The Mental Illness Awareness Week blog, sharing stories of recovery, personal experiences, and mental health/mental illness news.


Relaxation Techniques

When I first went to CMHA (Canadian Mental Health Association) Winnipeg nearing the end of 2005 and into 2006, I had returned to work at a restaurant (as a cook and a dishwasher) that I had worked at during my University years. This was quite depressing since I was highly educated but paid barely above minimum wage, and I could not make ends meet without using extensive amounts of credit cards.

Fortunately, I was enabled by my CMHA Winnipeg Rehabiliation and Recovery worker to successfully obtain employment with the Province of Manitoba as an Internal Auditor which soon led to a promotion two years later to Internal Audit Project Leader. What joy that was to obtain that job role!

But, along the way, I needed to learn relaxation techniques that I still use periodically when required. These were quite numerous that I learned from my worker and she indicated that the techniques should be thought of as part of my tool kit.

My tool kit included practicing square breathing, listening to relaxing music, watching entertaining movies, stretching, organizing my home, eating a proper diet according to the Canada Food Guide and getting plenty of rest (both sleep and breaks). What a world of difference this made! I could finally distract my always busy mind by relaxing!

There are two final techniques that I used and continue to use when I find myself becoming too stressed (some stress is positive to motivate).

The first technique is remembering the story of the stone cutter. The stone cutter hits the stone for the 99th time and cannot believe the stone will not crack as needed to reveal the contents inside. He/she is about to give up, when he/she decides to give one final swing. Well, the 100th hit cracks the stone! This reveals that it wasn't the 100th blow alone that caused the stone to crack but that it took all 100 blows. The moral of the story is to break down big tasks into smaller tasks to manage more successfully towards an end goal, to realize that all activities done towards an end goal are important, and to never lose faith and to keep resiliency in the face of adversity no matter how badly discouraged and frustrated you get.

The other final technique is to visualize myself in the role that I will be playing. Athletes use this visualization of success in their athletic role to go through the mental motions. The physical motions then follow. If this visualization does not work (rare) then I visualize my former worker who provides me with encouragement. I can then move forward to accomplishment by managing my stress and completing whatever work is at hand.

For these last two techniques, in this perspective, anything is possible and I can do whatever subject matter I set my mind to.

David Albert Newman, CGA, CIA, ACCA (UK), B. Comm. (Hons.) with Distinction
"Anything is possible if we let our mind wander away from standardization towards creativity."
φ = π - 2^2/φ^2 + e

Submitted by Laurie Corzett

Too brite days
midnights that refuse to
abide dark and secret
when empty phrases chant
to fairytale Moons
I tell myself
This is no ordinary room
This is no fleeting flittering life
This is a magical passageway
sparkling like mica, like miracles

Quiet traces
luminescent impression
a trailing kite tail binds
silent whimpers, sojourning whispers,
tears shining behind mime smiles

Crone's gnarled fingers, playing
to spite agony
simulate touch
beyond ache,
too brite cell,
crouching scarred shadow
I cast silhouette of metamagic gypsy

Laurie Corzett -