Relaxation Activity 1 – The Sound of Silence (link to intro.)
For yourself: Life is so full of noise. I find myself staying awake at night just to enjoy the silence. FIND IT! Savor it. Let it refresh you with this 10 min. exercise: While sitting comfortably, close your eyes, and let the silence wrap around you like a warm blanket. Breathe in deeply through your nose, filling your abdomen and your lungs. Hold the silence in momentarily and allow it to gather your stress. Then slowly release the breath, the silence, and your stress. Repeat around 10 times, though don’t bother to keep count. Then spend the next few minutes letting the “warmth” of the silence relax your muscles. Focus on allowing the “nothingness” to take over each part of your body. After 10 minutes, stretch your fingers, toes, and limbs and slowly let awareness come back into the room.
With your child: It may be good to do try this first early in the morning when life and children aren’t quite so noisy. Later, you may find it a good option to interrupt some cantankerous noise. Invite your child to play the SOS game (Sound Of Silence – but they don’t need to know that). You can actually tie it in with the aspect of the emergency Morse Code signal – start the game by using three short sounds, followed by three long sounds, then by three short sounds (like saying “beep”). Then ALL sounds must STOP. Start with three deep breaths, then breathe normally while enjoying the silence. At first you may have to start with shorter time segments, even as short as 30 seconds for some children, but then gradually (over a few weeks) increase the duration to 10 minutes – or you may need to find the successful time span for your child somewhere in between.
Some children may enjoy having a large see- through scarf placed over their entire body during the game, call it the Cloak of Calmness, which helps every muscle in their body to know they are safe and loved. End the game with the same Morse code signal, and have them gradually stretch outward. Give them a big hug to connect with them physically, concluding with the knowledge that safety and love surrounds them, just like the cloak, and just like the silence.
What helps your child relax? Please share. I’d really like to know. Got any tips for helping TEENS learn to relax? The music he listens to is not necessarily relaxing. That’s where I am right now.