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Extra info for ABC Relaxation Theory: An Evidence - Based Approach
Imagine finding a secret box. " "Imagine playing a good game of golf. " "Gently rock back and forth. " "Listen to the object of your prayer. " For autogenic training, the simple target stimulus can be seen as either the suggested standard phrases ("hands and arms warm and heavy") or the actual physical sensations resulting from the exercise. Traditional autogenic trainers minimize the importance of actually experiencing the suggested effects; others direct clients to these very sensations. Passivity is maintained as a clear instructional set: "Do not try to deliberately evoke these sensations .
However, this is an oversimplification. Alpha waves can be associated with pleasant relaxation, inner-directed awareness of thoughts, feelings or thoughts about past experiences, or nonvisual thinking. Alpha ceases when one's attention is directed to a brief, possibly startling, external stimulus, but is enhanced when one voluntarily directs attention. Biofeedback techniques can be directed toward enhancing alpha activity and reducing beta activity in an attempt to reduce anxiety. Theta activity emerges as we become drowsy, when alpha activity fades and the external world recedes.
When inhaling, the diaphragm constricts, pulling air down into the lungs; when exhaling, the diaphragm relaxes, pushing up into the lungs and expelling air. As breathing becomes more relaxed, internal stimulation and arousal lessen. The relationship between breathing and the relaxation response goes beyond reducing internal stimulation associated with stressed breathing. Slow, shallow breathing, often associated with relaxation training, may contribute to relaxation through increased blood carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.