Relaxation is an important part of self-care. Even though it is a common concept, very few of us have had much experience with real relaxation. Our definition of real relaxation is different than exercising, zoning out, socializing, or pursuing a distraction like TV or a book. Those things are important, but they are not truly relaxation. Real relaxation is an intentional, focused period of time during which one is mindful and alert, yet one's muscles are relaxed. This is not necessarily as easy as it might sound, but when you have mastered this skill, it can help restore energy and boost your mood and performance levels much better than those other activities. You might also find our Meditation Resources helpful.
RELAX online is an interactive tool, narrated by Counseling Center Staff, that features videos, soothing visuals, and music.
Guided Relaxation Videos
The following videos offer a variety of guided relaxation exercises narrated by Counseling Center staff. Find a quiet space and explore the feeling of true relaxation. These videos are also broadcast through GreyComm.
The Relaxation Room
Make an appointment to check out our soothing relaxation room which is designed to help individuals develop relaxation skills, cope with stress, and practice mindful meditation. You might also enjoy using our biofeedback software, Journey to the Wild Divine.
Click here for a variety of apps you might enjoy or find useful.
Other Relaxation Resources
Learning real relaxation techniques is not always easy, so we have compiled a list of websites that we hope will help you learn real relaxation skills. Please note that many of these sites are not maintained by the Counseling Center or Loyola. These pages may be helpful but are not meant to replace consultation with a mental health professional. We invite you to visit the Counseling Center to learn more about relaxation.
- Examen Prayers: Guided examens in the Catholic tradition on different mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
- Guided Imagery and Mindfulness Exercises: Mentally follow along as you listen to guided scripts for the purpose of relaxation. Use the power of visualization and imagery to reduce stress in your life. After listening to these exercises, remember what made you feel relaxed and use these techniques on a daily bases for best results. This site is maintained by Iowa State University.
- Progressive Relaxation Exercises: Here you will find the Progressive Relaxation Exercise and the Combination Relaxation Exercise. You can listen from your computer or download the MP3 file. This site is maintained by the Hobart and Smith Colleges Counseling Center.
- Guided Imagery for Specific Concerns: Here you will find some various guided imagery exercises for dealing with issues like health difficulties, grief, pain, and self-confidence. This site is maintained by Kaiser-Permanente.
- Meditation: This free site provides terrific virtual relaxation experiences that range from three to 10 minutes long for individuals seeking more serenity and calm. Experiences include soothing sounds, imagery, and deep-breathing techniques. This site is maintained by PGE.
- Deep Breathing Meditation: This site offers five deep-breathing meditations ranging from two to nine minutes in an audio format. The first two are most recommended, and some of the offerings have a Buddhist influence. This site is independently maintained.
- Visualizations for Meditation: This site offers a variety of "rooms" or visualizations with soothing sounds for use when meditating, utilizing guided imagery, or simply to relax. This site is maintained by Gaiam Life.
For more information on stress management and relaxation, please visit these sites:
- Stress Recess: This is an interactive stress management website for students developed by the University of Texas.
- Self-care and Relaxation: This site contains helpful tips on self-care and quick, easy deep-breathing exercises for relaxation. This site is maintained by the Counseling Center.
- Stress Management: This site includes information on the causes of stress, types of stress, and helpful tips on reducing and managing stress. This site is maintained by the Counseling Center.
- Stress Management Techniques: This site shows visitors how to analyze and plan to control stress and offers many good stress management techniques.
- Four Types of Stress: This site describes four common types of stress, including triggers and strategies to reduce stress in each area. This site is maintained by Mind Tools.