While going through the book Anxiety & Panic Attacks : Their Cause And Cure by Robert Handly (with Pauline Neff), I read his meditation formula and thought it worth sharing.
How to reach alpha state : Find a quiet spot where you’ll be uninterrupted.
Make yourself as comfortable as possible, and use the alpha script.
The first step in the script is to teach your body what it feels like to relax.
The next step is breathing.
Visualize your secret resting place.
Secret resting place is vividly picturing the most relaxing place you have ever been.
Examples : floating on water, swaying in a swing, snuggled in blankets at your grandma’s house, fishing, or embracing a loved one.
Below is the script that will help you learn to reach the alpha level. Eventually you will be able to go into alpha quite easily without using the script. You need to record yourself reading the script and play it back every time you are practicing it.
The Alpha Script :
You are feeling very comfortable, very quiet, very calm and peaceful.
Now you will begin to tighten your muscles to the count of four, clenching them as tightly as possible and holding them tensed to the count of four, then releasing them to the count of four. Starting with your head and shoulders, you are now tightening the muscles in your face, jaw, neck, and shoulders. Study the tension. Become aware of what it feels like so you will be able to recognize it when you are awake. One, two, three, four. Hold, two, three, four. Now release these muscles, two, three, four. Tighten, two three four; hold, two, three, four; release, two, three, four. Tighten, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four; release, two, three, four. Tighten, two, three, four; hold, two, three, four; release, two, three, four. Become aware of the relaxation as you let go.
You will now tighten the muscles in your hands by making a fist. Tighten and release four times. Always notice what it feels like to let go.
You will now tighten the muscles in your arms. Tighten and release four times.
You will now tighten the muscles in your chest and abdomen. Tighten and release four times.
You will now tighten the muscles in your pelvis and bottom area. Tighten and release four times.
You will now tighten the muscles in your feet and toes. Tighten and release four times.
You will now tighten the muscles in your legs. Tighten and release four times.
You are now feeling very calm and rested, in complete control.
You are feeling relaxed and fine.
You will now begin to go into deep breathing.
You will breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
You will let your stomach rise as you inhale as deeply as possible to the count of four.
As you exhale to the count of four you will completely empty the contents of your lungs and let your stomach drop.
Your lungs are now filling in the lower part of your abdomen, one; in your chest area, two; up, up, up, three, four. Hold your breath, two, three, four; exhale, two, three, four. Each time you breathe in, your body will become heavier and heavier. Again concentrate on letting go all over your body. (Repeat four more times.)
Now you will picture your body as being totally relaxed.
Imagine that you are like a limp rubber doll, in which the rubber is all stretched out and the stuffing is gone.
Imagine your scalp is becoming loose and tingly.
The rubber of your scalp is so loose and pliable that it sags don on your forehead.
The skin of your face sags around your eyes. A soft, gentle breeze caresses your face, and it feels very good. Allow your mouth to droop like a rubber mask. Now your jaw has completely dropped and you are releasing all tensions there.
Imagine that your arms are like rubber. They are hanging limply from your shoulder. Your torso is so limp that it hangs on your spine. Your legs are like rubber bands, dangling from your hips. Your feet are connected only by a thread.
Imagine that you are floating in a warm, sparkling liquid.
You are completely relaxed and in control of your mind and body.
You are at a deeper, healthier level of the mind.
Yet you are feeling aware and can function exactly as you wish.
To enter a deeper, healthier level of the mind, imagine that you are going down a staircase.
With each step down you are becoming more and more relaxed.
Count backward from ten to one as you go down the stairs.
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
You are feeling fine and are using your improved mental faculties to help yourself and others.
You are perfectly relaxed, completely calm, and in a moment you will be going to your secret resting place.
You will count backward from three to one, and at the count of one you will be in your secret resting place, enjoying the calm, the quiet, the peace, the joy.
Three, two, one.
(Allow five minutes of silence at this point).
You are now completely in control of your thoughts.
You are feeling rested and relaxed.
You are now going to count from one to five, and at the count of five, you will open your eyes, be wide awake, feeling fine, and in perfect health. You will be feeling better and better.
One, two, coming up slowly, slowly; three, at the count of five you will be opening your eyes, wide awake, feeling fine, and in perfect health, four …. five.
Say, “I am wide awake, feeling fine, and in perfect health.”
Your First Week’s Program
Here’s what you should do during the first week you are learning to go into alpha :
1. If your panic disorder is so severe that you are housebound, plan to use the script six times a day.
If your problem is not as critical, you can get by by using the script only three times a day.
If you can’t do the whole script during lunch just to the relaxation and deep breathing part.
2. Don’t try to challenge any thoughts that come to your mind while you are relaxing in your secret resting place. Just recognize that they are there. It’s okay to have them. Nudge them away by enjoying the sights, smells, sounds, and peace in your resting place.
3. Note the feelings you have when you first wake up and right before you go to sleep and compare them with the feelings you have while you use the alpha script.
4. Also note the feeling of muscle relaxation that you achieve after doing the tensing and relaxing. Teach your body to let go like that every time you feel tense during the day. Eventually you will no longer need to do muscle tension to reach the alpha state. Your body will know what the state of relaxation feels like.
5. Go to an office supply store and buy blue dot stickers. Place blue dots any place where you are apt to feel nervous. You could stick a blue dot on the dashboard of your car, the front of your typewriter, or at the kitchen sink, for instance. Whenever your eye falls on the blue dot, ask yourself if you are feeling tension. If you are, consciously seek to relax your muscles. If you have time and privacy, you can use the script and actually go into alpha to get over the tension. Or you can simply use this blue dot strategy as a way of discovering what makes you tense.
6. Don’t worry about whether you are really reaching the alpha state or not. Just keep on practicing. Don’t push or strain. Know that you are doing something very good for your body and for your peace of mind.
7. If unbidden thoughts persist while you are in your secret resting place, take some time during the day to write out the way you would like to change those thoughts to be different from what the thoughts are telling you. Don’t try to do anything about these thoughts yet. Save what you have written for use later on.