s normal to feel stressed sometimes. But if your stress builds up, or it continues for a period of time, you might carry the tension in your muscles, you may this tension but not even realise it.
Each session starts with a short discussion to set the context for the relaxamation. I will talk about how the session can help in the way you might be experiencing the world at the moment and the intention of the session. The aim is always to relax and energise when living with heart disease.
I then move on to the relaxamation itself. It is important to note that from this point forward you should only listen to me in a safe and relaxed space. Do not drive, operate machinery or be on a running machine. Please keep yourself safe.
A way to relieve muscle tension is to progressively release your muscles by focussing on them and using your imagination to experience muscle relaxation. I will guide you through this process at the beginning of the session. It is similar to a technique called Jacobson’s relaxation technique; it is also known as progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
My goal is to guide you to release tension from your muscles and keep your mind focused in the now and yourself. This helps teach your mind and body how to relax again, especially if it is practised regularly.
This technique may help you manage the physical effects of stress and there is some research that shows that progressive muscle relaxation can also have therapeutic benefits for high blood pressure, migraines and sleep issues.
Once you are feeling relaxed and calm, I will guide you to a state that prepares you to take on board the next part of the session. The following section is a blended meditation, visualisation and affirmation.
Meditation to relax and energise when living with heart disease
Meditation is something everyone can do to improve their mental and emotional health
“The soothing power of repetition is at the heart of meditation. Focusing on the breath, ignoring thoughts, and repeating a word or phrase – a mantra – creates the biological response of relaxation.”Stan Chapman, PhD, a psychologist in the Centre for Pain Medicine at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta says
Some of the benefits of meditation are as follows:
- Reduces stress and regulates mood
- Increases your sense of well-being
- Increases your sense of connectedness
- Improves focus, helps you find flow and become more creative
- Improves memory and your decision-making ability
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Enhances your immune system
- Reduces physical and emotional pain
Why would you not want to practice meditation with all those great upsides!
Affirmations relax and energise when living with heart disease
To make your meditation even more effective I also have added some positive affirmations.
Positive affirmations are as easy to define as they are to practice. They are positive phrases used to challenge negative or unhelpful thoughts.
You can use positive affirmations to motivate yourself, encourage positive change, or boost your self-esteem. If you find yourself getting caught up in negative self-talk (inner chatter), positive affirmations can help to create change in these often-unconscious patterns and replace them with more helpful and empowering narratives.
Practising positive affirmations can be extremely simple. All you need to do is pick a phrase and repeat it to yourself.
It sounds so simple and yet there is science behind them but it’s not magic. Positive affirmations need to practice regularly to make lasting, long-term changes to how you think and feel.
Here are some of the research examples I found on Google.
- Self-affirmations have been shown to decrease health-deteriorating stress (Sherman et al., 2009; Critcher & Dunning, 2015);
- They may help us to perceive otherwise “threatening” messages with less resistance, including interventions (Logel & Cohen, 2012);
- They can make us less likely to dismiss harmful health messages, responding instead with the intention to change for the better (Harris et al., 2007)
- To eat more fruit and vegetables (Epton & Harris, 2008);
- Self-affirmation has been demonstrated to lower stress and rumination (Koole et al., 1999; Wiesenfeld et al., 2001).
And that brings us to the end of the relaxamation
You will have experienced that you can relax and energise when living with heart disease. I will ensure that you are wide awake and bushy-tailed before wrapping up and saying goodbye.
Before I do though I will give you three affirmations to use, should you wish to, in the following days. Don’t worry you won’t have to remember them as I will include them in the show notes so you can refer to them later.
It doesn’t finish there though. I know a number of people like to dive in a little deeper. With that in mind, I will also include some self-reflective questions.
These questions will help you in getting real with yourself. Asking perhaps hard questions is one of the best ways to learn more about yourself.
This may seem trivial, but knowing yourself on a deep level is incredibly powerful. You will be more connected with yourself. You’ll be able to make more authentic decisions. Be confident in the choices you’re making. You will know that they align with all of your beliefs, goals, and values.
Again, you will find the questions in the show notes so you won’t have to try to remember them.
And that my friends are what my relaxamations are all about
Have I piqued your interest? Do you want to try listening to one? If so, make sure you subscribe to my podcast if you are using Apple Podcasts. Make a note in your diary as my first relaxamation available to download tomorrow for you to listen to. I would love to hear any feedback you might have.
Relax and energise when living with heart disease today!